Bidding for jobs can be cutthroat.
Not only do you have to create an accurate estimate of how much everything will cost, but you have to do so as quickly as possible to have the best chance of securing the customer.
You don’t want to waste time filling out forms when you could be working, but any mistakes can severely damage your chances of getting the sale (if the estimate is too high) or even ruin your reputation (if the estimate is too low).
That’s why we here at Process Street have created and gathered these 14 free estimate templates.
Instead of having to create your own job estimate form, all you have to do is look through the templates below and see which one you like best. All serve the purpose of giving your clients a professional job estimate document, but allowing you to just fill in basic details instead of creating each document from the ground up.
Just head for one of the following sections and make your pick:
- General free estimate templates
- Microsoft Word job estimate templates
- Microsoft Excel estimate templates
- PDF estimate templates
General free estimate templates
Process Street – Job Estimate Template
First up we have our very own job estimate template. With room to record everything from your own details, to a summary of the project, all the way to the terms and conditions of the proposal, this has everything you need to create a job estimate for your client.
Plus, you don’t even have to create a proposal format – just follow the instructions and document all of the necessary details, and this template will automatically push all of that information together in its final step to create your proposal. This can then either be sent to your client automatically using Zapier or they can be invited to view it as a guest.
Click here to access our Job Estimate Template.
Process Street – Construction Proposal Template
Although this free estimate template is designed for use with construction projects, it’s a perfect demonstration of what these templates can be used for, and how easy it is to customize them to your needs.
Using Process Street, you can run this template as a checklist for each individual project, making it easy to track every proposal you need to make. You’ll even have instructions set out in every step to help you maintain consistency in your process.
Plus, if you want to edit the template to suit a different business model or sector, all you have to do is import the template, then hit “Edit” to change everything from the instructional text to the custom form fields which can store your data.
Click here to access our Construction Proposal Template.
Microsoft Word job estimate templates
Andy Clarke – Freelance Contract/Proposal
Andy Clarke‘s contract template isn’t a typical proposal – most others in this list follow a standard format of tables laying out what items/services will be provided, the unit price for these items, and then a rough total.
This one, however, is in the form of a contract which cuts through the general legal jargon and provides freelancers with a concise summary of the upcoming project to potential clients.
Since it’s a contract, many legalities are also stamped out in a way that anyone can read and understand, which is a vital skill in itself.
Obviously, take the specifics with a grain of salt. Make sure you read through this contract before using it, and customize it to whatever your particular needs are for the project at hand.
Cashboard – Estimate Template
Cashboard‘s free estimate template design is as simple as they come, and sometimes that’s all you need.
Spanning two pages, this template gives you ample room to define the various items and services involved in the project, the time, quantity, and cost of everything, and even any specific terms and conditions.
There’s no set leaning to a particular industry either, making this one of the more versatile templates in this post. No matter what your business is, you’ll be able to use this template with minimal edits.
Hloom – Work Estimate Free Template
As the first template from Hloom on this list, this work estimate document provides much of the same function as Cashboard’s entry above, with the main difference being the format.
Rather than Cashboard’s rather passive layout with muted colors, Hloom’s template takes a more traditionally structured approach, with blocky tables and fully capitalized column headers.
Other than that, you might want to choose this template over the others due to the ability to put in some of your own custom branding. Rather than only giving you room to record the name of your company, this free estimate template comes with an area to place your company’s logo too.
It might not be much, but sometimes a little extra visual branding is all you need.
Excel estimate templates
BuildingAdvisor – Estimating Budgeting Spreadsheet
BuildingAdvisor are kicking off the Excel portion of this post with their estimating and budgeting spreadsheet. As you’d expect with a name like theirs, this template does have a focus on construction companies more than general purpose, but there is something to be said for the layout of this template nonetheless.
First up, this template is highly detailed. Not only do you have multiple sections carved out with subdivisions, but the costs for each element can be broken down and given a variance to allow room for differences in pricing.
You might have to edit a fair bit of the text if you’re not looking to make a construction proposal, but in terms of presenting a detailed estimation which can be edited to your needs, this template is up there with the best.
Hloom – Excel Work Estimate
Hloom’s second entry in this post, this excel work estimate mirrors many of the design elements of their Word document. It’s basic, functional, and provides a highly structured approach to presenting your clients with an estimate.
