What’s the Difference Between an Estimate and an Invoice?

Now that you’ve picked Classic Construction as your contractor, you may have received an invoice that is slightly different from your estimate. From time to time projects start with an estimate and most always begin with with an invoice. At Classic, we want to help inform you on the how we break down our estimates and invoices for when we partner with you as your team of general contractors.

Putting together an estimate for home damageWhat is an estimate?/What is included?

An Estimate is a document in which our estimators outline the estimated costs of repair and restoration. They will walk your property, often with an insurance adjuster, and take notes of materials, damage, and what needs to be replaced.

Then, replacement materials are sourced and priced and those numbers are applied to the notes. The final result is your estimate. This document is useful for getting insurance payouts, for comparing between construction companies (see our blog on why multiple bids can work against you!). From here you can accept the bid, which will then turn into an invoice.

What is an Invoice and What Is included?

An Invoice is a document that our team will give you once your project is completed. It will include an itemized list of your entire project and is the amount that you will be requested to pay. The itemized list includes all of the items that were used to complete your project and any additional fees. This could be things like contractors fees, sub-contractors fees, supplies fees (wood, nails, cement, etc.), disposal fees and so on. The invoice also includes any additional items that came up along the way that were not included on your original estimate. As with any large project there are sometimes things that will pop-up that you can not plan for and these will be reflected on the final invoice.

Why They Can Differ

An estimate is always just a rough calculation for the cost of work needed to be done upon initial inspection. Once your contractor actually gets into the project, it’s not uncommon that the scope of work gets expanded. Whether it be hidden damage that wasn’t able to be assessed or complications during the project, your invoice at the end of the project will be different from your estimate cost.


It can be easy to get estimates and invoices confused with each other, but our team is always here to help if you aren’t quite sure which stage your project is in when it comes to moving forward with it. If you ever have a question about any documents, feel free to reach out to our team any time and give us a call – we’ll always be here when you need us the most!

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