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Coming Soon: Send Estimates & Track Budget in Harvest

We’ve been busy working on a few feature in Harvest, so that you can create and send estimates right within Harvest, much like how you’d send your invoices today. Here’s a sneak peak:

Estimates Preview

What does this mean for you?

If you want to send an estimate or quote, you will soon be able to do that in Harvest. If you do not need this feature, fear not – you will not see the tab at all. This new feature is optional, and completely free to all Harvest users.

We decided to rename our current Project Estimate to Project Budget. It will work just as it does now, you put in the budget hours, and Harvest will keep track of your project status for you. The only changed is the name, as to avoid confusion with the new feature.

We’re pushing through some minor interface changes with the new release. Harvest will be a bit wider, and there are small changes here and there to improve the overall feel and experience. Next week we will talk about the design changes and the decisions behind them.

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This was posted in Product News.
  • Seriously… when are you guys going to have your own project management software like BC? Thanks for continuing to make a great app even better. You guys rock.

  • Time to show co-op some love?

  • Iridesco delivers much better apps than 37Signals.

  • @Seth & @George – thank you, guys. We have no plans to create a project management software. We’re happy customers of Basecamp (and Highrise).

    @Nikc Yes, we want to give Co-op some love! But there are just so many improvements we want to bring to Harvest. Soon – I promise you’ll see some great improvements to Co-op this year.

  • Jim Kring on July 16, 2009

    @Shawn, that’s great news! This is another part of our company’s workflow that will be great to have integrated into Harvest.

  • Drop Design Studio on July 17, 2009

    This is great news! I requested this feature among others a few months back and have been eagerly awaiting it’s release.

    Will it have the option to turn an approved quote into an invoice for that project? That would cut out having to make the invoice which could save a fair bit of time.

  • Great to see this development – will make this process ‘frictionless’ – just what we need. Looking forward to it !

  • Great! The thing I was waiting for… :-)

  • Great feature guys! Does this have the ability to add any boilerplate legalese and TOS, and a place for the client to sign and return?

  • So if you produce an estimate, when you go to invoice the client, can you choose whether to base it on the estimate or on the actual hours? If you choose to base it on the estimate, can you mark the hours that went to that project as billed? We do some work based on hourly and some based on estimates.

    Also, what about a bulk invoicing tool? Like where you choose 1 or all of the clients with estimates or billable hours during a period of time and then you can bulk generate the invoices?

    Just a couple of thoughts!

    Thanks for adding this great feature!

  • I have a request. Something that I have not found in any other system:

    The ability to save and insert chunks of text so that I can use this to write proposals. For example an introduction letter or a description of services being estimated. I want to be able to write these and save them so I don’t need to cut and paste or re-write.

    They could be named and selected just as an item – except not have price/cost component

    Freeform text is all it needs to be – some basic formatting would be nice but I can live without it.

    This would save me so much time.

    (they would need to be incorporated into the main section rather than it’s own section)

  • Jim Kring on July 18, 2009

    @Mike Ciolino: fogbugz has a feature like this called snippets: http://www.fogcreek.com/FogBugz/learnmore.html?section=Snippets

  • This will bring great joy and happiness to me. Now, about that resourcing planning issue… :)

  • Great News. I’ve been teetering between a Harvest and Freshbooks for a while and didn’t know what to choose.

    I really like Harvest’s interface and the reporting is fantastic. You guys have a designer’s eye for detail that I appreciate. However I really wanted the estimation piece that Freshbooks has.

    This announcment that has clinched it for me. I’ll be fully on board with Harvest just as soon as I can kick the tires on the estimates bits.

  • Fantastic news – Finally we can move away from manually doing estimates!

    Thanks!

    PS: Release it soon though!

  • Great! We’re really looking forward to seeing what you’ve been working on. Our proposals are pretty custom & detailed, but hopefully we’ll be able to integrate an estimate from Harvest.

  • @Anna: You said you do some work based on hourly and some on estimates. We are an architecture firm and we do the same thing, but Harvest does not have a “lump sum” estimate feature, everything is based around hours instead of having the option to set a fixed cost. How are you working with non-hourly estimates in Harvest?

    *Feature Request: Can Harvest create a Lump Sum estimate feature for jobs and allow its users to choose between hourly estimating, and fixed cost estimating when creating new jobs?

  • Sue Reid on July 20, 2009

    I agree with Adam – we NEVER estimate on hours as each of our staff are billed out at a different rate. It would be great to have the ability to enter a lump sum budget and bill against it. Particularly if we can identify whether the budget includes fees only or fees and expenses!

  • Great news!

    However, I agree with Adam and Sue. Lump sums make more sense for us.

  • I would like to echo the comments of Anna, Adam, Sue, and Anwar: we would really benefit from the ability to invoice against a lump-sum number.

    Our firm estimates based on hours, but we will bill in thirds: the first third at the start of the project, the next third at a major milestone, and the final third at completion.

    Harvest is AWESOME for tracking time against an estimate, but it’s hard for my bookkeeper to know what’s been billed for and what’s uninivoiced.

