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For freelancers, a time comes when you’ve got to submit a proposal if you’re to be considered for a job. Reaching this point means that, at least, the previous communication has been successful. With the request for a proposal, the excitement goes overdrive, especially if it’s your first big project. If you’re like the many other developers who’re not into the administrative end of things, this whole proposal thing might come forth as a stumbling block.

How do you go about it? Do you let a lucrative project go because of a mere proposal?

No way!

Just download a software development proposal PDF template and modify it for your needs. Because most of these templates already contain pretty much everything you’d need, relying on them is way easier than starting a new proposal altogether. Nevertheless, don’t just pick any template you come across.

Image Credits: typeset.io

Use the following tips to help you pick the right software development proposal PDF template.

1. Understand your client and their clientele

This shouldn’t be confusing. It’s all about knowing your client well. Understand their industry, the kind of business they do, the size of their organization, their current clientele, the number of their employees and the challenges they face. Also, get to know their target audience. This information will help you streamline the proposal to your potential client’s exact needs.

2. Describe the project

Whatever the software development proposal PDF template you choose, the description of the project must always be clear. Provide as much relevant information as possible and don’t be repetitive. Detail everything that the project would involve. Clarity is necessary as a way to forestall any potential conflicts. The information you provide in this section will also help you in creating a contract when you finally get to that point.  

3. Project members

Get to know who the members of the project are.

Most projects would typically have an overall project leader, the project architect, the project analyst-cum-tester, and you, the developer. For each and every project milestone, be sure to define each and every member’s role and the stage at which they come in.

Even though the client company will play most of these roles, each role must be clear to the project leader to give him a picture of what would be expected of him.

4. Features, deliverables, and timelines

Your potential client knows his expectations better than anyone else. So, he should provide as much pertinent information as possible in the software development brief. This information will act as your guideline when deciding the software features, as well as the deliverables and time-frame. If your chosen software development proposal PDF already has some standard features and deliverables spelled out, retain as much of them as are relevant to the project. These will help you in drawing the project timeline.

5. Software benefits in relation to features

Your client may not know so much about the benefits of the software he wants you to build for him except, of course, that it would solve the single biggest problem that pushed him to request for your proposal. But how great it would be if you get a good software development proposal PDF that also outlines additional benefits and how each of them would add value to your client’s business. As a freelancer, this is a challenge for you to look for other problems that the software will solve without limiting yourself to what the client mentioned in their software development brief. This part of your proposal could just be what convinces your potential client to award you the contract.

Image Credits: sampletemplates.com

6. Language, abbreviations, and proofreading

Never ever communicate with your client as if he has the same technical background as you. In your proposal, use a language he’d easily understand.

You can be sure that no client is going to give you a job based on a proposal whose content isn’t clear to him. The language used in your chosen software development proposal PDF template should be simple and free of software development jargons. Avoid using abbreviations like UI/UX, API, OS, RC, and MVP, among others. Don’t ever send a proposal with a swarm of typos and grammatical mistakes.

Image Credits: typeset.io

7. Write a convincing executive summary

At the very opening part of your proposal, your potential client must be wowed. Remember he’s probably receiving a ton of software development proposals from many other freelancers and may not have all the time to read all of them. Write the executive summary like it’s all the opportunity you have to convince the client. And most likely it is. In the executive summary, highlight what makes you stand out. Address the client’s problem head-on by clearly providing solutions to each element of the problem. How well you understand it, how you’ll solve it and why your way is the best way must be clearly communicated.

8. Answer questions one would typically ask

As you move deeper into the flesh of your software development proposal, answer as many questions as possible. Don’t just answer any question you can think of. Anticipate questions and address them individually and systematically. There are clients who literally don’t have the time to keep requesting for one piece of information after another.

9. Share your portfolio

As a freelancer, by the time you’re receiving a request for a software development proposal, you must have at one point in your career completed some related software development projects. These should be part of your proposal. For each project, express in simple and clear times why you did them, the problems they were expected to solve, whether or not they solved these problems, why you chose the programming languages you used, and why you believe they’re excellent, linking these to the predominant industry best practices.

  • Are they of good design?
  • Do they address user experience concerns?
  • What are their security features?
  • Are they using the latest technologies?

By showing your potential client the amazing designs you have done and providing explanations about their functions, you portray yourself as a master of your trade.

10. Share an implementation road-map

By the time a client is reaching out to you for a software development proposal, he already has an idea of what his problem is. Even though he may not know the exact time it’d take a freelancer to get the job done, he definitely has a period within which he’d like the project to be completed. This can be a source of conflict if you fail to explicitly state your timeline in your software development proposal and subsequently in the contract. One mistake you should never ever make as a freelancer is to give a false schedule just to win the contract. Instead, add a little more time on top of the time you need to drive the project to its logical conclusion. This will cater for any eventualities.

Image Credits: examples.com

11. Have a professional and appealing presentation

The overall presentation of your proposal must be appealing. Software development, as you already know, is incomplete without a good design. This attribute must be evident in your presentation. How you format your proposal, how you lace it up with images, and the kind of fonts you use all coalesce to tell a story about you. Your potential client is smart enough to look at the design and presentation of your proposal and perceive whether you’d be able to deliver a reliable software program. A good design could also give you an edge over other freelancers pitching for the same job.

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