Ask DN: Writing detailed proposals ... who does it?

over 8 years ago from , Designer | Developer | Made By Munsters

Over the past few years I have created countless proposals for clients and potential clients. I use to send a nice packet that contained information about the product, my background, a detailed list of features they requested and a price estimate. It took a while to write those and people didn't seem to read them. Recently, I have started to send one-page estimates. These contain features and the associated hours/price. It's not as flashy, but it seems to work just the same.

What are your thoughts on proposal packets vs. one-page estimates?


  • Marie PoulinMarie Poulin, over 8 years ago

    I tend to send something in between. I typically send a nicely designed 8-10 page proposal with the overview of the project, the process, project breakdown/scope, and terms. I don't go into any detail about myself or my background – it's very "aspirational" and "return on investment" focused. Everything about the document is written in very approachable language, and focused on answering the question of "why should I care?"

    In all honesty, the less detailed I am, the higher the budgets i've been able to acquire ($12-$15k for web design + strategy projects). At the point that i'm doing the proposal, it's merely a formality, and I already know that I likely have the gig.

    I make it a really great document to read; nothing unnecessary, just a focus on what our collaboration will/could look like. I find a 1 pager estimate doesn't quite capture that bigger vision, and doesn't get me those higher budgets.

    1 point
  • Chris CourtneyChris Courtney, over 8 years ago (edited over 8 years ago )

    I think it really depends on the project and whether there is a client relationship established already.

    Personally, I like to work with clients who will iterate on the proposal with me. This is key because timing is often a big driver regarding whether I can actually work with a client or not.

    Overall, I keep all documents close to a page and refer them to my site should they want to know more about my work. I suspect part of the reason that I am allowed to do this is that I have a body of work established and often know the client or someone has referred me to the client.

    Should you find yourself in a situation where you are pitching for a project, you should anticipate having to up the level of detail.

    Helpful? @designhawg

    1 point