Proposal Creation Best Practices
The days of long format explanations with single/total pricing for a scope of work are dead. Detail it out, price via quantity or volume, and price via line item. It allows you and the client to have a clear understanding of what is and is not included. Allowing them to compare apples to apples with your competition or realize you are including more than your competition and also allows you to manage change orders more transparently. (Hey client it clearly says we included 3 outlets and you are asking for 5 total so you are going to have to pay for those 2 additional) it may be small in the grand scheme of the project but if that happens 1-3 times per project throughout the year you will get crushed.
CHANGE ORDERS MAKE OR BREAK YOUR MARGIN!!!
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM JUST SET PROPER EXPECTATIONS UP FRONT AROUND WHAT IS AND IS NOT INCLUDED SO THERE ARE NO GRAY AREAS!!!
- Make it professional.
- Have your logo, your business name, address, phone number, and email address I the header (I can’t tell you how many times I have worked with someone and their proposal did not have their contact info on it and I promise you it frustrates the shit out of the client when they need to eat in touch with you and its not on the document you sent them to review to determine if they wanted to hire you or not)
- Have the clients name and address
- Make it organized and easy to read
- Put it in the customer lingo. Do not use construction terms and cost codes in the proposal
There are many applications like builder trend, job nimbus, and many more that allow you to save items and pricing and customize the proposal in the application but it is also not difficult to build a word document or excel file or PDF that does the same thing if you don’t have the budget for a CRM or business Management software.
Those are the basics. What will differentiate you is outlining, defining, and presenting the proposal to the client. This is not always possible in person so I always suggest use the body of the email to talk them through the proposal, how to read it, what each item means, what is and is not included, where you made some assumptions especially when if your assumption is wrong it will impact the price (IE we assume this wall is non load bearing, if the engineering report says otherwise there will be a price increase of approx. $5,500) as an example.
Clients will make their own assumptions of how they are perceiving, interpreting, and understanding your proposal. And many of us do it differently which adds to the client’s confusion. So, I type it all out just like I was presenting it to them in sentence format in the email.
This helps them understand it as well as gives you something to refence later down the project when they pull the old fashion “you never told me that” shit that some clients like to pull….