How to write a job estimate

In order to bid on a potential job, you must complete a job estimate. You may prepare your estimate with any word processing program such as Microsoft Word, or you may write it by hand. Before you start writing, however, you need to know what services and products are going to be required to complete the job.

If the job estimate requires an on-site visit, bring a tape measure. This allows you to give an accurate estimate. If you're completing an estimate for a job that doesn't require a visit, it may be as simple as estimating your time. For example, a tax preparer can simply estimate how many hours it may take to prepare an 1040 individual tax return.

If you are estimating a job that requires materials, make sure these costs are accurate; you do not want to short yourself. Visit your materials supplier or visit local stores that carry the products you need and get the prices.

When estimating a job for services, you obviously do not have any materials involved. For example, a business consultant is preparing an estimate for a business plan. She estimates a cost of £325 for a 14-page business plan. She arrives at this rate because she charges £22 an hour and estimates a little more than 14 hours in preparing the business plan.

Begin your estimate by listing your company's name, address and phone number at the top of your page. Below your company's information, list the name, company name, address, and phone number of the company and/or specific person whom you are providing the job estimate for.

Next, enter your subheading in capital letters "JOB ESTIMATE." Right below, centred on your page, write the words "Job Description." Here you will enter the job description. For example, Excavation Bid for 123 ABC Road, Las Vegas, NV, 12345.

Below your job description, begin listing the following column headings side by side: Item, Quantity, Price, Total. Below each column heading begin listing the items, quantities, prices and totals. For example, your first few lines may look like this:

Item - Quantity - Price - Total Excavation - 3.5 hours - £65/hr - £227.5 Grade existing ground - 3 hours - £65/hr - £195.00 3/4 minus rock - 12 yards - £116.3 - £116.3 Remove, replace 20ft. 8" storm - 20ft. - £20 per ft. - £416.00

Total - £954.8

As you can see, the quantity refers to hours when providing services and refers to a specific quantity when using materials. When listing prices, list the dollar amount you charge per hour for services, for materials, list the dollar amount the materials costs. To list the total of each item that you have listed, multiply the quantity by the price.

When you have completed listing all of the items you are estimating, add the dollar amounts for all of the totals in the Total column. This gives you a grand total; list this amount below your items.

Located at the very bottom of your job estimate, include a short paragraph which includes a signature line for the company in which you are providing the service to. For example:

Estimate valid for 30 days. Estimate prepared by: Jane Doe

This is an estimate for the goods and services named, subject to the conditions noted below:

(List your conditions if any here) For example, "Acceptance of Excavation Contract Agreement"

Terms: Payable by 50% down, 50% upon completion.

To accept this estimate with the terms and conditions, sign here and return:

With these simple steps you write an effective job estimate.

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Things Needed

  • Computer and printer
  • Paper
  • Writing supplies
  • Calculator
  • Tape measure, if applicable

About the Author

This article was written by the Pocketpence team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about Pocketpence, contact us here.

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