If you're in the auto repair business, then you know that it's essential to send detailed estimates to customers before completing any work on their vehicles. This estimate creates a line of trust between you and your customer. After all, car repairs and maintenance can be costly. There's comfort in knowing the price in advance and having it in writing.

Luckily, Skynova's estimate software simplifies the process of creating and sending professional estimates to your customers. Instead of creating estimates through Microsoft Excel or Word, you can use Skynova to create a more polished template that's editable directly on the website. Once you've produced an estimate, you can immediately submit it to your customer via PDF format. In fact, you can send this estimate directly from our platform to your customer without downloading it first.

From there, the customer will be able to review the cost and approve or decline the work order with the click of a button. Skynova's printable estimate template form speeds up the process and allows your automotive repair shop to move forward quickly with their decision. If you're in auto repair, check out the template we've made below just for your business:

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Estimate #
Item Description Unit Price Quantity Amount
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Amount Paid
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How to Create an Automotive Repair Estimate

If business forms aren't your favorite part of the job, let Skynova's estimate template handle it for you. Our platform easily creates a professional template like the one pictured above, which means less time figuring out an estimate for auto repairs and more time under the hood of a car.

Simply follow the steps below to create a professional auto repair estimate that you can send to any customer. Our template eliminates the hassle of creating estimates and lets you get back to the work you love.

  1. Include Addresses for Your Business and Your Customer

    It's essential to include contact information for both parties involved — your business and your customer — on any auto body repair estimate. Your company name should be clearly stated on the cost estimate. If your customer doesn't recognize where it's coming from, they might miss your estimate or discard it.

    Before sending anything to your customer, double-check the contact information you have on file for them, as well as their vehicle information. You'll want to ensure your estimate gets to the right place so there isn't a delay with any work that needs to be done.

  2. Upload Your Business's Logo

    Incorporate your auto repair shop's logo into your estimate. This professional touch adds legitimacy to any estimate.

    Skynova's estimate creator allows you to easily upload your logo. Simply click on the customization options of the template page and select "Logo" to upload the image of your choice.

  3. Create an Estimate Number

    Create an identifying number for every estimate you send to customers. This allows you to track all potential job estimates.

    It's advisable that you implement a system for creating estimate numbers. Your estimate number can be any order of numbers, letters, and/or symbols. Common suggestions are creating these numbers sequentially as the work comes in or using a mixture of car make and model, customer name, and date.

    When using Skynova's car repair estimate template, input your estimate number to the associated box on the form. You can also add an associated P.O. number by selecting customizable options at the top of the template, and Skynova can automatically update the number for you each time. This comes in handy once the work is approved by your customer, as it allows Skynova users to automatically convert their estimates to invoices once accepted.

  4. Add an Estimate Date

    Be sure to include a date on every estimate of auto repairs. Typically, this is the date you create the form.

    This date is important as it sets the time frame for when your estimate expires. How long until it expires — one week, a month, or longer — is up to you. If they seek auto repair work from you after this expiration date, you'll need to create a new estimate sheet for them. Make sure you're clear about when you expect a response from your customer.

  5. Calculate and Enter the Cost of Parts

    To create an accurate estimate for any work done on a customer's auto body, you need to include the price for parts you anticipate needing. In the auto repair industry, you likely have each part listed in your inventory with a specific number. For your customer, though, you should write a short description of the estimate, instead. If you just write the part number, customers may not know what you're referencing. This will help them better understand what they're purchasing.

    To input parts in Skynova's estimate template, select "Product" under the "Item" pull-down tab. Then, in the description box, write what the part is.

    You'll also need to fill out the unit price and quantity. The unit price refers to the cost of each individual part — the cost of one fuel pump, the cost of one battery, the cost of one set of brake pads, for instance.

    The quantity refers to the number of each part the job requires. For instance, your customer might want to replace the two rear tires on their vehicle. The number "2" will be marked down in the quantity section, but the unit price will reflect the price of a single tire.

    It's important to note that this is just an estimate. You never know what will happen once the work begins. You could get under the hood and realize a spark plug has corroded and needs to be replaced, or maybe your vendor's prices have slightly increased and you didn't realize this until contacting them for a part.

  6. Enter the Cost of Your Labor

    In addition to parts, labor is the other key component of vehicle repair. First, determine if you're charging by the hour or a flat rate. For most jobs, like collision repair, you'll charge customers by the hour. But some work, such as oil changes, might have a flat rate associated with them.

