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Customizing Estimates FAQs

Estimating FAQs

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Estimates are not “created” separately from the job ticket.  

Instead, estimates are an integral part of the job and its tasks. Estimates are based on the tasks you’ve added to a job; in fact, tasks are the basis of the estimate. So the details you enter for a task -- the task name, group, sort -- is what the client sees on the printed estimate. This is very important: Jobs are estimated by job task only. Unless a job ticket has tasks, you can’t edit its estimate.

A job ticket has only one estimate, but that estimate is flexible. Since a job can have many tasks, you’ve got the ability to make very detailed estimates for your clients. An estimate can be revised any number of times as needed (estimate revisions are numbered automatically, and appear at the top of the printed estimate). Revisions are retained, so previous estimates can be reprinted.

Estimates can be revised and reprinted as many times as needed. Printing an estimate doesn’t affect its production or billing status. Estimates print on letterhead, and have several customizable options. For more information on printing estimates, see the Printing Estimates user guide page.

Estimates feature three different customizable estimate amounts. All three columns can be used when estimating large jobs with either phases or differently-priced options.

Or a single column can be used for less complex jobs.

The names of the three estimate amounts are customizable. They can be used to handle jobs with multiple print quantities (e.g., 1M, 2M, 5M).

Or they can be used to show revisions (e.g., Original, Revised, Final). Or, they can offer a client a choice of qualities (e.g., 1-color, 2-color, 4-color). For flexibility, any one of the three amounts can be shown on the printed estimate. Or, you can show all three amounts on the same page -- giving your client an easy way to choose which estimate to authorize. In addition, all three amounts can be combined together to show a total estimate.

Estimates also have a unique, powerful feature: the estimate pop-up worksheet to speed up estimating. The worksheet lets you budget time for up to four different staff members and up to four different costs for each task. The task’s estimate is calculated automatically based on your entries, replacing your calculator.

An estimate’s column headings can be included as part of the job type/spec sheet. When a new job is opened with this spec sheet, the column headings are copied automatically. (The estimate’s column headings can be fine-tuned while you’re editing the estimate amounts, which only affects the job being edited). For more information, see the Estimating FAQ.

To edit a job’s estimate

1 From the Job Tickets window, find the job whose estimate you wish to edit.

2 Click the Estimate link (or choose Edit > Edit Jobs > Estimate Amounts).

Estimate-only tasks keep off traffic reports. A job task can be used for estimating and billing only, scheduling only, or for both functions. Estimate-only tasks don’t appear on job schedules.

The Estimate window opens, listing the job’s estimate/billing tasks. Tasks are sorted by group, just as they’ll appear on the printed estimate.

3 Enter the estimate’s amounts, then click Save.

The Estimate window features several useful shortcuts that make entering estimates faster and easier. These shortcuts lets you add or remove tasks from the estimate, clear the estimate and start over, copy estimate amounts, edit the task’s description, and change the estimate’s options.

Clients & Profits X provides several useful shortcuts that help make editing a job’s estimate easier and faster. Several useful shortcuts can be used while the estimate is being edited.

Learn how to add and edit estimates in this Clients & Profits classroom video training session.
Running time: 4:50

Budget amounts

Each job task can have budget amount. The budget amount represents the agency’s cost to produce the task. It is the amount of money and time you’re planning to spend to finish the work. Unlike estimate amounts, budget amounts don’t include fees, markups, or commissions. Clients don’t see budget amounts -- only estimate amounts. So they’re used for internal cost tracking only. Job reports compare budget vs. estimate to calculate the job’s gross margin. Also, budget alerts use this amount to warn user when they’re near or over budget on a job task.

Each task only has one budget amount. Even if three estimate amounts are entered, enter the budget amount as the agency’s actual cost to finish each task.

Estimate Worksheets

The estimate worksheet is like a calculator for figuring a job task’s estimate. The worksheet contains amounts for up to four staff members (including their own billing rates) and up to four kinds of expenses (including markups). You’ll get subtotals for the labor portion of the estimate as well as the expense portion. The total of the labor and expense amounts is copied onto the estimate. Clients don’t see the amounts from the estimate worksheet. Estimate worksheets aren’t required. They are strictly for internal use only, so you can experiment freely until the estimate is perfect. The estimate worksheet can be used for each column on the estimate.

1 Click into one of the job task’s three estimate amounts to select it.

2 Click the Worksheet link.


Estimate costs in obsessive detail. Each job task features a pop-up estimate worksheet that shows exactly how the estimate amount was calculated. Time for up to four staff members can be estimated for each task.

3 Enter the staff initials, hours, and billing rates for the people who will work on this task.

After entering someone’s initials, pressing Tab enters the staffer’s billing rate automatically. The total labor amount is calculated whenever you enter hours, then press Tab. Any billing rate can be entered for estimate purposes; the actual billing rate will be determined by the job and task’s bill rate setting.

