During a bidding process, it's critical to be able to lay out clear expectations and demonstrate you have what it takes to do the job. Regardless of the industry you're in, you need a well-written and effective bid proposal to increase your chances of getting hired for the project. This is usually the case for marketing or construction companies, however, there are a number of other professions out there that would highly benefit from adding a strong bid proposal to their onboarding process for new clients.
This doesn't mean you have to spend half a day writing your templates for construction proposals. Creating your own bid proposal template is not rocket science, and it can help you save a lot of time providing a clear structure to follow so you can only focus on the key details of the project. To help you create your template, we will talk about the vital elements that you must not miss.
Note: Use Bonsai's all-in-one product suite to get a professional bid proposal template, excellent follow-up tools, and a wide range of administrative software for accounting, invoicing and taxes. We help you save time so you can focus on your passion, not your paperwork.
Essential Elements of a Bid Proposal Template
Depending on your industry and the specific project you're trying to obtain, your bid proposal template will vary slightly. However, there are some basic aspects that stay the same. Remember in some cases, a proposal can be considered a legally binding contract, so you want to cover all the necessary details and be clear about project details. Any errors or omissions can lead to legal ramifications or disputes.
Let's go over the relevant information that all bid proposal templates should include.
If you want a client-winning proposal, you must make sure to catch their attention from the get-go. To do so, start with a cover page that quickly provides some background information about your business, highlighting your unique selling points. Include your company information such as name, phone number, email address, website, logo, and any other branding elements you consider appropriate (don't overdo it).
At this point you already did proper research and you know what your prospective client is all about, so as much as possible, try to make the design of the cover letter match their vibe. This can be a creative and vibrant design, or a more professional and down-to-earth one.
Your bid proposal needs to be accurate, error-free, signed by all parties, and it needs to identify all the parties involved and your client's details in order to be considered a legally enforceable contract. Include the full names, addresses and contractor information such as registration numbers, federal ID numbers (if applicable), as well as names of any participating salespeople.
The first section of your bid proposal template should describe the 'problem' you intend to fix. For example, if you are bidding to redesign a company website, you would provide your understanding of their current issues, or if it's a construction bid you would give details on the current state of the job site, and what areas need work. Next, briefly describe your proposed solution providing a project summary (you'll expand on the next section).
Scope of Work
The ‘scope of work’ section should receive the most of your attention because this is where you will spend the majority of your drafting time. This section of the proposal is by far the most important, therefore you should be as specific as you can. You should list the steps you will take, the supplies that will be utilized, the materials model and spec numbers, the colors, etc. Being vague and general in your scope of work puts you at risk of being forced to perform work that you weren't willing to accomplish or uphold a guarantee because the materials weren't specified.
Give specifics on the activities, key deliverables, and phases of the work that will be done as part of the project. Include all necessary equipment, labor, and materials. Don't forget to note any credentials required for the job, as well as information on annual inspections, bonds, and insurance. You may add a closing statement to clarify that the terms of the contract only apply to the goods, labor, services, and materials specifically mentioned in this section.
In this section of your bid proposal template, you want to provide an estimated cost and it should be extremely detailed, containing every possible expense. It needs to account for all direct costs, such as allowances, labor and material costs. Consider all of your indirect costs as well, including office rent and running costs. Don't omit anything because your clients will want to know exactly how their money will be used. You may want to use a budget proposal template.
You can also add a 'success criteria' to outline your project goals and how the costs previously discussed will help achieve such goals. This will make it easier for your clients to comprehend why each expense is necessary and to picture the completed job.
Any good business proposal includes a clear payment schedule which will not only help you keep a steady cash flow, but will also help your potential client make a decision based on their budget. Depending on your state's legislation, you may be able to request a deposit equal to a particular percentage of the project's overall cost. After that, you'll need to estimate the cost of each phase of the project so that you can create a detailed payment schedule.
Normally, you'll use the deposit to cover all costs associated with the work, including materials, labor, and dumpster rental fees. Each payment after that ensures you'll have enough cash on hand to pay the employee or subcontractor in full. Specify if you expect to receive payment on certain dates (and what percentage you will be asking for), or if you will issue invoices as the established milestones are reached.
It is crucial to your prospective client to see a project timeline, especially if you're bidding on a construction project. Remember they often have to plan around renovations, make arrangements for a different office, or arrange their schedule. Include the estimated start date for the work and the projected completion date, as well as when milestones should be achieved (when one phase ends and the next begins).
Additionally, you can mention the expected dates to obtain easements, permissions or approvals, as well as establish who will be accountable for delays depending on the reason for the setback.
In addition to outlining a scope of work, you can consider finding alternatives that could increase the project's value, or decrease project expenses through value engineering. A great way to do this is by offering a couple of packages utilizing different budgets and showing your potential client what you could do with more affordable/expensive materials, as well as other design ideas you might have.
This is a great way to highlight the services you offer and demonstrate how your proactiveness can be of benefit to the project. Of course, be mindful of the type of client you are trying to get and try to offer alternatives only to those who don't have very strict project specifications.
Call to Action
Finally, your bid proposal template must include a section for a strong call to action that urges your potential clients to contact you in case of any doubts, or accept your proposal. Include all of your contact details and clear instructions on how they can sign the proposal and send it back to you. This can easily be done using an online signature to streamline all the formalities and start the project as soon as possible.
Additionally, stating that you want to contact them again (follow-up) shows that you are serious about your proposition. So that they can anticipate your call or email, let them know exactly when you'll get in touch with them again. This simple addition can increase your chances of getting a response.
Create Perfect Bid Proposals With Our Free Templates
Writing a great proposal template doesn't have to become a headache. If you don't have enough time, or are still not sure about how to structure your template, simply download Bonsai's free bid proposal templates. You can fully customize every aspect of the template to fit your business needs, catch your client's attention and help you land the job. Additionally, you can add different pricing packages to your final bid proposal to increase the chances of getting accepted.
Once you send out your proposals, we help you follow up by providing instant notifications when your prospective clients receive and accept your offer. Plus, with our online signature addition, they can accept the proposal within the document, helping you speed up the process and get started right away. Get your free proposal template today!