According to a 2019 study, nearly 57 million Americans work as freelancers. That means nearly 35% of the American workforce is hustling — just like you —- to find clients and close deals.
One of the biggest challenges for freelancers is landing clients. Whether you are just getting started or have been at it a while, signing new clients is critical to a successful freelance business.
So, how do you land more clients?
It all starts with a killer freelance proposal to show prospective clients why you are the best choice.
A freelance proposal is the first step to turning maybe clients into paying clients.
Creating a proposal is time-consuming — some freelancers spend an hour or more on each proposal, which can add up when you are trying to land multiple clients. Plus, many freelancers aren't sure what information to include or how long their proposals should be.
Guess what? Creating proposals doesn't have to be a complex process.
In this post, we're going to show you:
- What a freelance proposal is
- Why you need a freelance proposal
- What information your proposal should include
- How to create a freelance proposal
- Tips for creating killer freelance proposals to help you land more clients.
What is a Freelance Proposal?
A freelance proposal is a customized document sent to prospective clients that outlines the scope of work and cost of a project.
An excellent proposal should be through (but not too long), clear, and highlight why you are the best choice. If you land the client, the proposal will serve as the basis of your freelance contract.
Here's a freelance simple proposal example:
This example proposal is simple because it is sent after a call with the prospective client where deliverables were already discussed. Notice it includes a personalized message, detail of deliverables, contact information, and the freelancer's logo.
If you send proposals to cold contacts, you should include information about your background and past clients.
Is a freelance proposal the same as a job bid?
The term "job bid" is generally used on freelancing platforms like Upwork, and is not the same thing as a proposal. A job bid is more like an application, while a proposal is an estimate or quote you provide clients you have already spoken to.
Why Do I Need a Freelance Proposal?
A freelance proposal is your time to shine. This document highlights your professionalism, your skills, and shows how you can provide solutions to the challenges your prospects face. It also sets the tone for all communications with your client, so make sure your proposal is clear and covers all your bases.
When should I send a freelance proposal?
In general, you should send a proposal after an initial discovery call with the client. The call will give you the information required to create an accurate, customized freelance proposal.
Some freelancers might send a proposal as part of a cold email campaign or after an initial pitch — it really depends on your industry and business model.
What Should a Freelance Proposal Include?
A compelling freelance proposal should capture your prospect's attention, outline how you can help them overcome challenges, and set the tone for clear communication throughout your working relationship.
Most freelance proposals should include the following details:
- Your name, business name, and logo.
- Your contact information, including address, email, and website.
- Your prospect's name and address.
- Proposal number.
- Objectives and goals of the project.
- A detailed description of the project details.
- Timeline for project completion.
- An estimated price.
A freelance proposal should also outline the next step. Ask the client to message you for more information, accept the proposal, or make a downpayment for services.
Keep in mind that a freelance proposal isn't a resume; it should outline exactly how you can help them solve a problem and direct them to take the next step to formalize your working arrangement.
Quick Tips for Creating a Killer Freelancer Proposal
Now that you understand why freelance proposals matter and what information you need to include, you are ready to dive in! These tips will help you create an effective freelance proposal every time.
Research Your Prospect
An essential part of any proposal is showing that you understand your client and their needs. As a writer, that might mean showing you understand who their target audience is and what type of content they would be drawn to. If you are a designer or developer, you'll want to understand where their website is lacking and how you can help.
If you are responding to a job posting, show you read the entire listing and understand their needs. Mention key terms they included in their post to show you are paying attention.
Keep It Short
An effective proposal needs to cover a lot of information, but try to keep it brief and to the point. A long proposal will cause a prospect to lose interest before you have a chance to show why you are the best choice!
Use bullet points, bolding, and subheadings to break up information and make it easier to read. Focus on how you can help; don't drone on about your qualifications. (Though a short section on your past work is totally fine!)
Use a Freelance Proposal Template
Instead of building a new proposal every time, use a freelance proposal template to ensure you include all the necessary information and streamline the process.
Time is money when you are a freelancer. Using a freelance proposal template makes creating proposals faster. Plus, a great template will make you look more professional.
Include a CTA
You've created a killer proposal; now what? Your proposal should clearly outline the next steps the client should take. For example, you might ask the client to contact you for more information, leave comments on the proposal for clarification, or ask you to send over a contract to sign.
Don't Forget to Follow Up
If you don't hear back in a few days, make sure to follow up. Ask if they received your email and if they have any questions. This will give the prospect the chance to ask for clarification or, hopefully, say they are ready to sign your contract!
How to Create a Freelance Proposal in Clarrow
Clarrow makes creating your next freelance proposal easy with a freelance proposal template. Here's how to create your next freelance proposal in Clarrow.
Sign up for your free Clarrow Account
If you don't have an account with Clarrow, the first step is to sign up for your free account. Clarrow makes it easy for freelancers to create proposals, manage expenses, send invoices, and even sign contracts.
Select Proposal in the Left Side Bar
Once you have an account, sign in to Clarrow and select "Proposals" in the left sidebar.
Then, tap "Create Proposal" in the upper right corner.
Choose a Client (Or Create a New One)
Clarrow makes it easy to move clients through your sales funnel, from the first contract to signing a contract to sending an invoice.
So your first step is to assign the proposal to a client. If you haven't created a profile for your new client yet, that is the first step.
Clarrow will prompt you to add information about the client, including the name and contact information.
Once you've selected (or added) the client and named your proposal, tap "Save."
Edit the Proposal Template
After you save the proposal, the freelance proposal template will open up, allowing you to edit the proposal. You can change the colors, add a background, or adjust the font.
Next, fill out the about section, overview, and deliverables.
This is where you outline what work will be done and what challenges you can help the client overcome. Remember to keep these sections short and use the headings and bullet points to make it easy to read.
You can also edit the timeline to show when work will be completed.
Next, add the estimated fees and any other information you want to include.
For a writer, this might be an agreement for the client to send topic and SEO research or approve outlines before you begin writing.
You could also make notes about future projects you discussed with the client or note that it will be a monthly contract.
Change the Proposal Template in Clarrow
If you want to change the template, you can do that in Clarrow too! Scroll back to the top of your new proposal and click the three dots just under the font and background tool, then choose "Change Template."
You can choose from three different cover pages. All the templates are simple by design — you don't want to get so bogged down in editing your proposal that you end up wasting time!
Get Started Creating Your Next Freelance Proposal Today
Creating freelance proposals shouldn't be a hassle. Using a proposal template makes it easier to create freelance proposals in minutes so you can get back to work. Then, use the tips above to write killer proposals and help you sign more clients.