In a certain industry, such as in a construction industry or auto body repair, most of customers will ask for estimates before proceeding with the project/job.  Estimates are non-posting transactions, which mean estimates do not affect your financial records.  When you create estimates, none of the amounts, items, jobs, and other information, will be posted to any of Chart of Accounts.
Creating estimates in QuickBooks are quite simple, especially if you are familiar with creating invoices already.  In fact, you can create invoices from your estimates directly.

To create estimates:

1.    Ensure Job & Estimates preference is turned on by selecting Edit > Preferences > Job & Estimates from the Main menu; select Company Preferences tab and check “Do you Create Estimates” yes button.

2.    Select Estimates from Customers pane in the Home Page, or Customers > Create Estimates from Main Menu.  Create Estimates window will appear as shown below:

QB Creating Estimates 1

 

3.    Create Estimates window is similar to Invoice window, and you fill in items, quantity, amount, etc. exactly like as in invoice.  The mark-up percentage is based on how much your purchase cost and the sale price for your customers.  You can fill-in different mark-up percentages for different items.  If you have price levels, you can use them as well.
Note that the mark-up column is only visible on the screen while you are working in this Create Estimates window. It will not appear when you print or email it to your customer.  You can always do a Print Preview before you print or email it.

4.    Note the right hand pane, which has Customer tab and Transaction tab.  Once you select your customer in Customer:Job, these panes will be populated with all history of the selected customer transactions.
If you want to close this history pane, click the arrow on the left of Customer tab.

5.    To email your estimate, click the To be e-mailed checkbox on the bottom left side.

Once you make one estimate, you can always refer to it again by duplicating and change its contents.  To duplicate an estimate,  right click when you are in active the Create Estimate window (to be duplicated) and select Duplicate Estimates; or from the Main Menu, select Edit and Duplicate Estimates.
Sometimes you have to make more than one estimate for the same contract/job because of the increase/decrease in price or any other adjustments.  If you then decide which estimate is viable and you only want to have this viable one, you can make other estimates inactive by simple unchecking the   
Estimate Active checkbox while displaying it in the Create Estimate window.