Proposal preparation

Proposal preparation – How frustrating!

Drafting a written proposal can be a very unrewarding task. The time you need to write a quote will not be paid. Depending on the inquiry, it is questionable whether it will be completed at all. The more often offers are rejected, the more frustrating this task becomes. However, frustration during the proposal writing is a bad prerequisite if you also want to convert promising job requests into orders. What you can do to avoid the frustration of quoting is explained in this article.

Why is the preparation of the offer so time-consuming?

Let us take a brief look at the customer’s environment. In the case of classic purchases of goods, the customer decides how many units of a product are required. For example, if the customer wants to furnish an office, he orders 3 chairs, 3 tables, 3 computers, etc. In contrast to products, individual services are not standardised. Quantities such as time spent and the quality of the results vary more with services than with products. When selling individual services, we, as the quote maker, have to decide how many hours are needed to achieve the result desired by the customer. For example, online shops can easily automate the task of quoting, while we freelancers have to create almost every quote individually. Besides, we have to provide the customer with good arguments for the calculated time expenditure, because he can rarely estimate how long a corresponding implementation will take.

How much effort for the written offer?

Often you can tell from the wording of the inquiry whether the customer is seriously interested in your service or not. If I do not see any serious interest in the inquiry, I will not send an offer. I prefer to invest the time I have gained in offers for more promising orders. The preparation of offers for more extensive projects can take several hours. Especially if you buy additional services and are also dependent on offers. For frequently requested services I have compiled a small catalogue of services in which prices and descriptions are provided.

How do you recognise serious job requests?

At the beginning of a freelance job, it is difficult to distinguish good from bad job requests. You really want to take every opportunity to get jobs. After a few months of experience, this is much easier. In the meantime, I have established a few rules that help me to decide whether to make an offer or not.

I’ll make an offer if,

  • the inquiry comes from a company with which I already have a positive business relationship
  • the inquiry refers specifically to my range of services, and the customer has a concrete idea of the project implementation
  • the cooperation offers me great opportunities for personal and business development

I’m not making an offer if,

  • I do not recognise any appreciation of my work from the inquiry, e.g. through ridiculously small budgets
  • the cooperation does not offer me any new opportunities for further development, and at the same time, the budget is only mediocre.
  • I understand that the request is only intended to submit an offer without any serious intention to commission*

* particularly in the case of clients in the public sector, which generally have to invite three tenders to be allowed to award a contract. In some cases, there is a service provider who is to carry out the contract in advance. In order to meet the requirements for the award of the contract, two additional tenders are then obtained without any intention to award the contract.

Conclusion: Proposal preparation

While at the beginning of the freelance activity, you’ll be writing a proposal for almost every inquiry, you should try to find out as soon as possible which inquiries are really promising. The focus on the promising inquiries makes you more efficient, happier and finally more successful.

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