If you’re looking to scale your construction business, you’ll need to show results and present yourself—and your company—in the most professional way possible.
You already know you can do the first part. Let Bonsai help you with the rest.
Bonsai provides you with legally-sound templates for all your business needs–proposals, contracts, invoices and more.
What is a Contractor Proposal?
A contractor proposal–or construction proposal–is a formal document in which the outline of the proposed project is detailed and the resources needed are specified. This way, the project owner–a prospective client–can decide whether to move forward with the project or not.
In the contractor proposal, you need to show your company, the services you'll provide, and how the project managers will benefit from having you in the team or in charge of the project.
It's important to know that a construction bid proposal is different from an average contractor proposal. In the former, the company has already contacted you and given you their budget and overall plans. In the latter case, you are approaching them first.
Note: Get started with this free construction proposal template, and many more by signing up to the Bonsai platform today.
What to Include in the Contractor Proposal
Construction projects are lengthy and costly from the start. That’s why you need to put your best foot forward and provide all the necessary details about the proposal to make the project a reality! So, let’s get into the specifics.
You'll have to forget what your grandma told you; people do judge books by their covers–and so they do with proposals. First impressions are essential, and that's why you need a good cover page.
Make sure you’re placing all your contact details–and theirs–and that you’re using high-quality, relevant images.
Once you've caught your potential customer’s attention with your cover letter, you need to keep these prospects interested. The best way to do so is by letting them know who you are and what you do.
Many people think that the simplest way to win a bid or project is to show you can do it faster or cheaper than the competition–that could not be further from the truth.
To create a business relationship that will add value to both parties, they want to know you. They need to see who you are in the construction industry, what services you provide, and what your former clients say about you–this is a great opportunity to add some testimonials of your previous work.
You can also showcase some of your previous projects by sharing a few visual examples, high-level overviews, and clickable links of the work you’ve done–they can be big or small projects. Better yet, tailor them to your client’s project to help them visualize what you can achieve for them.
Make sure the About Us section is concise enough to let your client know you better without turning it into a self-praising booklet.
Scope of work
Now that your prospect knows who you are and what you can do, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of the project.
In the scope of work section, you need to give a detailed project description. This allows your prospective client to clearly understand what you will do, how you'll manage the project, and the aim of the construction. Providing great detail here will help you avoid disputes later on in the project.
What to include:
- Materials that will be used
- Construction documents, plans, and calculations to be delivered
- Quality of work expected
- Tests and certifications to execute
- Guarantees and annual inspections (and if they mean any additional costs)
- License and permit bonds
Once your client approves your proposal and you get a contract, you can use Bonsai’s scope of work templates to create a full SoW document for your project.
Every project manager wants to know the objectives and deliverables of a project. How will they know when each stage of the construction will be completed and when?
This element of the proposal is similar to the scope of work, but here you want to be very straight to the point so that if they want, they can quickly come to this section and have a visual of what working with you will mean.
As the name suggests, in this section you’ll present the project timeline. What are the milestones to achieve, and when are you expecting to reach them? Additionally, you need to detail all the other necessary parts of the process, such as approvals, permits, and construction stages.
It's also important to mention any expected delays and how you plan to address them. This shows that you understand construction doesn’t always go according to plan, and that you’re prepared enough to manage whatever comes your way.
Your client needs to see that you’ve really thought out their project and what it will entail for its successful completion. This way, they have a clear idea of when resources will be needed and how to measure if the construction is going according to plan.
Bonsai top tip: Make it visually appealing by using bullet points and bold letters. This way, your client has a strong mental image for your business and can sooner sign you up!
If raw materials are the basis for construction, pricing information is the basis for a proposal. You have already shown who you are, what you can do, and what you plan to do for your client;. now it all comes down to budget.
Giving the pricing of your services, the cost of materials, and all the relevant payment information like deadlines and payment methods is less of a headache for everyone if it’s done upfront.
Remember to be realistic and not underestimate your prices in an effort to look like an affordable option. If prospects hire you thinking you'll be the cheapest option, you might end up building a bad reputation for having gone above their budget. Especially in the construction industry where quality is king. In fact, higher-prices give consumers the idea that they are dealing with better quality, and lower-prices might actually repel them.