    Where Harvest could really help is in the “out of scope” work. For instance, if we estimate a project at $9000, and the client does something wacky to increase the workload, Harvest provides us with a good tool to track our additional efforts. However, it doesn’t currently provide a good way to link the work that’s been done with both in-scope and out-of-scope time. It there was a mechanism for doing this, I would be one happy Harvest camper!

  • I would also like to echo the comments of Anna, Adam, Sue, Anwar & Shawn. Shaw’s comments about out of scope work directly applies to our business as well and although we have worked around it with band-aid solutions thus, an update to the Harvest system to accommodate this would be great.

    We also have experienced difficulties tracking hours against estimates where different users charge different rates for the same task. We would love the ability to report on both the amount charged to the client and as well, the internal cost based on varying subcontractor rates etc.

    Keep up the good work though!

  • Usually, I send an email with a myriad of enhancement requests, but this time I am emailing to just let you know that I think you guys are doing an awesome job with Harvest. Its a great tool that we run our business off of. Thanks for providing us with technology that is not only easy to use but works for our business.

  • I also ask clients for “milestone” payments on large projects in similar fashion to Shawn – at the start of a project, in the middle and on completion. As a freelancer it helps with cashflow and ensures I’m not left in the lurch.

    At the moment I create free-form invoices for each milestone, keeping an eye on project hours (but never actually billing using the recorded hours).

    At the end of the project I *could* invoice using the timesheet data, deleting the previous milestone invoices and marking the payments as received on the new invoice. I think that’s a bit confusing for the clients and it makes for extra work on my part so I haven’t bothered for the moment.

    It’s turned into a bit of a messy procedure…

  • do you know when you put this fonctionnality online? beacause harvest seems really nice but I absolutly need estimates. thanks alot.

  • I am so excited about this, I will get to stop estimating off-line! YEA! Thanks Guys

  • Any more news on the ETA of this feature? I’m beginning an estimate for which it would be perfect.

  • Jim Kring on July 29, 2009

    I’m eagerly awaiting this new feature and your article where you discuss the new design changes — wasn’t that article due last week? ;)

  • @jim You’re right – we owe you guys a blog post about the design changes, which you can see in your Harvest account now.

    As for the new estimate feature, you can activate it via Manage > Account Settings, scroll down and click on the button “Choose Modules”. We’ll announce on the blog soon!

  • @Shawn Thanks for responding. I think the Estimate feature will be really useful.

  • Jim Kring on July 30, 2009

    @Shawn Sweet! I’ll take Estimates for a test drive and let you know what I think.

  • Jim Kring on July 30, 2009

    OK, here’s my feedback after playing with this for 30 minutes…

    Summary: I like the direction this is going, but I think it needs some work before I’ll be able to use it in our company’s workflow. It seems to be targeted more for business-to-consumer, than business-to-business (which is an issue for me, since my customers are large businesses).

    * I like the file attachment feature. This will be useful for attaching RFQ, requirements, and specifications documents.

    * There should be a PDF attachment to Estimates sent to customers, just like invoices.

    * I’d like the ability to call this a “Quote”, rather than an “Estimate”. My customers are businesses not consumers. For example, I’m not remodeling a kitchen or repairing a car, I’m providing a quotation so that the customer (a business) can send me a purchase order.

    * When a customer “accepts” an estimate via the web page, I’d like to recieve an email notification. How do I know if a customer accepts an Estimate?

    * The way that our customers “accept” an estimate is to send us a purchase order. We need a way to track POs in Harvest.

    * There doesn’t seem to be any link between estimates and invoices. How do I see which invoices have been sent from the estimate?

    * There is currently no way to link a project to an estimate.

    * Estimates (and Invoices) don’t say “Estimate” (or “Invoice” anywhere that is plainly visible. For Invoices, I overcame this limitation by modifying the company logo and added “INVOICE” above my company name/logo. However, this image is used for both Estimates and Invoices, so now my Estimates say “INVOICE”.

    Keep up the good work, and keep the improvements coming!

  • THANKS A LOT !!!!!
    small bug for me : notes default value doesn’t work

  • small bug 2: I can’t see “ESTIMATE” title on estimate

  • Barry Hess on July 30, 2009

    @Alban We’ve fixed up the notes default value bug. Thanks for letting us know!

  • last one bug: when ou convert a estimate to invoice it doesn’t conserve the Subject.

    THANKS A LOT

  • Thanks for adding this feature – it’ll help immensely. Can you customize the style of the estimates, add terms and conditions, etc.? It’s important to me, since my estimates include my contract terms.

    Otherwise, thanks for creating this app – it’s been an amazing boon to my productivity. Any chance you can add functionality that’ll let you sync with OpenAtrium?

  • How about integrating Harvest Estimates with the existing tas structure so your estimate can be based on tasks/ time and then be converted into harvest projects upon acceptance…

  • Josef Larsen on August 3, 2009

    I would like to echo both Jim Kring and Doug Steinberg…

    Integration between estimates and projects would be awesome.

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