How to Easily Build Great Estimates for Your Projects

Tally Solutions | Updated on: March 29, 2022

What are estimates?

Many business owners get the estimate meaning incorrect. Estimations are important in many scenarios and so they should be clearly understood. An estimate is an intelligent guess or approximation of when something might come close to completion, what a task might cost, and what the timeline of the project may be. If estimates aren’t exact and they cannot be completely correct then why are they important? Estimates are vital because they form the foundation of what to expect. They make expectations clear and although they can change, they still provide some framework for your client to work with. Estimates can also help with starting relationships with other businesses.

Why should I use an estimate?

It is always recommended that you create estimates before you begin a new project. Estimates give you an overview and guide the path that the project will take. They can be used to specify the deliverables and costs among other factors. With the help of an estimation, you can collaborate better because both parties will be aware of the expectations involved and this will ensure clarity before project commencement. Estimates are useful because they also help with budget allocation and let the client know how much cash flow is required.

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Estimates are not legally binding which is why they are so flexible. Even though you may estimate a project, you can change the estimation when other factors come into play. Let us say you are beginning to get estimates. Initially, you did not have sufficient information and so you made estimates about certain aspects of the project. As you slowly get more clarity, you can create better estimates that are closer to what might take place. Estimates should not be confused with quotes that are more detailed and are legally binding. 

What should I include in my estimate?

A good estimate can make your clients approve faster but you should ensure that the estimate is not just random guesswork from your end. You should estimate as realistic as you can in the timeframe provided. The following are some of the important factors that you should consider in an estimate.

  • Services

    The services your business will provide for the project will be included in this section of the estimate. It should clearly state all the services that are involved in the project completion along with a brief description of the service if required.

  • Scope

    The project scope must be mentioned in the estimate. A scope comes under project planning. You should include deliverables and goals in this section. The project scope should also include the estimated deadline of the project.

  • Costs

    The cost estimates should include what costs are expected to be incurred after the start of the particular project. Rather than estimate as a whole, it will be better to include cost estimates of each service involved in the project.

  • Timeline

    The timeline component will show the estimate of how the project will progress from start to finish. It includes when the project will start and when the various tasks involved in the project will take place. It will also include estimates of when the project is likely to complete.

  • Exclusions

    The exclusions are also important to be noted. This will give a more realistic picture of what to expect and what not to expect from your business. Exclusions should be listed in order and they should be clearly stated.

  • Terms and conditions

    The terms and conditions related to the project must be mentioned in this section. You need to ensure you include all the terms and conditions so that your prospective client can understand them before the project begins.

How do I create an estimate?

Here are some tips to help you estimate better.

  • Communicate

    Communication is key in a business and when it comes to estimates, it is a good idea to communicate clearly for better estimations. For example, if you are estimating the timeline of project completion you have to communicate with each team member and explain what is to be expected. This way, they can give you their estimations. In the end, you will be able to provide precise estimations. If you don’t communicate properly, then they might make assumptions and base their estimations on assumptions. This can result in skewed estimations that can lead to problems down the line.

  • Don’t use budget numbers only

    Business owners often make this mistake when making estimates. They include the budget numbers to get an estimate. The problem with this approach is that while it looks great in writing, it is not that realistic and can be overly optimistic. That said, there might be situations whereby the estimate needs to include the budget or at least take the budget into account. If this is the case then what you can do is that you can change the project scope.

  • Take risks into accounts

    Estimates should also include risks because they play a key role. When estimating, you are bound to run into challenges and risks. You want to include them in your estimates if possible because they can ensure more accurate estimates. For example, many businesses plan for risks. They do this to ensure that if something is risky, it can be handled in the future without causing a lot of problems for the project completion. This should be added to the estimate because it will take extra time to complete the project.

  • Pay attention to details

    While it was earlier established that estimations are not supposed to be too detailed, it is better to pay attention to at least some level of detail. For instance, rather than generalizing what the project will include, you can list down what your clients can expect from your business. This will give a better overview of the client that you are working with.  This can mean that you will report higher estimations, but it is still better to overestimate rather than realize halfway through that you are going to incur more costs than you initially expected.

TallyPrime - A complete business management software

Your past work and how you handled projects in the past can help you make better estimates. But you know what else can make your estimate better? A good business accounting system like TallyPrime. TallyPrime is an excellent software that makes financial recording and reporting easy. It has automation that allows you to save time on mundane tasks so you can focus on more pressing matters in your business. It is a business accounting software that can make it easier to manage inventory, payroll, and a plethora of other important business tasks.

Watch video on accounting reports in TallyPrime

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