5 Tips for Creating the Perfect Proposal


Having well-structured and accurate proposals can make or break any deal when working with a professional client. Your proposal sets the tone for your business relationship and gives your client some insight into your organization. However, a proposal that is is-conceived can end up hurting you down or even worse your client!

Because of this, I've made a checklist to help you make sure you haven't forgotten anything (don't worry, there are tips for clients too).

1) Have I outlined all the services I think are necessary for this project's success?

Your perspective: This is your chance to show the dimension of your services to your client. The more detailed you can be when describing your vision of the project and the services you plan on providing the more comfortable the client will feel with your proposal. At the end of the day, if you are trying to take care of them and explain how your services can help their business, it is a win for you and them.

Client perspective: You've maybe never done something like this before so it would be nice to know in advance what all is going to go into a full branding project. It's a big commitment, don't it lightly! Also, having all of the services out in front of you will let you pick and choose the ones you think make sense for your business.

2) Is my proposal set up as a Flat Fee or Retainer model instead of an hourly rate?

Your perspective: Your clients have a lot on their minds. They have an entire business to run, so the last thing they want to think about is the possibility of you running up a big hourly bill on them and charging them more than necessary. By proposing a flat fee or retainer, you are showing that you are flexible on payment and they'll know what they're paying.

Client perspective: You want to know what you are going to pay up front for the work you are receiving. Ideally, you are getting every service itemized with the number of hours and the total cost for that service up front. The more you know up front, the better.

3) Have I set a timeline for deliverables?

Your perspective: You probably have a lot of projects you are juggling and trying to complete within a reasonable timeline (for your client's sake). Planning shows your client that they are important to you and can trust you with their business (after all, that's why they hired you in the first place).

Client perspective: You want to plan your business strategies around project completion. Maybe you would like to leverage your new branding as an opportunity to wow investors or to show your clients that you are growing (and take the opportunity to thank them for their business).

4) Did I ask for a down payment?

Your perspective: If you don't require a down payment you are essentially allowing your client the opportunity to drag out project completion as long as they want. Because of this, you may compromise your design principals and start doing more things because a client says to do it instead of it being the right thing to do. On top of that, a client that will pay you in advance is not going to have any qualms paying for great work.

Client perspective: This may sound strange, but you want an agency who wants a down payment. Yes, that means you will be paying them up front for work they haven't done yet, but you want your agency to be confident when having suggestions for your business. Without paying them what they're worth up front, you can't be sure they are becoming yes men to appease you to get the project finished.

And the most important one of all ...

5) Do I know who my client's name and their businesses name?

(I'm saying this because I've made this mistake and it's the worst.)

Your perspective: Business is rarely just about your expertise. People typically hire and work better with people they can trust. If you are not making an effort to build a relationship with your client and are not taking time to get the simple things right (like their name and business name) how can they trust you to sweat the details for them? Everyone knows accidents happen, just don't let them happen again!

Client perspective: I'm paying you, you should know my damn name.

Start following these steps today, and you two will be on the right path to writing proposals that work for you and your clients.

Do you have any proposal tips you'd like to share? Feel free to share below!

Connect with Chris:

Chris Coles is the President and CCO of Dreamcapture Design. He loves  helping business owners develop effective branding and marketing  strategies for their businesses.

Chris Coles is the President and CCO of Dreamcapture Design. He loves helping business owners develop effective branding and marketing strategies for their businesses.

Do you have questions about how to go about branding or marketing your business?

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