Designers, whether they are freelancers or work for large marketing firms, must know how to sell their services to potential clients. This is usually done in the form of a proposal, which a potential client requests. Sometimes the client is requesting a proposal for their general design needs and at other times they may have a specific project in mind (such as a redesign of a website.) Whatever the client's needs, a design proposal is needed in order to bid for the project.
Write a description of your impressions of the company to which you are pitching your work. This is called the executive summary, and it should be no longer than four paragraphs or one page.
Describe the client's current situation. For example, if the client is asking for a proposal for a website redesign, this is your opportunity to explain what could be improved upon with their current website.
Describe the client's target audience. This can be discovered through research on the potential client. Is their current website design fresh and youthful, or is it more staid and professional? Take a careful look at all current marketing material in order to get the best understanding possible of the potential client.
List the goals and milestones that you plan to achieve while completing the project. Make this as specific as possible while leaving wiggle room for when you are awarded the project and have a more detailed understanding of what it entails.
Provide a detailed account of the expected project budget. Additionally, break it down into bill-due dates. If you have a policy regarding stopping work due to nonpayment, put that in this section. Make this section as explicit as possible so that there is no chance of confusion on the part of the client.
Write a strong, concluding paragraph that neatly summarizes the information you have provided. It should be similar in feel and length to the executive summary.
If you are a part of a larger company, include biographies of the key players of your firm. Focus on the biographies of your colleagues who will have a direct hand in working with and for the potential client. Include contact information.
Create a colorful cover page for your proposal, one that suits the client's business.
Get all proposals neatly printed and bound so that they appear as professional as possible.
Some clients have specific requirements for their proposals. Be certain you go over all bid requirements prior to delivering your proposal.
Never acquiesce to a client who requests sample work for their business prior to signing a contract with you. You run the risk of not being paid for the work you do for this client. It's better to cut your losses and run if this occurs.