How to write a project proposal: Expert advice for freelancers

How to write a project proposal: Expert advice for freelancers

Irene Kalesi
Irene Kalesi

Arguably, the business market is a wild world. Competition is relentless. So, professionals should find ways to secure their chances of getting a job. Freelancers that have been around for a long time know it firsthand, and newcomers come to realize it soon enough. The best method of increasing the likelihood of getting more clients is to learn how to write a freelance project proposal. With a strategic approach and planning.

In this article, we will provide you with the optimal components needed to structure a freelance proposal. Starting from project research to the necessary follow-up email. In addition, we will identify the pre-submission groundwork essential to the acceptance of your freelance bid by potential clients. But first, let’s begin by answering some initial questions.

What is a freelance project proposal?

A business proposal is a freelancer’s opportunity to present a solution that could meet the client’s demands. By writing a freelance project proposal, an independent contractor can highlight their relevant capabilities and offer some extra ideas appropriate to the project and the client’s industry. Basically, it’s all about what you can do for them and not your skillset in general.

What should you do prior to writing a freelance project proposal?

First and foremost, when you contact the prospective client, try asking questions that will help you structure your proposal. By gaining insight into the purpose of a project, you can provide your client with answers to questions that are crucial to them.

After the initial contact and before assembling the freelance project proposal outline, you need to do some research into your client’s business. In that way, you will understand the project’s requirements and the overall scope. Consider visiting their website, and checking out their social media to get a feeling about their brand. Of course, you should study prior projects, successful campaigns, and milestones in their company’s trajectory.

Regarding their current project, you need to grasp its meaning, and its particular requirements and see how you can contribute to its successful delivery. This means that you need to pair your strengths with the project’s tasks while figuring out ways to add value or enhance your client’s working processes. Your ultimate aim should be to have a clear understanding of the project and the client’s background to cater to their business needs with professional confidence. In just a phrase, you should be one step ahead of your client by providing solutions to the problems they haven’t shared with you.

The fundamental pieces of writing a freelance project proposal

State all the basic information about the project

Never forget to include at the beginning all the necessary information about the project. List its name, the client’s company name, address, and VAT number. You could also include the client’s number and a proposal number for filing and finance purposes. This way, the client and proposal will be easier to keep track of, especially if you are using invoicing software to generate and organize your estimates.

Focus on the scope of the project

We’ve established that a first introductory call, between you and the client, is a wise choice. During that conversation, you should be able to understand the project, its goals, what kind of services, and what kind of professional is needed.

Therefore, it would certainly help if you started with a short description of the project’s major and minor objectives. Then, you could match those objectives with the scope of the project. In reality, this approach will present you as an experienced professional, who knows how to do your job.

Offer a clearly outlined working process

There is nothing more important for a promising beginning of new business collaborations than transparency and reliability. That’s why it would be advantageous to include a timeline of the stages that you will go through from planning to delivery.

You can even set specific time periods for each phase. This way, you propose a delineated plan with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your clients will be prompted to hire you since you offer a complete solution and you will have a working compass to follow throughout the project.

freelance - project proposal phases

Let’s take a look at the above example of a project outline. For example, a graphic designer working on a freelance proposal for a company’s website rebranding could create a working plan along these lines. Each phase has a different set of tasks fulfilled in a specific order. The client will know their involvement in the working process since feedback sessions to evaluate the progress and outcome are set to occur in phases 3 and 4. As you can imagine, the first stage is critical to avoid misunderstanding and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Let your project proposal speak for you

Show your clients that you are not a professional robot but a designer, consultant, software developer, writer, or marketeer of many skills and strengths. Therefore, you should mention related abilities you have showcased in previous projects. This way, you will radiate experience and provide security to their potential clients.

Name your prices and payment terms

Before sealing the deal with a client, you should give them all the possible options you have available. Different price packages can provide a client with alternatives. For example, they could choose between basic, advanced, and premium packaging. Naturally, all three of them come at different prices and with added services as the plans get more expensive.

If the project under discussion is multilayered, then you may need to be explicit about all the different phases and tasks to justify the total amount asked for the project. Payments in advance or installments would also be helpful for long-lasting projects.

Set your conditions

Since payments in advance and installments were mentioned above, it’s time to talk about payment terms and other conditions. Conditions such as payment ways, copywriting claims, and extra fees. By establishing them, you can be more certain about the validity of the agreement. Your client will also feel more secure that the job they will assign you will be completed properly. Of course, you should never leave anything to fate so the use of a follow-up email will be highlighted below.

Additional action

Last but not least, never forget to send a follow-up email after submitting the proposal. A well-structured proposal will make the right impression, but you should also be prepared to test the waters. Thus, a follow-up email is essential. It shows your interest in the project but also works as a reminder to the potential client.

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