The clearer everyone is about the cost of the project and the money needed to bring the construction to fruition before signing any legally binding contracts, the better.
Bonsai Top Tip: Consider showing ‘alternate’ pricing packages. Let the prospective client see what you can do with different budgets. What could you achieve with cheaper materials? What’s the cost of the most expensive and higher quality materials you could use?
Terms and conditions
This is basically a draft of the future legally binding contract that both parties will sign. Here, mention the payment terms, any exclusions necessary, and what warranty you present beyond the terms already specified throughout this document.
This element of the project proposal brings peace of mind to both parties–or more–by clearly stating the legal ins and outs of the future business venture.
Here you’ll state the differences between contracting you as an independent contractor rather than an employee. An independent contractor brings many benefits like saving money on business employee taxes, health insurance, and retirement schemes. Make sure those are all specified here.
Note: If you want to know if you would rather be an employee or an independent contractor and what that would mean for your business, you can check this resource. Or, if you’re ready to sign the contract, you can check the free template that Bonsai has created to make your life easier.
The final call-to-action is the lasting impression they will have of you. Mention the steps if your potential client wants to start business with you.
Look professional, but also like someone who would be a joy to work with! Let your personality show in your final words, and encourage your client to get on a call with you, or to send an email agreeing to your proposal.
Be open to any questions they might have, and show how excited you are for building the project of their dreams.
How to Write a Contractor Proposal
Contractor proposals–also known as construction proposals–are a mighty document describing your project. Now that you know what the contractor proposal form should look like, what exactly do you need to do in order to nail this proposal and win this contract?
Let’s take a look:
Get straight to the point
Project managers are more concerned about what they’ll be able to build with you, not your flashy proposal. Ensure you’re providing all the necessary details for them to know what they’ll be paying for once they sign a contract with you, and how quickly they can expect to see results.
The proposal process can be a lengthy one, and project owners and managers will go through a whole lot of proposals before closing a deal. After all, the construction industry has the most independent contractors–a healthy 30%–this means you need to get straight to the point and make their decision-making process that much smoother.
Highlight what sets you apart in your construction bid proposal
As we just mentioned, 30% of the workers in the construction sector are independent contractors–that’s a lot of competition. However, you know that you are more like a needle in a haystack than a drop in the ocean, so show it. Show how you are different from the rest.
Let your personality and previous work experience shine through. Prove that you’re the missing piece in the puzzle of bringing their ambitious project to fruition.
Include a contractor proposal form
The contractor proposal form–also known as Prop-003–is a document completed by the contractor to receive consent from the project's owner to use specific materials and procedures during a construction project.
The contractor proposal form will specify all the characteristics, procedures, cost of materials, and labor necessary to complete the project. Any deviations from the specifics in the document throughout the project will need to be executed only upon written order and will mean an extra cost to the project owner.
The proposal form is only valid throughout the execution time of the contract. Once the contract has been finalized and signed by both parties the proposal form loses legal significance.
Creating a Contractor Proposal is Simple with Bonsai
As you probably noticed by now, writing a contractor proposal is no easy task. There are a lot of things that need to be included, let alone proofread to make sure you’re showing your best face and brand to your prospective client.
Bonsai’s construction proposal templates let you save time, present yourself in a professional way, all while you focus on doing what you do best: developing a project that will amaze clients and users!
Bonsai’s free proposal templates help you throughout the entire project from start to finish. In the Bonsai library you can find proposals, invoices, contracts, scope of work, and many more free templates for you to use.
Get your free construction proposal template
You can get started with Bonsai in just a few steps:
- Sign up free to Bonsai
- Choose the construction template you need
- Edit it to suit your client and personal brand
Fill out all the required fields and send your proposals to your prospective clients without even leaving the platform–all just a few clicks away.
Construction Proposal Template FAQs
Is the contractor proposal the same as a contract?
Although the proposal will have all of the information you need to build the contract, it is not the contract per se. The proposal, as its name suggests, is just the first step. Once the future client has read your proposal and both parties discuss some final points, the contract will be prepared and signed.
What should be included in a construction proposal?
Make sure to include the following sections in your construction proposal to ensure its success:
- Cover page
- About us
- Scope of work
- Payment information
- Terms and conditions
- Final CTA
By including all this information you are highly increasing your chances of signing a contract with them.