Many people mistake quote templates for invoices, but these are two different documents. While they are similar in nature and invoices can be built from a quote, they serve different purposes.
A business provides a price quote (often created from an existing quote template) to a potential client before the client decides whether to invest in a certain project. The business sends an invoice to an existing client to receive payment from them after the business has started or completed the project. As for the differences in the documents themselves, a quote template usually has a section for “terms and conditions” and a signature line for the client to agree to the information listed, while an invoice typically does not. [Read our review of FreshBooks, our pick for the best accounting software for invoicing.]
Using quote software, you can easily convert a filled-out quote template to an invoice if your prospect becomes a client, saving you time and data entry.
Quote vs. estimate
Another common misconception is that quotes and estimates are the same. Both give a client an idea of how much they will pay for a project or service. However, a quote is typically a fixed, agreed-upon price for a service, while an estimate is an outline of the project scope and materials with an approximate price that external factors may change.
While your business may provide both quotes and estimates, the format you use most often will depend on the nature of your business. For example, a marketing agency might provide a flat-rate quote for the services it will provide, while a construction company might provide an estimate for a project that could change depending on the market price of the materials or additional labor required once the project begins.