As a web designer, your ability to bring in new customers depends on your ability to write successful web design proposals. But you can’t afford to spend three or four hours perfecting every proposal. You need your time to actually build websites – and a web design proposal template can give you this time.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to create a web design proposal template that you can customize for individual clients in a matter of minutes.
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Why you should use templates for your web design proposals
Creating a web design proposal template is one of the easiest ways to simplify the proposal process. Every pitch needs certain elements: an evaluation of the problems your design will tackle, a list of goals for the project, a detailed timeline showing each phase of the project, and the associated cost.
Placing these elements in a web design proposal template offers several advantages:
- All the information is in one place – You don’t have to re-type anything or open a dozen different files to pull information about various aspects of your design process.
- Offers and prices are consistent – Your template will include a list of all your services, along with the cost of each individual service. This means you don’t have to worry about pricing everything out for every job – the base prices are already there. You only need to modify them if you’re working with an unusually large website.
- Templates are an opportunity to show your design skills – Designing an eye-catching template that displays your company’s personality will help potential clients connect with your company on a more personal level. It’s also a subtle way to show your customer your technical skills.
- You can personalize templates in a few minutes – There will be certain obvious areas where you can personalize every template: the client’s contact information, the problem statement, the goals statement. A few quick tweaks will make your template the ideal proposal for your potential client.
In short, use web design proposal templates to expand your business and reduce the number of hours you spend on individual proposals each time.
At first, it would take us weeks to get a proposal off to a client, but now we can literally do one in a few minutes. We realized that a significant part of the delay was not knowing where to begin on the proposal, or if what we were putting on paper would be what prospective clients were looking for. After researching online and looking at competitors’ proposals, we were able to create a base template that we would tweak and alter until we found one that worked.
How to build your web design proposal template
A successful web design proposal template must include the following elements:
- Introduction – Explain who you are and some basic details of your company. Include a basic, easy-to-read overview of your services.
- Problem statement – A full page dedicated to explaining your client’s problems in detail.
- Goals/proposed solutions – This page will share the goals of your web design project, with a focus on the specific solutions you’ll implement.
- Standard package breakdown – This breakdown will provide more detailed information about your standard web design package.
- Extras – A comprehensive list of the extras your clients can purchase in addition to the standard design package.
- Testimonials – Place at least three testimonials from clients on a separate page, and attach screenshots of the websites you designed for those clients. You may want to change these every 6-12 months to reflect your recent work.
- Next steps – This section should outline how your client can proceed if they’re interested in working with you.
- Terms and conditions & signature page – This outlines confidentiality, rights to the work, and how you will work with the client. Putting your contract in the proposal makes it easy for clients to sign up for your services right away.
Today we’ll show you how to create each of these elements for your web design proposal template.
Your introduction is the simplest part of your web design proposal template, but that doesn’t make it any less important. It reinforces your company identity, displays your knowledge of your client, and reminds them why they contacted you in the first place.
A proposal introduction should be formatted similarly to a business letter, and must include several standard elements:
1.1. Your company name and logo
This is one of the easiest forms of branding, yet many newbie designers forget to include it in their web design proposal template. A design proposal is an official company document, and it should look like one. Showing off your sleek logo also reminds your potential clients of your overall aesthetic.
1.2. Your company contact information
Your potential client might already have your contact information, but it should still be listed directly under your company name and logo. This serves two purposes: it makes the proposal feel more like an official document, and it makes contacting you easy if the client likes your proposal.
1.3. The client’s name and potential contact information
You want to create space for this in your web design proposal template below your own contact information, formatted similarly to a business letter. Ideally, you should use the full name of a specific person at a company, rather than the company name.
1.4. A problem statement assessing the client’s specific concerns
This paragraph will demonstrate your understanding of your client’s needs. You can put a generic problem statement in your template, or you can simply leave a space for it; this is one of the areas that should be heavily customized for each proposal.
1.5. A brief overview of your company and the services you provide
In no more than two paragraphs, describe your company’s experience and the services you offer. Position your services and experiences as a way to address your client’s problems. This will make it easy for potential clients to evaluate your overall services and decide whether or not they want to consider the full proposal.
You will want to customize this area for each client, but including a generic paragraph in your template is a good idea. This makes it simple to modify for individual proposals.
1.6. An overview of the rest of the proposal
Provide a bullet-point list of each section of your proposal, including their respective page numbers. This demonstrates your organizational skills and makes it easy for the client to decide what to read first.
1.7. Your signature
Your proposal introduction should be able to stand on its own as a business letter. Sign off using a traditional farewell, such as “best regards”, and add your signature to the document.
In total, your template introduction should be no longer than 3-4 paragraphs.
