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New Feature: Create and Send Estimates

We’re excited to announce the launch of the new Estimates feature. You can now create, send and manage estimates within your Harvest account. Like the Invoice feature, Harvest lets you create a professional estimate with just a few clicks, and everything is organized in a easy-to-scan dashboard for you to track what is outstanding, what has been recently accepted or declined:


Here’s a highlight of cool things you can do with the new Estimates feature:

  • Your client can access the estimate via a private URL, where they can accept or decline the estimate.
  • Attach files to your estimate – and your clients can download online (via the private URL). No more emails with bulky attachments! Your client will simply receive one simple email with a link to view and download everything.
  • Just like the Invoice feature, you can customize and translate every phrase on the estimate (via Estimates > Configure).
  • Once an estimate is accepted, you can turn it into an invoice with just one click.

To start using the new Estimates feature: Go to Manage > Account Settings, and you’ll find a new Customize Modules section. Click on “Choose Modules” and you can activate the new Estimates feature.

Just a reminder: the “project estimate” feature has been renamed to “project budget“.

We hope you find this new feature useful, and please let us know if you have any questions or feedback!

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This was posted in New Features, Online Invoicing, Product News.
  • Awesome. Great work guys.

  • Gahlord Dewald on August 3, 2009

    If they accept the estimate, and I generate an invoice (say, first 1/4 of the estimate as a project deposit) and they pay it: can I then charge hours against their pre-paid account?

  • dear harvest, please be more projecty, instead of more accounty. thnxbai.

  • Guys, this is fantastic. The very week I was looking to find a more comprehensive system, you rolled out just the feature I needed.

    Well done.

  • That’s why love Harvest, you guys never stop to provide tweaks and new features.

  • Good comment from Nikc above. Please take a good look at Freshbooks and then focus on doing stuff that Freshbooks are not doing.

  • Great! It seems like the logical thing would be to be able to create not just an invoice with an accepted estimate.. but also a project? Right?

    1. Create estimate
    2. Estimate is accepted
    3. Invoice goes out
    4. New project is automatically created to track time against…

    Keep it up!

  • Josef Larsen on August 3, 2009

    As said in email to staff..
    I would like to have the posibility to create an estimate based on a project. (only counting billable budget hours)

  • Another thing that would be great to add to this is a place to enter a detailed description before the pricing. We do estimates with detailed descriptions of the services we will be offering, then we give pricing. This usually comes before all of the prices. Right now, we wold just have to type that info into the box where the price is and that could get combersome when you have logos, web, branding, stationery, printing, etc. etc. Any way you could add a description field at the beginning of this so we can add descriptions like these?

  • Thanks to everyone for submitting their thoughtful comments thus far. You can be sure we’re listening and in some cases have followed up for more details. Keep the feedback coming!

  • Thanks guys,
    We at OKB are very impressed by the speed and frequency of your updates of new improvements.

    This new functionality will give us ONE PLACE to gather all the estimates and offers that used to be shattered around in mailboxes, fileservers and in best case Basecamp or Highrise. It also gives us an excelent tracking of customers approval of estimats and offers.

    BUT, this will raise the bar for the “CRM functionality” withing Harvest in regards to multiple contact information, document storage and so forth… We are excited to see whats coming.

    Keep up the good work.

    Best regards
    Team OKB

  • Thumbs up guys (and girls)!

  • After testing this out, there’s just two small things I have to note (other than that it’s very good):

    1. Translations for “Accept Estimate”, “Decline Estimate”, and “File Attachments” are not possible. Can we get those added to the customization of texts?

    2. Optimally, when a client accepts an estimate, a project should be created with the amount of hours that have been estimated for each task. This would streamline the process much more.

    If you really want to push my buttons, you’d also add the ability to have HTML in the e-mails that are sent out to the clients, but that is definitely not a priority… :)

  • Just want to reformulate that last point better:

    Instead of “Create Invoice” after a client has accepted the estimate, it should be “Create Project”, or that should be added as an option.

    For some companies it might be natural to just send an invoice, but I’d think for most it would be more natural to set up a project and then start logging hours on it after a client has accepted.

  • Josef Larsen on August 4, 2009

    I totally agree with George. Thats more natural for us. We never invoice until the project is finished.
    Estimate -> Project -> Invoice

  • Tested it out now with a new client, worked fantastic!

    I also agree with George and others – you must be able to convert the approved estimate into a project, and later to an invoice. Had me scratching my head for awhile.


