How to Write a Fee Proposal

When writing a fee proposal, you must show your client exactly what will be done, how much it costs, and why it costs what it does. This is done by writing a two-part proposal. The first part is the Statement of Work, which details the work being done, usually written with detailed descriptions of the services being performed. The second part is a series of tables which give the costs for each item detailed in the Statement of Work and should be able to be read and understood at a glance.

Define the Project's Scope

Define the Statement of Work for the project. This can be as short or as long as required, from a single page to a hundred pages or more, depending on the project. List every phase involved in the project in separate subheadings.

Beneath each phase, describe its scope in paragraph form. Beneath that description, list each service being provided. Then, in point form, list each task being performed beneath each service.

Create a Spreadsheet for the Project

Create a spreadsheet for each project phase described in the Statement of Work. Label the spreadsheet with the same subheading for the phase as appears in the Statement of Work by putting the title in the first row of the spreadsheet. For example, if the first phase of the project is an audit, the title of the spreadsheet and the subtitle in the Statement of Work would both be "Audit."

Explain the Meaning of Each Column

Explain the meaning of each column by giving it a title in the second row of the spreadsheet. A typical spreadsheet, for example, might list these titles: "Service," "Hourly Rate," "Hours," "Discount," "Total."

List Each Service with Tasks and Rates

List each service on the left column of the spreadsheet. Include the rates and totals as they apply to the project in the adjacent columns. Where appropriate, break the services down into tasks and list the rates and fees there. This can be important if a consultant is being brought in, or the service includes many tasks, or tasks with different fees.

Create a Total for the Project Phase

Create a total for the project phase at the bottom right of the spreadsheet.

Format the Spreadsheet

Format the spreadsheet as appropriate. In the rows containing titles, use colored cells with white text. Use borders to divide the columns.

Create a "Grand Total" of the Project

Create a new spreadsheet titled “Totals” when you have completed the spreadsheets for each project phase. On this last spreadsheet, list each project phase in the left column and the totals on the right. On the last line of this spreadsheet, include the "Grand Total" of the project by adding up all fees.

Proofread the Fee Proposal

Proofread your fee proposal. Do not rely solely on spelling utilities before submitting the proposal.

References

About the Author

A published author, David Weedmark has advised businesses on technology, media and marketing for more than 20 years and used to teach computer science at Algonquin College. He is currently the owner of Mad Hat Labs, a web design and media consultancy business. David has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and websites including American Express, Samsung, Re/Max and the New York Times' About.com.