How to Create a Handyman Estimate [Template]
Use this free downloadable template designed for handyman business owners to keep your estimates clean, easy to read, and professional looking.
Writing up an estimate is the first step towards winning more clients for your handyman business. If you haven’t perfected your estimate process, and are still writing them by hand, then you might come off as unprofessional in your clients’ eyes.
If your estimates and your process are confusing, then your prospects might hesitate to trust you and work with you. Using an estimate template helps you look professional while remaining transparent about your services and pricing structure.
Download your free professional-looking estimate template above! Read on to learn more about estimate best practices, tips, and tricks to help you improve your handyman estimate workflow.
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What is a handyman estimate template
A handyman estimate template is a standardized form that shows your prospects what the cost and pricing breakdown of their project is before they hire you. The template is one standard page that provides blank fields for the services your company will provide, your client’s information, how much each service will cost, additional service notes, and important terms and conditions.
An estimate is a quick calculation of the expected cost of a project for your client. It’s like a project proposal that tells your client what they should expect to pay. It should include the cost of labor, materials, taxes, the name of the services, and any additional notes your prospect should know about before they sign on with you.
The key to a good estimate is to fully understand the cost of your labor and materials (including mark-up) and present it clearly in the template. It should be clear and impressive, and encourage the prospect to work with you.
Pro Tip: The perfect estimate can be repurposed later down the road as an invoice once the project is complete. You can always add information to the invoice if the client request changes through a change order.
Handyman estimate best practices
1. Precision, clarity and detail
The most important components to writing a good estimate are precision, clarity, and detail. Starting off with a template is an excellent start, you can also use handyman estimate and quoting software. Templates add standardization, structure, and clarity to the line items, pricing, and total of each project.
You estimate should include:
- Company name and logo
- Company contact information and address
- Client’s name, contact information, and address
- Estimate title
- Estimate line items, quantity of units used, price per unit, and total price
- Estimated total before tax and discounts
- Tax amount
- Optional special discounts
- Final estimate total
- Additional notes for the client
- Before photos attached to the estimate
It’s very important that your estimate is detailed. Details wow your clients. While you don’t want to overwhelm your prospect by providing too many unimportant details, your estimate doesn’t look competitive or attractive if it includes the bare minimum either: picture frame hang, siding, air conditioner = $300.00.
What looks better (and what your prospects will appreciate much more) are the relevant details. Write down what you’re doing, what tasks need to be completed for each service, the materials you will use, and the pricing for each service and material. This helps you educate your prospects, and show them why they should pay for your services.
Detail will set you apart from your competitors because it will explain your pricing and show your value. You’ll tell the client exactly what they are getting for what they pay for.
When it comes to writing details on your estimates, consider the following:
- Don’t overwhelm prospects with unnecessary details. Provide enough information so that they feel confident in your services and the materials you’ll use. Elaborate more on non-standard or custom services.
- Include labor rates, number of people needed for the job, and work hours in each line item, especially if you are completing several projects at once for them.
- Attach before photos to the estimate.
Pro tip: The more detail you write on your estimate, the easier it is to repurpose. If you write exactly what needs to be done, where it needs to be completed in the client’s home, and what materials are needed, then you can use the estimate as a to-do list when you’re on the jobsite.
2. Clearly state warranties, terms, and conditions
If you have specific terms and conditions, offer a guarantee, or have a warranty policy, then include this information in your estimate. It provides a level of unbeatable transparency and helps your clients set reasonable expectations. It also helps you stand out from your competition.
Offering limited or lifetime warranty on your products or services encourages your clients to come to you to fix the issues in the future. It also helps you up-sell your services. Clearly state terms and conditions to ensure your warranty limitations (i.e. time frames, scope) are obvious.
3. Tracking and follow-up
Clear estimates are important, but they aren’t helpful if you’re not keeping track of them. If you lose track of estimates, it will be difficult to follow-up with all your leads and close deals.
Once you create an estimate template and send it to your client, either save it in a dedicated folder on your computer and set a calendar reminder to follow-up with your client. A great alternative is using a handyman CRM that helps you create, save, and track all your estimate templates, and automatically follow-up with your clients for you.
Estimate tips and tricks
Save as much time as possible by eliminating site visits
Site visits can add to the customer service experience, but they can be costly (especially if you work exclusively with small projects). Going to a client’s home and going back to your office or to another property costs you time and money that you’re not guaranteed to get paid for.
Developing an estimate workflow that helps you avoid spending more time and money than you need to secure a project is very important.
One of the best methods to do this is through online booking and discovery calls. Having a detailed work request form on your website empowers you to collect all the important information necessary to price a project. You can even ask your clients for mandatory information, like photos, sizes, locations, and detailed descriptions. That way, your client actually does all the work for you while you’re out in the field completing projects. If they’ve written something unclear, you can always contact them personally to gain more insight.
If your client requests an on-site visit, you can always offer to stop by and see their property. Ryaan Tuttle, owner of Best Handyman Boston only does a site visit on special request. He charges his clients for site-visit estimates.
“If the client would like us to come and visit for an on-site assessment, then they have to pay a fee that can be paid forward to the price of their project. We provide them with a 30 minute visit, an accurate estimate with best option for repair, and fee can be applied back to their project if they want to move forward.”
This helps Ryaan provide the right level of service for each client. It also helps him secure bigger projects when he asks clients to pay for an estimate and put that money towards working with him if they sign on. He is always getting paid!
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Incentivize your estimates
You can improve your margins by starting with your estimates. It’s all about optimizing your quotes won ration.
Calculate your estimate won ratio by finding the difference between the number of quotes you won less the ones you didn’t win in one month. Once you’re aware of this number, you’ll be able to focus on improving the ratio. A fraction of an improvement can greatly impact your bottom line.
Incentives are one of the best ways to improve your quotes won ratio. Special offers, warranties, and discounts can be huge incentives to get more clients to work with you. You just need to make your terms and conditions clear on the estimate.
Some of the best ways to improve your win ratio are:
- Allowing the customer to pay in installments
- Offering you prospects a discount if they hire you within a limited time frame
- Giving them a service promotion to use next time, like buy one get one free
If you make your estimate look tempting, you can improve your chances of winning more sales and getting your clients to sign on for more services in the future.
Showcase your reputation
Getting creative with your estimates is one of the easiest ways to win more sales and look more professional in your clients’ eyes. Your reputation is your brand, and if it’s nowhere to be found from the start, then you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
You can add credibility to your estimate template by including information like client reviews, your Yelp review average, or a client testimonial. These are all fantastic selling points to work with.
It’s also a good idea to include an active link to your website. Don’t forget to have your portfolio on your website, and a link to the best review platform they can learn more about you on.
Pro tip: most of your competitors don’t have a website or an online presence. Ensuring that you have your website and client reviews set up before you start writing estimates will help you look more credible and trustworthy. It’ll help you seal the deal much faster!
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Use handyman software
The right software will offer and estimating and quoting app that you can use in the field, in the office, and plug-ins for your website.
This will empower you to have an estimate calculator on your website, create custom line items, convert estimates and quotes into invoices, automatically send estimates and invoices to your clients, and integrate payment options right into your quotes and invoices. Plus, all of this will be stored on your computer, which makes it easy to search for invoice history in your client records.
Automating your estimating workflow can help you stay on the ball and avoid losing jobs due to a busy schedule. If you’re not ready to try software like Jobber, using an estimate template and staying on top of your calendar is a great start.