It’s great when new client calls up. Sometimes I really fall in love with the potential site.
But, as always in business, it’s important not to get too emotional and to back up your enthusiasm with cold hard figures and a professional-looking web design proposal.
I’ve been doing a few of these recently so I thought I’d show you one and let you know some lessons I’ve learned about writing proposals.
Presentation and introduction
A good proposal can start with a friendly “thank you” for the opportunity to propose for the project.
What follows really depends on the nature of the job. A larger job may call for dramatic statements like “we recommend a complete redesign of the site from the ground up to place your company as a key player within your crowded market”. Other jobs, where a client has asked for specific functionality for example, call for more down-to-earth introductions.
But whatever the size of the job, it’s good for a proposal to start with the outline of a problem and a solution.
Clients like to know what to expect from their website visually before they commit. Otherwise it’s a leap into the unknown. So I like to say the following in the proposal.
We can mock-up the design of your home page first in a graphics program. This can be amended (up to 2 times) until you’re happy with it. If further revisions are deemed necessary this will be done at our hourly rate of $XX. (This is rarely necessary, but this will be discussed fully before any hourly fees are incurred).
Sometimes the client will be more focussed on the mobile device view in which case I’ll show them the smartphone visuals first. The way the site responds to different devices can be explained verbally and by a practical example of a site with a similar theme.
But it is always better to design and present to the client the website in Photoshop first as making structural or design changes later will be more time consuming. It is easier to move and re-size a graphic element in Photoshop than it is in HTML.
And, importantly, I specify a finite number of revisions. It is essential for you and the client to have focus at the design stage, otherwise you can both suffer from endless perfectionism.
Website functionality – consultant deliverables
This is the real meat of the document – the bit where you tell them exactly what they’ll get (and sometimes what they don’t get). This will be as a result of initial discussions between web designer/developer and client.
Put as much as you can in here so that the client understands the quality of the product you’re offering and the high value they will get from it.
Info needed – client deliverables
It’s not only the consultant that has to deliver; the client has to deliver too!
Usually with a website re-design, the client needs to provide details of the host and further login info for the backend systems. This can be a sticking point so it’s great to put this in the proposal.
Money and timeframes
When the client receives the proposal, they’ll immediately skip to this bit. The all-important price!
Make sure it’s a price that you’ll both be happy will. The web designer will usually like a half payment upfront and the rest on completion. The client will like to know the expected timeframes.
I like to send my proposals as branded PDFs using a nice font with the vector version of the company logo. Proposals in Word never look as nice.
It’s important to strike a balance between listing the benefits on one hand and keeping it short and simple on the other.
You can do it!
I would love to hear your experiences with proposals and how you’ve won fantastic client work with yours.