The capitalized and bold headers for each column make it impossible for the intended audience to misunderstand what information is being presented. Clean and simple is better than cluttered and complex when convincing a customer to use your services, after all.
Plus, the space for your custom visual branding (logo, etc) is still present, letting you truly make the document your own, and ensuring that the customer knows precisely who you are at a glance.
MS Office Guru – Job Estimate Template
With a name like “MS Office Guru” it’s inevitable that they would get at least one entry on this list, and this happens to be their Excel-based job estimation template.
Like most others here, the format is simplistic, but serves every purpose it needs to. If anything it cuts out even more clutter than most of the entries in this post, since the entire proposal can be seen in less than half a page.
Combine this with the horizontal columns set up, and you have a handy, concise document for summarizing multiple jobs at once to your client, be they new or recurring. This haste can also convey to them that you value their time, which may help sway the decision in your favor.
Quote Templates – Job Estimate Template
Quote Templates brings us another concise job estimate template, but this time with a nice added reminder to the client that none of these figures are set in stone.
Again, the quicker a client can scan your document and get a sense for exactly how much a given task will cost them, the more likely they are to get back to you quickly with a yes or no answer. As such, having the entire document span roughly a page is a great way to avoid wasting both you and your client’s time.
The nice little extra here, however, is that right next to your proposed total cost the client is reminded that this is an estimate, not an invoice. It helps to make sure that their expectations aren’t so solid that any extra costs incurred during the project don’t sour your relationship with them.
Samplewords – Basic Job Estimate Form
Taking a more direct and thorough route, we have this free estimate template from Samplewords. While most of it is pretty standard (as far as the other Excel templates go), the greater segmentation here allows you to clearly present every element to your job proposal at a glance.
For example, the “Description of Work” segment here allows you to describe the project separately from any other element. The same goes for material costs, labor costs, and any extra charges (eg, product subscriptions) that might be required.
It’s not the prettiest, but in terms of transparency and effectiveness, Samplewords have it down.
Vertex42 – Job Estimate
While this template is pretty standard by this point, the handy little instructions given to the right of key elements make it even easier to edit than other Excel documents.
From quickly entering the current date to how to change the currency of the total price calculation, this is a great document to get you up and running without having to think about making an original design.
PDF estimate templates
AtYourBusiness – Job Estimate PDF
Finally, we reach the PDF section of our free estimate templates summary. Kicking us off is AtYourBusiness with their simplistic document.
This template dedicates almost its entirety to allow you to explain the project in your own words, followed by a short estimated job cost. Although this might seem a little pointless, this template isn’t suited to use with standard material job estimates.
Instead, this is a great template to use for jobs which require a little more description, such as marketing projects and design work. For these you need room to actively describe the challenges presented, rather than just giving a summary of the cost of each element (since the majority of the cost comes from experienced labor).
InvoicingTemplate.com – Engineering Estimate Template
InvoicingTemplate.com‘s estimate template is aimed towards engineers, but like many others on this list it can be easily edited to suit almost any profession.
This template is fantastic for any work primarily dealing in physical products, and especially those which are priced by measurements (length, width, weight, etc) rather than by their number alone.
Add to that a detailed total price breakdown with room for various taxes, and you have one hella useful PDF template.
Template Trove – Job Estimate Template
Our final entry for this post comes from Template Trove, and this time focuses on large-scale operations which involve multiple labor sources.
These large-scale jobs can quickly become complicated when trying to give an estimate to a client. You have to account for abundant materials plus multiple labor sources which almost certainly have varying pay grades. However, trying to make your estimate too complicated will only alienate the client and lose you the job.
Instead, use this template to quickly and clearly define the various elements of the project, what teams will be involved, how much everything will cost, and any miscellaneous details too.
How do you create your own estimates?
While there are hundreds of templates out there to use for creating a job estimate, many of them are almost identical. The most useful examples are those that take a different spin on the idea.
Think about it – if you’re sent 50 CVs to check for a job opening and 49 of them follow the same tired format, you’re naturally going to pay more attention to the one that stands out.
So, to that end, how do you help to make your job estimates stand out to potential clients? Let me know in the comments below!