Download Free Web Design Proposal

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.

Please feel free to download my “bare bones” proposal in Word and PDF format. You may like to amend it and use with your own clients.


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.

Web design

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.

Did this help you? If so, please share!

Download my 2 free e-books and 2 free MP3s on running an online business & getting clients

Plus a list of my 12 favorite resources for online business

two free books and two free mp3s and a list of favorite online tools


    • says

      Thanks, John. I was looking at yours from one of your website design business kits recently and they are super-detailed and awesome.

  1. says

    Hey Rob, got a few great ideas from your template.

    I normally like to include a brief explanation of what my service includes just as what it DOESN’T includes. This is just to protect myself from working endlessly in “little things” that were not considered in the beginning.

    Another thing I normally state in the time delivery is, the project will be finished in n-time assuming they have 100% of the material to be used and it’s in properly formatted for its use.

    In my first projects I had to work under many hats including photographer, writer, graphic designer, database expert, etc., and that’s certainly very hard to charge for if it wasn’t mentioned in the beginning.

    Anyway, great materials man, thanks for sharing!


    • says

      Hey Sergio, thanks for the comment and the tweet! Great point about mentioning what the project doesn’t include. I do that sometimes as well.

      Definitely you have to make sure the client knows what is expected of them.

      We’ve all made the mistake of doing too much on those early projects! Thanks :)

  2. Annette says

    Thanks Rob, that was really helpful. I will take onboard some of your ideas into mine.

  3. says

    fabulous! Love it!
    Simple, easy to read and understand.

    I often find my clients say to me, “I have no idea what you are talking about” – terms like backlilnking, bounce rates, even infographics – I’m speaking French to them! In a way, makes me look smart, which I am :) but, I need to give them something they do understand, so I’m working on my “Proposal Pitch Doc” too, maybe the two docs could be the same??? Or is this a doc to deliver “after the pitch” to wrap up the close and get the deposit. After each “pitch” I send a “Review of Meeting” email, which I find often triggers them to actually put money in my account, the Review email says: What we discussed, what we decided, and what is to happen next. It’s a beautiful passive aggressive closer… Takes the pressure off asking for money at the appt… I also put financial incentive to pay within 3 days… :)

    • says

      Hey Kate. I know about the problems of speaking to clients who aren’t au fait (there’s a bit of French for you) with our terms. You’ve got to always strike a balance. Great idea to incentivise early and prompt payments.

      Pitches, proposals and contracts, they’re all different documents but you can heavily borrow from the others to write one of them, if you know what I mean. :)

  4. says

    Thanks Rob! Perfect timing here too—as I just sat down to write up a web design proposal for a nonprofit and not an experienced web designer. I have been a print designer for over 15 years with only the last few in web and interactive. I’ve always done production schedules with what I need from clients upfront. Just in case, I have to remind someone that my deadline is theirs also. Kate made a great point too—always confirm the details of meetings, keeps it clean.

    • says

      It’s amazing how many people say “perfect timing” when I do a mailout. I guess it’s always going to be perfect timing for someone. I used to be a print designer too.

      Yes, there are client deliverables as well as designer deliverables. Yes, Kate’s point about getting it down in black and white after the meeting is key. :)

  5. says

    Great advice. I am also of the opinion that if you spend the required (detailed) time in the beginning with a potentially new client, the less aspirins, stress and headaches you get towards the end!

  6. Sylvester says

    Hi Rob, do you get the first payment BEFORE or AFTER you commence work on the home page?