What I’m listening to: When We Were Young by Adele
A late post today. It’s raining here — exactly what we needed. But rain makes me want to curl up somewhere comfy and read. That’s actually on my agenda today. First, though, I have to outline a project and get my own project off the ground.
For a slow week, it was full of little busy things.
I was asked to provide a quote for a company (and it won’t ever happen — their reputation is awful), but it made me think about the job proposal process. Freelance writers are asked all the time for their rates or their suggestions – or both.
When it comes to freelance writing proposals, presentation is everything.
I formalize it all — quote? Yep. Detailed proposal? Absolutely. Yes, sending an email outlining everything works, but it does send a message to clients that you’re a bit more relaxed. Maybe too relaxed, depending on the company or client.
If you create a visually appealing proposal, clients will take you more seriously.
Why that matters: in my experience, clients argue rates much less often when they’re reading through a professional proposal. They may pick out points they want to change, but they don’t focus on the rate.
Plus, you’re able to outline the exact scope of work, the skills you bring to the project, and your value. Not bad for about 30 minutes of work.
Let’s tackle the two instances in which freelance writers would send a proposal of any kind. Let’s start with a project quote:
In my latest quote, I put the following info in it:
- Client name and address
- Project info
- Outline of areas I’d be working on, bulleted to show what I thought needed fixing (nothing too specific, particularly if it’s a new client)
- Fee estimate (and I list it as an estimate — don’t lock yourself into a rate if the work hasn’t yet been outlined in detail)
- Project terms and payment terms (including the payment prior to starting)
All of this goes in a document that has a formal header with my business name and the words “Project Estimate” as the subhead.
The other instance where you’d use a formal approach is the job proposal. Here’s what I do:
- Choose a Word template: I use one titled Services Proposal (Business blue design)
- Fill in your business info, changing fonts and colors as you see fit
- Create an objective statement – make it specific to avoid scope creep
- Delete sections that don’t apply, such as Executive Strategy, Rationale, or Resources
- Spell out the project deliverables specifically, including the timeline, benchmarks or delivery times, and pricing
- Include client responsibilities in the delivery timeline
- Include a Qualifications section that shows your experience in this area, the skills you bring to the job, and any related work history (separate the relevant experience in bullet points)
- Conclude by repeating the project in a brief summary written like you would a cover letter sign-off (“I look forward to working with XXX Company to augment your communications efforts….”)
Writers, how often do you give clients formal proposals?
When don’t you think it’s necessary?
How do you provide quotes, and how effective has it been?