Creating proposals

If you have been invited to submit a proposal for a project you will need to detail how you would carry out work on the project in question.

Interview your client

Ensure you understand down to the last detail exactly what your client's objectives and requirements are. That includes everything they can tell you about the project and everything about how this project fits into the overall company strategy.

The proposal

Your proposal demonstrates your complete understanding of the client's requirements, your ability to satisfy that brief, and the action that you are going to take in order to deliver that requirement.

Summarise any points already covered with the client in an early paragraph. Explain any deviation from an approach already agreed with the client - and the reasons why - in a separate covering letter.

The proposal is intended to cover what, how, why, when and where of the project, so:

  • What is the proposal for?
  • How will you carry out the work?
  • Why should they use you?
  • When will you do it?
  • Where will you carry out the work?
  • How much will you charge?

Your proposal needs to be concise but persuasive. When costing out the work make sure you clearly specify how you are pricing the job. Some points to consider including:

  • Are you quoting by the hour or as a fixed price for the project?
  • Are you providing an estimate or a final quotation?
  • What does your cost cover?
  • How will you charge expenses to the client?
  • Are you asking for a deposit up front?
  • What are your payment terms?

When setting your price bear in mind the size of the company, their budget, the timescales (rush charges), complexity of the project, and the relationship with the client (if you reduce your fee for a smaller client that promises ongoing business, make sure you highlight the fact).

We'd recommend that only projects with very clearly defined requirements are estimated on a 'flat fee' basis - in these instances it is wise to build in a contingency element.

You may also submit your CV (or business profile), copies of testimonials or work samples where appropriate.

More on dealing with clients as a freelancer.