4 Enter the task’s expenses (i.e., purchases) and a markup.

Anything you plan to purchase to complete this task can also be entered in the task’s estimate worksheet, such as printing, freelance comps, or travel. Up to four different costs can be included, which are totaled up in the Total Budget amount. A markup can be entered for the total budget, which becomes part of the task’s total estimate.

4 Click Save.

The worksheet’s total, including any markup, is copied to the task’s estimate amount. The worksheet is just an on-line scratch pad for calculating estimate amounts. The task’s estimate amount can still be fine-tuned on the estimate window, regardless of the what’s on the worksheet. The task’s estimate worksheet can be changed any time.

To add a new job task while estimating

New tasks can be added to a job ticket while editing the job’s estimate. Tasks can be added by opening the Task Table lookup list, selecting a task, then dragging it onto the Estimate window. The task is instantly part of the job ticket.

If you’re limited in Access Privileges to only see tasks from a certain group, only tasks that belong to that group will appear. Otherwise, the lookup list shows all active tasks.

Adding a task by dragging it from the lookup list doesn’t let you customize its details. To add a task that can be customized:

1 Click the add Task button.

The Add New Task window opens, prompting you to enter a task code.

2 Enter the task’s information, then click Save.

Tabbing past the task code copies the task’s description, group, sort, G/L accounts, etc. to the new job task, where they can be edited. The changes you make to this task will appear on this estimate immediately.

To remove a job task while estimating

Job tasks can be removed from job tickets while editing the estimate. A task can’t be deleted if it has costs, time, or billings. To remove a task, click into its budget or estimate fields to select it, then click the Remove Task button.

To clear a job’s estimate

The job’s entire estimate can be erased with a single mouse click. Use this shortcut when the estimate is all wrong and needs to be created from scratch. This shortcut is much faster than manually deleting each task’s estimate. To erase the job’s estimate, click the Clear button.

To copy an estimate amount

Estimate amounts can be copied from one column to the next using the Copy Amounts shortcut. This shortcut is especially useful when you’re estimating three variations of the job (e.g., 2-color, 4-color, and 6-color versions of the same brochure). You’ll enter the estimate amounts into the first column, then click the Copy Amounts button.

The estimate amounts are copied into the second column. If the second column is selected, the estimate amounts are copied into the last column. Once the estimate amounts are copied, they can be freely edited.

Revising estimates

Clients & Profits X automatically tracks the various revisions to a job’s estimate. The job starts with an original estimate, which can be changed many times before it is presented to the client. But once the client sees the estimate, any changes requested by the client should be reflected in “revised” estimate. Each official revision gets its own revision number, which is generated automatically. The revision number appears on the printed estimate to help you and your client keep track of the various versions of the job’s estimate. Once the client approves it, no more revisions are made to the estimate.

A job’s original estimate can be changed many times before it is printed for the client’s approval. To make the first official revision, choose New Revision from the Show Est Rev pop-up menu. The original estimate is saved, but the new revision becomes the current estimate. When the first revision’s estimate amounts are saved, they’ll appear on the printed estimate. Every time the estimate is edited, users can decide whether the changes should be a new revision; if so, they’ll choose New Revision from the pop-up menu each time.

Learn about revisions & final estimates in this Clients & Profits classroom video training session, with C&P Trainer Mindy Williams. Requires Apple Quicktime 7.0 or greater. Running time: 3:15


The pop-up menu will list the number of prior revisions, along with an option to recall the job’s original estimate amounts. To recall a previous revision, simply choose it from the pop-up menu. In addition, a previous revision can be made current by clicking the Make Current button. A new revision will be created using the previous rev’s amounts.

Choosing a final estimate

Although a job can have up to three different estimates, only one is considered the final estimate. It is the one of which the client approves. The final estimate’s amounts appear on the job ticket window, job summaries, and other reports. The Final Estimate pop-up menu shows the names of your estimate columns, along with options for “none” (i.e., no estimate) and “all” (i.e., when all estimate amounts are combined). Choosing one of the three estimates makes it final. This selection isn’t saved unless the estimate is saved.


When a client says “ok.” Although a job can have three versions of an estimate, only one becomes the “final” estimate. The final estimate’s amounts appear on job reports to compare estimate vs. actual billings. Amounts from the “final estimate” are also used for estimate billing.

Approving estimates

Each job estimate can be approved online to indicate that the client has approved the estimate. Estimate approval is a user-defined access privilege, so only certain people can be allowed to approve estimates. Anyone with the access privilege can approve estimates. If a user can approve estimates, they can approve estimates for any client. Once the client approves it, no more revisions can be made to the estimate.

An estimate can only be approved if it has amounts. Estimates can also be unapproved if, for some reason, the client balks and changes its mind. For better security, an estimate can only be unapproved by the person who original approved it. A diary entry is saved automatically whenever an estimate is approved or unapproved. Also, the job’s traffic assignments are notified via e-mail whenever an estimate is approved or unapproved.

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