  • For us we do the following:

    Estimate -> Invoice 50% -> Work 50% of Project -> Invoice 25% –> Work 50% of Project -> Invoice Final 25%

  • Yes, we do the same model as alrasbi in regard to how we invoice…

  • Peter Markatos on August 4, 2009

    Good, but an estimate is a range of costs not a fixed fee. You really need to make this so that it can be a variable quantity.

    We always give estimates cause its too risky to say something is going to cost X. You risk losing the bid, or charging too little. Ranges are better practice.

    Can you guys make this simple change? Would be VERY HAPPY if you did, cause our system now is very antiquated and this would be a HUGE help.

  • Also would be awesome if we could line item based on the tasks we have already programmed into Harvest. Then once an estimate is approved these values could pipe into Project Budget perfectly.

    That would be sweet.

  • Sorry here’s another idea. There’s no way to have markup in here. Ideally this is something you can wrap in internally then take out in regards to what the client sees.

    I’ve brought this up before, Harvest doesn’t track Profit only hard costs. So there’s no way to see how much we made above hard costs….which is really the “HARVEST” of a job.

    I guess for now “TAX” could sorta function like that. but that’s a hack job.

  • Would be great GREAT to duplicate an estimate. Its a bit tedious right now…

  • Shawn Maida on August 5, 2009

    This is a great start. Thank you so much for your efforts. One question.

    Would it be possible to have estimates pulled into the reports overview screen? That screen is so useful to me and it would be fantastic to have an “Estimates Summary” that mimics the invoices summary.

    Maybe something along the lines of:

    “Estimates sent this month”
    “Estimates sent last month”

    “Estimates won this month”
    “Estimates won last month”

  • I an sure you guys have estimate updates to come, but I wanted to raise my hand for the “duplicate estimate” request ;-) Thats for the great estimate start!

  • Josef Larsen on August 6, 2009

    Yes, estimate summary would be great on the reports overview page!

    How about moving “harvest news” down below, and put the estimates in the right column instead? The news is the least important things on a daily use basis, IMO. :)

  • I was hoping for a different kind of ‘estimate feature’.

    When budgetting, I would like to be able to add (per task):
    – billable budget (already possible)
    – internal budget (in case you are willing to make an investment on the project/projectphase)

    When tracking progress, I would like to be able to enter Estimate to Completion.

    This way you get:
    Billable budget + internal budget = total budget available for the project manager.
    Then track Actual hours + estimate to completion and compare it to the available budget

  • Josef Larsen on August 7, 2009

    Hi again. I have now used this new feature for 4 days, since launch.

    And I still feel like there need to be some kind of connection or reference between an estimate and a project. I cant say exactly how this should be done, thats where you guys at Harvest knows best.

    For me, this would be logical:
    1. Create a project. Add tasks and budget for those tasks.
    2. Create an estimate to send to a client, that estimate should be based on the already inputed budget hours.
    3. Work and track time.
    4. Create an invoice to send to a client, based on the worked hours.

    Because an estimate and an invoice are quite similar! They are only based on different things in the project: Reported hours (or hours I want to be paid for) and budget hours.

    I allways create a project first. Because time spent on trying to get a project, the sell-phase, should also have tracked time (even if its unbillable). That way I can see the whole economy, and thus know how much time to invest.

    Or, maybe Im doing things wrong? What are your thoughts about how to work with estimates, projects and invoices?

  • This is a really great feature guys! thank you.

  • rick oconnor on August 12, 2009

    Definitely a great addition!

    I think we’re going to be waiving goodbye to highrise!

    Keep the awesome updates coming!

  • This is a great addition to Harvest that has already helped me. I sent an estimate to a new client with an attached contract, the estimate was accepted, I converted the estimate into an invoice for the initial payment, and the client paid the invoice via PayPal — all on the same day. A great way to sign up a new client!

    An additional feature that would help me with this workflow would be a way to get a contract signed and store it in Harvest, or in an application linked to Harvest. In this case, after the client reviewed and accepted the contract that was attached to the Harvest estimate, I re-sent the contract for e-signing through EchoSign. Having some integration with that process would be excellent.

  • I agree with Brian, We need a way to have client’s sign off on T&C along with the estimate, and storage would be great too!

  • Just what I was looking for.

  • Love it! But I can’t use it. I must have a client signature line, as well as client’s name, company, and date. Or else, it’s just a pretty picture. Thanks for thinking ahead, tho. Hoping the updated version offers those fields for client info & signature.