    If you charge by the hour, you will need to calculate your company's hourly labor rate. To do this, determine which employee will be working on this particular vehicle. Then, consider their hourly rate of pay. For your auto repair services company to make money, you should also charge an additional percentage, perhaps 15%, profit margin on top of their rate. This will be the amount you charge your customer by the hour.

    If you're charging an hourly rate, select "Hours" in the "Item" pull-down tab of Skynova's estimate template. In the "Description" box, write a short explanation of the type of labor being completed. Input your hourly rate in the "Unit Price" box and write the number of hours you anticipate this work taking your staff to complete under "Quantity."

    If you're charging a flat rate, select "Service" under the "Item" tab. In the description, write what that service is — a tire rotation, an oil change, an inspection, or something else. Under "Unit Price," write the cost of this service, and write how many times you'll provide this service under "Quantity" (likely just "1").

    Skynova's free estimate template does the math for you: It multiplies the unit price by the quantity to calculate an estimated cost of what labor will cost your customer.

    It's important to reiterate that this is just an estimate. You could start a job and realize it takes longer to complete than you anticipated, which could increase your labor costs on the final estimate. Just be sure to explain this to your customer so it is clear.

  7. Enter Discounts and Special Offers

    As the owner of an automotive repair shop, you already know that it makes sense to occasionally offer discounts and other special offers to help with customer retention. For instance, maybe you want to entice a first-time customer with a discount or send a coupon to previous customers to encourage them to visit your shop.

    Skynova's estimate template makes it easy for you to incorporate these discounts into your estimate. Under the "Item" pull-down tab, select "Discount." In the "Description" box, write what the discount is for (e.g., "October oil change special"). The "Unit Price" area is for the amount of the discount, and the "Quantity" section is for the number of discounts applied. Our template will deduct this discount from the final cost.

  8. Add a Note Describing Your Work and Providing Additional Information

    The "Notes" section of Skynova's estimate template is the ideal space for communicating additional details about the work being done to a customer's vehicle or any other information you think they should know. Maybe you want to remind them that you applied a discount to the estimate or you'd like to leave a kind note thanking them for their consideration and potential business.

    This section might also be a good space to remind customers that an estimate is just that — an estimate. Anything is subject to change when the work begins.

Tips and Best Practices for Auto Repair Estimates

If you're looking to ease your workload, our estimate template creates a professional estimate for your auto repair business in a snap. These estimates go a long way in establishing a relationship with a customer and letting them quickly approve the job.

There's more to preparing accurate estimates than simply filling out a repair order form, though. You need to understand your industry and what your customers are looking for. We've compiled some additional tips and best practices for you to keep in mind to ensure this initial estimate process operates smoothly.

  • Become an Auto Repair Expert

    The key to creating an accurate auto repair estimate is knowing your field inside and out. Anybody can fill out a form, but if you're unable to properly assess a job and convey what work needs to be done to a vehicle, customers won't trust your professional opinion.

    So, before anything else, learn your trade. Understand the mechanics of various vehicle makes and models. Get to know your auto body shop's inventory system well so you can easily look up prices for parts. For your customer to trust you enough to hire you for the job, they need to feel confident in your expertise and knowledge base.

  • If Possible, Present Options to Your Customers

    If you know your customer might be concerned about repair costs, present them with several options for the job. Just make sure you convey if a suggestion is only a short-term solution for a problem.

    Not all jobs will have several options, but some will. For instance, they might come to you with a nail in their tire. While they really should replace the tire — and you should stress that they need to replace it eventually — a quick patch, which costs less, should temporarily get them back on the road.

  • Discuss Potential Problems in Advance

    An auto repair estimate presents the cost of labor and parts of any job at first glance. You never know what you might find under the hood once you start working, though. You might discover corroded parts or additional problems you didn't realize were there. It's important to stress these possibilities to your customers before starting the work, as it might increase projected costs.

  • Include a Proposed Timeline for Repairs With Your Estimate

    When creating an estimate for auto repair work, include a timeline for when you'll be able to complete the work. This additional piece of information could give you an edge against competitors.

Improve Your Business With Skynova's Auto Repair Estimate Form

As the owner of an auto repair shop, in addition to being a skilled mechanic, you also need to know how to operate a business. These administrative tasks might seem draining if you're better with a screwdriver than you are with keeping track of customers and accounts, but they're just as important when it comes to working toward your success.

Skynova, with its estimate template, invoice template, and full range of services for small companies, is here to make running your business easier than ever. We're dedicated to helping you drive your business and build your customer base. In addition to providing quality services, our customizable templates help you present a professional appearance to your customers. In the long run, this leads to your business retaining more customers, getting paid faster, and keeping the books organized.

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