What is the Client Proposal?
The client proposal sets out the work that you will complete the client, and how much you will be paid for this work.
This proposal outlines the scope of the work that you will be doing, how long it will take, what you will be paid, and any extra costs the client will have to pay.
When do we complete the proposal?
Preparing the client proposal is the next step after your client has filled out their questionnaire. I usually aim to get it back 2-3 days after the questionnaire had been fully filled out and I have enough information about the client requirements.
What is the purpose of the client proposal?
The purpose of the proposal is to:
- Set extremely clear expectations with the Client for the project
- Create a clear project schedule, which is to be signed off by your client
- Set out the timelines
- Set out your fee
- Outlines extras to your fee
- Set up clear communication channels with your client from the beginning
- Ensure that you are both on the same page with the plan for the website
Most importantly, it ensures that we avoid the dreaded scope creep.
Scope creep is when clients agree to a set of goals, but then start trying to push more and more work on you as you work on the project. Requirements are added, changes are requested halfway through, you are asked to scrap work you have done and start again. It happens slowly, but you soon start wondering what you signed up for.
Is it all worth it? Could I have charged more for this? Should I drop this client?
Scope creep is not a bad thing – if you’re paid for it! With the proposal, you lay out the work you will do along with your fee, and if your client adds new tasks then you update your proposal to reflect the extra cost and effect on the timelines.
How do I prepare a Client Proposal?
The good news is that I have a sample client questionnaire which you can use to base your future proposals on. I have included tips and advice in red, along with sample answers based on a proposal I have sent.
Save a local copy of this sample proposal, as you will all have viewing access only to this file. To do that, go to ‘File’ -> ‘Make a copy’. Rename it meaningfully (‘Client Proposal MyWebsite.com’).
Once you have filled out your proposal, share it with me so that I can see.
How to decide your price
When preparing a quote for a client, don’t think
- How many hours will I work?
- What are other people charging?
- What do I feel like I deserve?
Instead, do think
- How much value can I provide to the client?
- How complicated is the website?
- Number of pages
- Styling work involved
- Functionality required
- Urgency from the client
- How much earning potential does the website have?
Decide your base price
The first price you need to choose is the minimum price you will do websites for. For a premium developer this price will be different to a low end developer, so this rate will determine the type of clients you will get.
- Budget developers tend to focus on quantity over earning potential. They try to take many smaller, cheaper websites as they can and get them done quickly to maximise their earnings. They stick to a very similar pattern, and consistently create similar websites which are reliable, responsive, and stable.
- Premium developers focus on fewer, higher paid jobs. They pitch for jobs that are better paid and more work and aim to work with clients who make an income from their websites. They continually improve their skills and increase their price as they gain more skills and experience.
You need to decide the type of developer you would like to be, as this will affect your price. This course content is geared towards premium developers, but of you want to enter the budget developer field then you will have more than enough knowledge for this.
- To start, I suggest your price should start from around €1000-1200 for a website. Obviously more complicated websites will cost more, but you should stay around this price.
- As you create more sites and start to gain more skills and experience, raise your minimum price to €1,500, €2500 and so on.
- Raise your price each time you up skill and increase your skills and efficiency, which usually comes with completing a project or two.
Decide on the extra charges
On top of your base price, there can be some extra fees to charge. Decide the following rates:
- What will you charge per piece of functionality? (€50 / €100 / €200)
- What is your premium client tax? (will your client earn a lot from this site? add a % tax)
- What is your difficult client tax? (can you tell that your client will be difficult to work with or unresponsive? Make it worth your while)
- What is your ‘I don’t really want this job’ tax? (Sometimes we aren’t super interested in a job, again – make it worth your while)
Deciding on a deadline
Your proposal will also need to include the delivery date for the project. Think about these factors:
- How many pages and plugins are there?
- How much do you have to learn?
- How much functionality does the website have? (Testing)
- How responsive does the client seem to be?
- Is the content ready / is there an existing website?
- How much time does the client have?
- Always leave a buffer for things to go wrong.
- Buy Domain and Set up self-hosted website (0.5 days work)
- Research and choose theme (0.5 days)
- Implement chosen theme on the site and style with clients branding (1.5 – 7 days work)
- Set up booking calendar (1-2 days)
- Set up eCommerce section of the site. Add shop, products, payment, security to allow sales, and all eComm related tasks (2 days)
- Basic test of functionality (1 -2 days)
- Send website to client for feedback of design
- Implement any changes, enhancements (depends on work, allocation 1 – 2 days)
- Receive blog posts from client, add them to site (1 day)
- Send site to client for feedback of design and functionality
- Implement any changes, enhancements & test (depends on work, allocation 1 – 2 days)
- Website ready to launch.
Total: 19 Days
Buffer: 5 Days
Total: 24 Days
Tips for filling out your client questionnaire
Tip #1: Detail, detail, detail!
It is really important to add as much detail in the proposal as possible. Being vague in your proposal just invites in the possibility of your client adding work later, putting you under pressure.
For example, if you are adding a membership area you say:
“Adding a membership area to the site with three tiers of membership.
- Gold: $19 monthly: Video and image access for users, with content updated weekly by *client name*.
- Silver: $16 monthly: Video access for users, with content updated weekly by *client name*.
- Bronze: $10 monthly: image access for users, with content updated monthly by *client name*.”
If you just say ‘Add a membership section with multiple tiers’ – your client can decide halfway through that they want 8 membership levels with access to unique content for each, and it will be hard to push back on this.
Tip #2: Make sure you have all the information you need
Writing the proposal allows you to think about how you will implement the features and functionality that the client wants. Thinking about the website in this way can often bring up some questions that you don’t know the answer to – how many products do they want on their shop? There’s a big difference between 10 and 1,000! If they want electronic forms added, do these need a digital signature or will a checkbox do? Smaller details will come up that will make a difference to development times, so ask them at this stage.
If there is anything you are unsure of, clarify this before committing to anything on the proposal. Email your client right away and ask them to clarify certain points so that you can include this in the proposal.
Tip #3: Show Your Worth
On the final page, you will be writing out your quote for this project. Your job when writing the proposal is to show the client why you are being paid what you being paid.
Show the client that you:
- Have taken the time to understand their requirements (first page description and bullet points)
- Know what you are talking about (Description of each piece of required funtionality and how you’ll implement it)
- Are invested in the project (enhancements section)
- Are doing a lot of work (task list section)
When you are freelancing, the best way to get paid a fair amount is to show the value you are giving to the client. This switches the conversation from ‘Give me money’ to ‘Look what you’re getting’. You will be working hard on your websites, and the proposal is a way to show the client this.
It’s also a way to show the client that you are an organised, prepared and professional person to work with, who understands their needs and requirements.
Tip #4: Keep these things in mind when preparing your proposal
- Your time is valuable
- You are not being hired because you know how to do everything, but because you can find out how to do it and get it done.
- Things will inevitably go wrong, so always have a buffer
- Someone will always charge more or less than you for the same level of work
- Lots of your work will come through previous clients, so a basic website for a low paying client may just bring more low paying clients. Aim for profitable websites and stay in that niche instead.
- If you decide on a low price to start, make it clear you’re giving a discount. If the client recommends you to someone, you want that person to know they got a discounted rate and not expect to pay the same.