Every client does it. They compare proposals. This page will teach you how to stand out against other freelancer proposals using a simple but effective freelance proposal template.
Writing quality proposals is super important to win client work. It not only determines how much money you make, but it sets the stage for details like how you will work and what the client can expect.
In addition to outlining your work process, this is also your chance to discuss your terms and conditions, what your pay rate is, and other details to prove you’re the best person for the job.
In fact, we teach how to create an irresistible offer from scratch using real market data (like analyzing RFPs) in my new course Endless Clients.
So if you aren’t getting results sending the same old proposal, or you’re the type of person who always writes every new proposal from scratch (time-consuming!), sign up here to get notified about when the course opens back up.
First, I’m going to show you a simple, yet effective method to write an amazing proposal for any project. Later in the post, you’ll get a word-for-word templates for increasing the chances a client chooses you above everyone else.
The process of writing a proposal begins when you find a project brief, job posting, or request for proposals online. This goes for six-figure RFPs to tiny Upwork proposals.
These documents will outline what the client is looking for and what the budget is. They might also dive into what problems have already been encountered, and what solutions have been considered by the client.
Before you submit your proposal, be sure to read through the application instructions carefully. You’ll want to hit all of the client’s requirements to prove that you pay attention to detail.
Then, it’s a matter of creating your proposal by making a document outlining your company’s requirements, before submitting it according to the client’s instructions.
Always remember that the client will probably end up receiving a lot of proposals. They’ll need to pick the best one, so your goal is to make yours outstanding.
A freelance proposal template can come in handy when it comes to submitting proposals. Here’s why:
Remember, you won’t win every single project that you apply to. In fact, you might only land one project for every 30 proposals that you send. Just be diligent and strategic to make this as simple and efficient as possible.
If you use the freelance proposal template that’s included in this post, you’ll find that it’s 50-100% faster to create a winning proposal!
The harsh reality is that most people don’t really know how to write a proposal for work. What they usually end up doing is merely submitting estimates. This isn’t the way to win more clients and projects.
While an estimate is focused on price, or what you want to get paid to do the work, a proposal will focus on what the client will get if they hire you. It explains why it’s important to choose you rather than someone else.
Bottom line: if you send a true proposal, you’ll be more effective than 90% of your competition!
The freelance proposal template that’s included in this article is the result of carefully analyzing thousands (yes, thousands!) of RFPs and proposals so I could gather the most effective tips to help you succeed.
This might come as a bit of a surprise, but, when it comes to what you should include in your proposal, the answer is: as little as possible.
That’s right, you want to keep your proposal short and sweet.
Well, it isn’t just less work for you (short proposals take less time to create), but it also helps boost the odds that the client will read it. After all, who wants to sit and read a long proposal, especially when you’ve received so many?
The most important thing is to focus on making it easy to create your proposals. That’s it!
And that’s why this template that I’m sharing with you uses a few common proposal requirements that you can use as a base to work from.
Remember to carefully read through your client’s requirements. Then, remove anything from the template that isn’t relevant to that client’s needs.
In other words, you’ll have a template to start with, but the information that you’ll ultimately include will depend on the specific RFP or client. Always refer to the RFP for the proposal requirements for every specific project you hope to grab.
Here’s a list of the most common requirements that clients expect you to fulfill, and a brief explanation of what they are:
This is a short letter that introduces who you, and your company, are.
Here’s an example:
“Dear Hiring Manager,
I’m excited to apply for the [name of project]. Because of my education and training at [list schools where you’ve received degrees and certifications], as well as my work experience at [list companies you’ve worked for], I can complete this project in a timely fashion. And I also feel that my attention to detail, organizational skills, and ability to meet deadlines will ensure that I’m a great fit for this project.
At [your business], I’ve been working as a [your position] for [number of years], and my past clients have included [list of most impressive clients]. My biggest accomplishments and awards include [list awards of recognition].
For this project, I can provide you with [list the skills and tools you’ll use, and what you will deliver].
Thanks for your time, and for considering me for this project. I hope to learn more about it.
Next, you’ll want to discuss what problem the client is currently experiencing.
For this, you can follow a general format that includes the following headings: Problem, Background, Relevance, and Objectives.
Here’s what to include in a problem statement:
The next step is to outline what you’re proposing, in general, and why you’re proposing it.
In other words, you’ll want to discuss what you’ll be doing on the project. More specifically, you’ll provide the objectives for the project, along with deliverables.
In this part of the proposal, you’ll discuss the boundaries around what will and won’t be included in your project. Be specific here.
This can follow a format that includes the following: Deliverables, Timeline, Milestones, Reports.
So, for example, if you were writing a proposal for a writing project, your deliverables might be a list that includes your outline, first draft, second draft, and final draft. Your timeline might include specific dates on which the outline and each draft would be submitted. The milestones might specify what content is completed in various stages. And the reports section might outline how you’ll communicate with your client to keep them informed of your progress.
This is a statement that discusses what the client will get out of working with you. Again, you should identify the problem, along with how you’ll work to resolve it by the end of the project.
Here’s an example of a benefits statement:
“My team of writers has more than 20 years of combined experience in creating content for small business clients. We can help you convey your brand’s personality and ideas so that people relate to your products and services in new ways that will generate higher sales by the end of this year.”
Before you write your proposal, you’ll need to figure out how much you’ll want to get paid for the work, based on what you need to put into it in terms of hours, labor, and tools and supplies.
This is where you’ll discuss how much the project will cost, and you might even want to separate this into line items that the client can select à la carte.
Sometimes, a project fee might be as simple as your labor. So, for example, if you think a project will take you 10 hours to complete, and you want to be paid $50 per hour, the total cost for the project would be $500.
The call to action is how a client can get started. This should be a simple way that the client will get in touch with you to get the ball rolling.
For example, you might write: “To get started, contact me at [phone number] between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday. You can also email me anytime at [email address], and I’ll get back to you promptly.”
Your terms and conditions should also be included in your proposal. These will outline the following:
Let’s say you’re working on a writing project, as we mentioned above in other examples. In that case, your terms and conditions might look something like:
“Fees will be paid from [client’s name] to [your name] via direct bank deposit at the end of each month from [date] to [date]. Each month, [client] will submit a payment of [amount to be paid] to [your name].
After the full project fee has been paid to [your name], all content produced will be given to [client] for use on the [company name] website. [Client] has full rights to the content, and becomes the sole owner upon full payment of the project.
This agreement will become effective when all involved parties have agreed to the terms and provided a signature. This agreement is the only agreement between [your name] and [client] regarding the items in it.”
This is where you and the client provide signatures to agree to start the project.
There should be two signature lines – one for you and one for the client.
A signature line basically looks like this:
This is a lot to take in, I know. But, what are the things that you must have in your proposal when you want to keep it simple?
Whether your proposal is just 1 page long or 50 pages long, be sure to answer the following:
If you want to make sure you can land more clients with your proposals, be sure to do the following:
My next article is going to cover how to find RFPs (requests for proposals). To make sure you get it, sign up for my newsletter using the form at the bottom of this page.
If you don’t want to wait, you can also sign up for the Endless Clients waiting list. It’s my training program on how to find 10+ $10,000 projects and RFPs in less than 30 minutes anytime you want. It’s currently closed but by signing up you’ll get notified when the next spot opens up.
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