💡 How to customize this section of the proposal: The introduction will be one of the most heavily customized sections of the proposal. For starters, you’ll want to enter the correct contact information and name for each individual client. You’ll also want to alter the problem statement to address each customer’s individual concerns and modify the description of your services to focus on solving those specific issues.
2. Problem statement
On this page of your web design proposal template, you want to expand on the information provided in your introduction. Like the introduction, this section will be heavily customized in each proposal, but there are a few things you can include in your template to make the process easier.
Start with one paragraph describing your typical client and the problems they face. You’ll customize this for individual proposals, so stick with only the most common issues.
Here are some examples of problems you might want to include in your web design proposal template:
- Increased competition online, resulting in lower traffic
- Failure to keep or convert mobile traffic
- Low ranking in search engines
Your own list should be based on the problems you’ve frequently addressed for clients in the past.
💡 How to customize this section: The majority of your clients might want similar things, but as individual business owners, they have individual needs. If they bring up an uncommon problem, or you notice an issue that isn’t mentioned in your template, add it to the list.
Another, more subtle way to customize this section is to match your vocabulary to the client’s. If they talk about their problems in specific terminology, use some of the same words. If you want to shift the terminology, you can do it deliberately, showing your client how they should be approaching the problem instead. This shows that you understand them, not just how to do your own job.
3. Goals/proposed solution
This section of your proposal will provide an overview of the goals for your project, with a focus on how you’ll solve the problems discussed in the last section.
To show you what this will look like, let’s use the examples listed above: increased competition resulting in lower traffic, failure to keep or convert mobile traffic, and low ranking in search engines. To combat these problems, you might create the following list of goals:
- Create a custom site with a fresh, modern look – Build a unique site using a custom WordPress theme, making client name’s website more memorable than competitor websites.
- Work with a responsive theme to create mobile functionality – Use a WordPress theme with a responsive design and customize mobile display settings to maximize mobile functionality.
- Rewrite website content, utilizing current SEO strategies and techniques – Develop a consistent SEO strategy and rewrite all website content to meet the goals of this new strategy.
Each goal should come with a brief explanation of how it’s accomplished, but don’t spend more than one sentence on this. You’ll get into more details in the next section of your proposal.
💡 How to customize this section: Your main focus here should be to address the problems listed in the previous section of the proposal, so most of your customization will be to address any new concerns or delete anything that isn’t relevant. Again, you can also change the language in the document to match your client’s vocabulary or brand tone.
4. Standard package breakdown
The standard package breakdown shows your client exactly what they will get from working with you. In this section of the web design proposal template, you want to list the individual services included in your standard package breakdown. Each service should be listed with a 2-4 sentence description, including an estimated timeline. The price of each service should also be listed in this section.
The most important areas of your proposal are pricing and what they’ll be receiving for that price. It sounds obvious, but so many people make other areas of their proposals as important (or more important) than those sections. That means you want to make the problem/solution section of your template come first, and closely follow it by a pricing section that provides different pricing options (so you don’t have to get pricing exactly right).
The key is that while your template should be easy to reuse, it has to seem as though it’s completely custom to your prospective client. You can do this by having the right structure where the most important and custom stuff goes first.
For example, if one of the services you’re providing is WordPress theme customization, you might display it like this:
WordPress Theme Customization - $500 - We will work with you to choose an appropriate WordPress theme for your business needs. Once the theme is selected, we will install the theme on your WordPress site and customize it to your specifications. This will take 1-3 weeks depending on the required amount of customization.
This spells out how you will work with the potential client and what your individual services will accomplish, along with how much those services will cost. It also demonstrates your knowledge of the platform you’re working with, while still being easy for the average person to understand.
Create a similar description for each service offered in your standard package, minimizing technical jargon. Items should also be listed in order of execution, from first to last. You want the proposal to answer your potential client’s questions about your services, not give them more.
Once you’ve set up all of your descriptions, including the estimated timeline, you can create an overall timeline based on your standard offerings. Do this by adding together the estimated timelines for all your basic services.
💡 How to customize this section: The primary way you’ll want to customize this section is to remove unnecessary services and add any “extra” items your client has asked for. If your extras are all listed in your template, the latter process is as simple as moving the appropriate information from one section of the proposal to another. You can also take this to the next level by using the same words your client used in their request.
This section of your proposal will list any extras your clients may purchase with their standard web design package, such as:
- Set up of additional pages
- Post templates
- Ongoing maintenance
- Other design services
- Copywriting services
- Social media marketing services
Provide a complete list of available extras, and write a 2-4 sentence description for each one. Again, you want to focus on simple language and avoid technical jargon. Your proposal should be accessible to the average business person, not just online entrepreneurs.