  • perfect, thanks for listening harvest. One other useful feature to the estimate would see the ability to not only link it to a certain client but also to a certain project from within that client. If the project hadn’t been created prior to estimating then perhaps from the drop down menu you could choose ‘link new project to this client’


  • dario marquez on August 28, 2009

    i signed up thinking i would need to compromise on not being able to make Estimates, so this is just awesome .. you should update your website asap as it’s not yet in the features list .. great app !

  • LOVE the estimates feature. I have been looking for something to provide this functionality for ages.

    Only suggest I have is to be able to send an estimate as a PDF in the same way that you can now with invoices.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Very exciting upgrade. Thanks for listening.

  • Why does the estimate not automatically pull from our rates/service lines? In other words, I would like to create an estimate and select: Design (20 Hours) & have those twenty hours map to hourly rate. Example of line items for an estimate:

    – Project Management
    – Design
    – QA
    – Art Direction
    – Production

    The beauty of this would be that if an estimate is approved, it can then seamlessly turn into a project with all project hours already setup.

  • Love this! Just gave it a whirl, and it’s exactly what I’ve been looking for — will save me lots of time, and helps keep it all under one roof. Also, love that I can attach a contract to the estimate. Wonderful! I will continue to sing the praises of Harvest. Keep up the great work, Harvest Friends!

  • Michael Moore on September 9, 2009

    Great stuff – I used it for the first time today and it was easy-peasy.

    One idea for improvement: I like to do the estimate in a (roughly) chronological order, and then at the end I realize I’ve forgotten something that belongs in the middle. Right now there’s no easy way to say “Move this line UP” or “Stick a new line in HERE” Not a huge deal, more of a 1.1 refinement.

    Thanks again for a great service.

  • @Michael thanks for the suggestion — we’re making a note about this!

  • Jerome Wilson on October 28, 2009

    “Once an estimate is accepted, you can turn it into an invoice with just one click.”

    That’s fairly obviously missing a fundamental step, as has been mentioned by a few people. Surely it would make much more sense to turn it into project(s)? It would seem to map well.

  • @Jerome We definitely hear you and we have these improvements on our list!

  • Jerome Wilson on October 28, 2009

    Thanks Danny :)

  • Darn, I was jumping up and down when I found this new feature and was all set to move our entire estimation process over to Harvest and then found that you can’t enter estimate ranges. Estimates are no good without ranges. Any news on an update?

  • I wound love to have a Status for my estimates.

    Something like: “Pending”, “Accepted”, “Declined”, “Project created” and “Invoiced”.

  • Karen Schoellkopf on April 13, 2010

    @Mads Katholm @Ursula Thank you both for the feedback, we’ve made notes on your requests for future updates of the estimate feature. Sorry, I don’t have a timeline to offer, but we do appreciate the suggestions!

  • Our design services often include sub-consultants that have a budget we need to track in addition to our own. 2 additions that we are looking for the estimate feature to include are:
    -the ability to query by type (ie. generate report of only one consultants fees and be able to see this for all estimates)
    -for the report to list all the sub-categories that make up the total. (at a glance in the report tab, see additional columns that show fee breakdown)

  • mike russo on August 9, 2010

    these are awesome features but the ability to estimate a RANGE would be tremendous. I’m trying very hard to use Harvest for all of my needs here but doing flat rate estimates is brutal.

  • Agreed. Having the ability for Ranged estimates is def. the top of my feature request for Harvest.

  • I’d like to add a +1 for the feature request to add a price range for estimates. I guess it might be tricky to convert a ranged estimate to a fixed invoice, but you guys are clever. You can figure it out.

  • Karen Schoellkopf on October 20, 2011

    We’ve made a note of it @Phil, and @Mike @Jerod @Henry thanks it’s on our feature requests list already, I’ve noted your chorus of +1s!

  • Hi Harvest
    It’s been a couple of years now… is there a chance that estimates will ever be able to be converted into projects once they’re accepted? Putting a lot of effort into an estimate and having to repeat it exactly for a project is a pain.

    • Sorry about that, we get a ton of feature requests every week, and have to make some tough decisions sometimes about where to focus our efforts. We definitely haven’t forgotten about this one — it’s in our feature request tracker, we just haven’t gotten to it yet, and it’s not in the plans for the immediate future (next 6 months or so).

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