Congrats! You've just gotten a job lead that could turn into your #bestprojectever. Both you and the client are excited to work together and the air is chockfull of potential. Now, how do you keep that momentum and translate that happiness into a proposal that doesn't make your client run far far away in the opposite direction? Insert our super simple guideline for creating a killer design proposal that's sure to get you hired (or at least give you a better chance at avoiding the #bestprojectthatneverwas).
5 Steps to Creating a Killer Design Proposal
Step 1 Down to Basics
The very first thing you should establish is your logo, business name, your client's name, and everyone's info at the top of the page. This includes address, phone number, email address, and website if applicable. Basically, it says "I know how to get a hold of you and you know how to reach me." Don't place any information on the proposal that you don't want your client to use for contact.
Step 2 Let's Get Personal
Proposals = numbers = money which is why they tend to have an icky vibe before your client even opens them. Do them a favor by reminding them that you are a human being who cares about them (as another human being) and leave all numbers off of page 1.
Instead, use most of Page 1 as an opportunity to write a personal letter thanking them for the opportunity and reminding them how excited you are at the chance of getting to help them. In addition, explain why you may have chosen certain services over others based on the needs they described in your first meeting.
A proposal is just another way to explain how you can help your client by clearly listing your services and the costs associated.
Having trouble sounding like yourself and the professional version of yourself at the same time? This article may help.
Step 3 Define the Project
At the bottom of the page, write a small project brief that describes the initial scope and what you're trying to achieve with this proposal. This is a great place to insert project goals and make note of any roadblocks you're hoping to help clear for your client. If anything, jot down any specific issues or struggles your clients mentioned during your initial consult so that they know you listened.
Step 4 Draw It Out
Page 2 will primarily be a well-organized list of your services / packages with descriptions, quantities, and costs associated. Using a simple spreadsheet with dividers of each line item helps keep this legible. At the bottom, be sure to tally a "grand total" so the client doesn't have to think twice.
If you're offering a friends/family discount or throwing in a service for free, include it in your itemized list with its normal cost and clearly illustrate the discount they're receiving. For example, if you're a graphic designer throwing in a free business card template for Uncle Joe, write "1-sided Business Card Template Design, $125.00 (draw line through cost), FREE".
Make sure your clients, friends, and family always know the true value of what they are getting by showing the full price and clearly showing their discount.
Step 5 Fine Print
Use the final page as a way to answer any financial questions. If you're charging your client with an automated payment schedule, break down the full project in sections with each payment clearly defined. Let them know how and when they will be billed and what happens if they don't pay on time (or at all). Do you offer a grace period? Will there be late fees?
Additional things to consider are any usage rights or technical information that pertains to your work. If you're designing a logo, does the client receive all live files and have unlimited usage or are there restrictions? Don't let anything be a guessing game when it comes to money getting in your bank account.
And that's it! Have a colleague or trusted friend read through your proposal for any typos or edits. This is crucial. After sending, allow your client 3 days to respond before shooting a (quick and friendly) follow-up email to ensure they received the proposal.
Happy proposing, friends!
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