Prospective clients are getting tailored information that they need based on their specific project. So we may have 12 different services but the prospect may only be looking for support with five of those services. We insert the five blocks of text to fit their needs as opposed to giving them the full overview of all of our services. It allows them to more directly align their needs with our ability to fulfill their needs.
Testimonials are the lifeblood of your web design business. Dedicate a page of your proposal to sharing your best testimonials with future clients.
You can set this part of your template up in one of two ways. The first option is to select your favorite 5-10 testimonials and display them creatively on the page.
The second option is to create a “Testimonials” section of your template and include every positive testimonial you’ve ever gotten. Then, when you customize your template, you can keep the quotes most relevant to an individual client, and eliminate the rest. This is an easy way to add an extra layer of personalization to your proposal.
7. Next steps
This section shows your client how they can start the design process. For example, you might offer this list of steps:
- Package Customization - We will work with you to alter the standard web design package to fit your needs, incorporating extras as requested. Once all services are agreed upon, we will finalize our contract with you. This will take 1-2 days.
- Theme Selection - We will identify your precise needs, and propose 3-4 custom WordPress themes for you to choose from. This will take up to one week, depending on client feedback.
- Theme Customization - Once you have chosen a theme, we will install it on your site and customize as needed. This will take 1-2 weeks depending on the theme.
💡 How to customize this section: Many customers will approach you with a specific timeline in mind, so you may need to alter the timeline of each step to match their goals. If you’ve already had several conversations with the potential client, you might exclude the first few steps on your list, and attach a copy of your contract to the proposal so things can be finalized immediately.
8. Terms and conditions
Many designers fail to discuss the legal aspect of their work until the actual contract stage, but sharing your terms and conditions in your proposal boosts your professionalism. It also helps your potential client feel like they’re making an informed decision right from the get-go.
This article is not meant to replace legal advice, and the CodeinWP blog is not run by legal professionals, but there are a couple things we strongly recommend including in your terms and conditions:
- Confidentiality statement – Most companies will want some form of confidentiality agreement, and many will have standard NDAs of their own. Sharing a confidentiality statement of your own shows that you understand this need.
- Fee and deposit structure – If you expect a 50% deposit, you need to explicitly state this in your terms and conditions. You also need to include the conditions under which clients are able to get that deposit refunded, if there are any.
For more information on the legal aspect of web design, take a look at BeeWitz’ 17 Web Design Contract Essentials. If you don’t have your own terms and conditions agreement or standard contract already, you should also seek professional legal advice.
Customizing your proposals
Once you’ve created a web design proposal template, you can start sending out individual proposals. And it should only take a couple minutes — all you need to do is attach it to an email and make sure you send it to the correct person, right?
Wrong. Web design proposal templates are a great way to save time, but you can’t send 100% identical proposals to everyone. Successful proposals are the ones that speak to your clients directly, that feel completely unique to them even if they’re based on a template.
This starts with changing instances of the client’s name and placing the correct contact information in your introduction, but it goes far beyond that. In fact, the customized aspects of your proposal are the most important.
In this guide, we’ve already looked at how you can customize various sections of your proposal. Now, let’s take a look at some tips for customizing your proposal as a whole:
- Use find + replace – The easiest way to get caught using a template proposal is to leave the words “client name” in a place where you should have used an individual’s name. Using find + replace can help you avoid this issue. The trick you can use is to have placeholders like, “TK-CLIENT-NAME”. The magic of “TK” (as in, to-come) is that it doesn’t occur in English, which means that searching for it is straightforward.
- Match your potential client’s brand tone – We’ve already discussed this, but it’s worth reiterating. Matching your client’s tone ensures that they can understand the information you’re presenting, and is a subtle way of showing them that you understand their business, too.
- Reference specific areas of the site – When possible, insert references to specific sections of the website. You might even want to take screenshots or lift chunks of the text from the website to demonstrate exactly what you’re talking about. This is another easy way to show your client that you understand their specific needs.
Sending your proposal to the client
You can use email – old school. But then you don’t know when the client opened and read your proposal.
To battle this, you can install something like Boomerang for Gmail. It tells you when people open your emails, click your links, etc.
Or, you can use one of the popular proposal tools. The top ones are Bidsketch, AND CO (they have more tools in their suite), and Proposify. Bidsketch, for instance, lets you know what clients do with your proposals and also gives you access to some additional proposal tools and templates.Go to top
Creating your own web design proposal template is one of those activities that has a high ROI over the long term. Do it once and then reap the benefits for months (maybe years) to come.
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Layout, presentation and editing by Karol K.