Writing proposals is an essential part of owning a business or starting a project. However, it can be difficult to know what to write, especially since no two projects are the same. The type of information the proposal must contain will be similar, though. Master the parts of a proposal to make acquiring projects a breeze.
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Do You Need a Proposal for Every New Project?
Every project needs some sort of agreement; however, it does not necessarily need to be a new proposal every time. For example, it is possible to include multiple projects under one proposal by having a “parent” project that contains several smaller projects. However, instead of proposing a set fee per project, you can agree to an hourly rate that covers all work for that client. This method requires the ability to track hours precisely, but you won’t need to write a proposal for each project.
Pricing and Templates
An easy way to tackle writing multiple proposals is to create a template. You won’t be able to use the same language for every proposal unless all of your projects are highly similar, but even having a template for formatting will speed up the writing of proposals.
Having a pricing plan can also help. In addition to speeding up proposals, clients can view the plan so they will know if your services are within their budget. If a pricing plan will not work for your business, you can base prices on similar previous projects or on the estimated amount of hours the project will take.
What Goes into a Proposal
Every proposal should include the following:
- Project Background
- What’s Next
The project background is the section of the proposal that details why the project should happen. Define a problem, then detail how the project will solve that problem. The goal is to convince the client to choose your proposal over someone else’s, so be specific about how exactly your project will benefit the client.
If the client has already agreed to use your services, meaning you don’t have to compete with anyone else, this part of the proposal doesn’t need to be as persuasive. Instead, it can be a concise summary of the project and a description of how the project will meet the client’s needs.
Set goals for the project to achieve. Make sure they are measurable goals, as this will help determine if the project was a success. For example, instead of “improve sales,” write “increase profits by 15%.”
The scope defines what part of the project is and what isn’t. It’s highly specific about what actions will be taken during the project. Let’s say your project is to repaint the walls in a school cafeteria. However, you won’t be painting anything in the classrooms, nor will you be doing any remodeling aside from painting. These limits are what is defined in the project scope. If the project takes place within a certain number of square feet, that information should be included in the description of the project scope.
Now that the scope has been defined, the limitations of the project and the goals have shown the desired result, figure out how to get there. What steps will be taken in order to accomplish the project’s goals? After determining the plan, write the budget and timeline. This should include the budget for the entire project, not just the segment for which you are submitting a proposal (if the proposal is for only a part of the project). In the timeline, include every step of the project along with an estimation for when that step begins and ends.
Inform the client of what needs to happen directly after the proposal is approved. This could be planning a meeting to kick off the project or asking for information from the client. Always follow up with an email or phone call after a proposal has been approved and keep the client informed of the project’s progress.
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Proposals include roughly the same information each time, so the hard part is customizing the proposal for each project. Include every part of the proposal so that you can be professional, price projects accurately, and sign on more clients!