The first step to start off the estimate process is to create templates for all the different types of contracts you offer.
(If you plan on using custom rates for each property, make sure to have all the ‘Property Level Pricing’ entered into each property before applying Estimates to them. Otherwise, you will have to manually update each Estimate with the correct pricing before accepting them).
There are many ways to handle this depending on the company and how complex you need your estimates to be (Do we need to handle multiple divisions i.e., Irrigation and Lawn Maint or 1 division with multiple different tiers like Bronze/Silver/Gold etc).
If you want to find out more about generating your templates, you can visit here:
Within FC the end goal of an estimate is to start off the contract process where we can list off and manage all the services we need to perform for a property over a certain period, but this can also be used for doing bids for a property to try and sell a particular service or upgrade.
Once we have our templates created, we now want to assign this template to the property to track what services they need for the year.
The easiest way to do this for a single property is to click the + icon on the Quick Access Bar > Create Estimate
You should now be brought to a page with a list of all the Estimate Templates you’ve created or the option to ‘Create from Scratch’.
You want to select whichever template applies to this property or if you’re creating from scratch, select the Service you want to pull the WTD list from and we’ll manually choose the WTD’s we need once in the estimate itself.
In this example I’m going to select Full Service as the Template to use so I can include both Lawn and Sprinkler Maintenance in the same Estimate/Contract.
Once you’ve selected the template it will bring you to a screen where you can start typing in the name of the property, you're adding the estimate to.
The Estimate Title will default to the name of the estimate template you selected, but you can also manually adjust that to add anything such as the year that the contract covers as shown below. You can now select Save to apply this estimate to the property.
In this next section there’s a few different things that can be changed which I’ll list off below:
Use Template - Allows you to select another template if the one initially selected needs to be changed.
Estimate Status - Not Started, Started/incomplete, Complete
Contract Start/End Date - Choose the start and end date of when that contract is valid.
Will default to the 1st and last day of the year (1/1, 12/31)
Estimate Notes - Track different notes on what needs to occur for this specific estimate
(Can only be viewed in the estimate, these notes do not transfer to the visits on the schedule)
Sales Rep - Select who is the ‘manager’ of this estimate
Source - How the customer got in contact to start this estimate if necessary (More commonly used for bids)
Monthly Total Price- Total price of all Monthly Bill Type WTD’s
Override Monthly Total Price - Allows you to override the total coming from the Monthly Visits and manually set your own Monthly Total
Number of Billings - Number of times monthly billing should be run during the contract's duration
Amount to be billed (per billing) - Monthly rate that’s billed each month (Total price ÷ Number of Billings)
Billing Start Date- The day you want to start having the monthly bills be generated
Monthly Contract QuickBooks Full Name - Allows you to change the name of the line-item FC ties to when sending Monthly Bills across (Defaults to ‘Contract Monthly Payment’)
Monthly Contract Billing Description - Allows you to add an additional description along with the Contract Monthly Payment Line item
Apply Discount (% of Total) - Applies a discount to all WTD included in the contract by a certain % regardless of Bill Type (Would apply to Monthly bills as well)
Auto Renew Contracts - Selecting the Auto-Renew Contracts option will set the contract to auto-renew at the end of the stipulated contract term.
Note: The Opportunity/Estimate needs to carry a status of "Won" (which converts the estimate to a contract) before the Auto-Renew configuration will apply to contracts.
Prepaid Discount - Apply a discount for customers that are pre-paying for the contract. (This is a dollar amount and not % based, so if you give customers a $50 discount for prepaying then you’d want to put 50 in that box)
After making any necessary adjustments here, the next step would be to go into the ‘Works to Do’ tab on the left and make sure the correct WTD’s have been selected for what that property needs during the contract period.
If there’s a WTD being included that this property doesn’t need, simply check the ‘Yes’ box to ‘No’ and it will be removed from the list of visits once the estimate has been accepted.
(See Mid-Season Check as example)
If you had property level pricing entered in as recommended earlier, it should have also pulled those values in automatically when you applied this estimate.
Bill Type - (Monthly, Prepaid, Flat Rate, T & M)
Subtasks - Primarily a Lawn Maintenance feature you can use as a checklist
Ex: Spring cleanup we need to Prune and Trim which are separate tasks that all need to be done under the same Visit.
We add them as subtasks because we are billing everything under Spring Cleanup and don’t need to charge differently for those tasks.
Hours/Visits- Man Hrs decides how much time to block of when scheduling each visit (Tracked in Decimal time, so 1:15 = 1.25, 1:30 = 1.5, etc).
Trip Charge - This allows you to set a Flat Rate price for a set amount of time, and if the technician goes over that time, it will then switch over to bill for additional labor.
(Ex: Charge $80 for the first 60 mins, anything over that uses what’s in the Price/Rate per box)
Pricing - The rate we’ll charge the customer for this visit (Does not include Trip Charge)
In the Actions Column there’s 2 different options.
Add/Edit Note - Allows you to add/edit notes for that specific Visit (These notes will be applied when scheduling the visits)
Expand - Allows you to add Labor, Materials, or Flat Rate Items to the bid (These items do NOT tie to the visits when scheduled, only used for estimating how much we need to charge).
Notice: Adding any of these items will override the Price/Rate per visits box so make sure the actual Price/Rate per is correct.
The next option on the left is ‘Configure Estimate Formatting’
From here you can format the different options that will be displayed when we go to ‘Print’ the report for this estimate by either checking/unchecking the items you want included.
(Any with an editable box you can manually change the name the column will display as on the report).
There’s also a ‘Footer’ Tab in the top left where you can put any disclaimers/additional info that will also be displayed on the report. Once you’ve added in any notes you can now hit ‘Save’ in the bottom right.
Now that we’ve made all the necessary adjustments, we can click the ‘Done’ option in the top right of the estimate to finalize all the changes. From here we now want to either Print or Email this Estimate out to the customer by selecting the option in the top right.
Here’s an example of what the print page could look like:
For email capabilities you must be set up with a separate SendGrid account to use those options, so if you're not already please reach out to us and we can start with that process.
Once setup though, you would select an ‘Estimate Cover letter’ and it will add the ‘Print’ page as an attachment the customer can then view through the email.
There’s also a special tag that can be used in the email which allows the customer to accept/deny the estimate directly from the email.
Otherwise, once you’ve sent that out and the customer lets you know they’ve accepted it, you can go back to that estimate and there’s an option called ‘Capture Approval’.
Once selected it will bring you to this page where you can state you got the confirmation that they accepted the terms of service as shown below
Now that you’ve accepted the estimate that will have automatically created the contract and all listed visits should now display in the Visits to do list so you can begin putting those on the schedule when it comes time to do that service.
You can also apply estimates in mass from the Accounts page
To do this you’d first want to pull up the specific list of customers that need the same Contract Template applied (This can generally be done using a UDF, as shown above where I only pulled customers that need the Full Service Contract Type)
Next select 'Create Estimates for All' from the Mass Action dropdown
Now Select the Service and Estimate template being applied (Can also adjust title and Start/End Dates but this will apply the same to every person in the list).
Once you hit continue it will have created an estimate for each one of those properties listed.
You’ll still need to go into the estimate for each property to send/print those out and mark them as accepted.
This covers all the basics regarding Estimates that you’ll need to know to get started.
If you have any other questions regarding this process, please give us a call at 888-752-5978, submit a ticket from this Support Portal page, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.