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I've been a freelancer for publications for over 10 years. In September, I put my toe in my local business community. I have one web designer who sent me a bunch of links to a website that he wants rewritten. It's all on the same topic, so he wants to consolidate the sites for a consistent flow. He requested a proposal from me.
My problem is that I have never written a proposal. I reached out to him for business and he gave this project to me as a possibility--depending on my proposal. Is a proposal like a query? And what should I consider before I write the proposal (questions to ask the web designer) and what should I include in a proposal? Is it just how much I charge for the project, etc.? Any advice would be appreciated!
February 11, 2010
There's no single way to write a proposal. It can be a formal document that you maintain a template for (like this one from GraphicRiver). Or it could just be an email.
Basically in a proposal you want to lay out the scope of the project, your terms (payment policies, limits on edit requests before other fees kick in, late payment fees, etc.), and you get their agreement on those terms. Think of it almost like a short-form contract. You tell them what you'll do, how much it will cost them, and then they sign off on the work (with a physical signature or even just an email confirmation). Basically you want to make sure you're on the same page up front instead of facing confusion later when you think you gave the client what they want, but they had something very different in mind.
As for questions, I'd just ask for clarification on anything I'm not sure about -- number of pages you're actually writing (as opposed to what's there now), does he expect any outside research or are you just working from the source material he's providing, etc.
Allena Tapia has a sample up on her About.com site with a simple layout you could use in an email, so I'd suggest checking that out too.
I hope that helps!
February 11, 2010
I will--but I'm wondering if my pre-proposal email scared him off…I haven't heard anything since Thursday, and I really need the answers to my questions before I can write a proposal. For right now, I'm sitting and waiting. I may shoot him an email later today and reminding him that I need his info before I can write a formal proposal. What's the normal protocol in these types of situations? Thanks~
February 11, 2010
I don't think there's anything wrong with a gentle reminder, especially if they wanted the proposal by a certain date. But beyond that, I'd just be ready and willing to walk away. If they aren't communicative now, I'd be concerned about the potential working relationship later.
Thanks, Lori. BTW: I posted a question on a few of Linked In's landscape groups about the need for writers. And I've gotten a good response both in the need for professional writers as well as some leads. I also went back through my articles and contacted people who I interviewed in the past. I may have one phone interview lined up for later this week to write some public relations copy. Just wanted to update you on some exciting things that are happening in one week after talking on this forum. Thanks again for your help!
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