How to Write a Price Proposal

by C.O. Ryan; Updated September 26, 2017
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Providing a winning reply to a request for proposal (RFP) or request for bids (RFB) can be a vital chance to win new business for your company. Your price proposal must be clear, concise and readable. It must cover both the direct and indirect costs involved in serving the potential customer, and it should demonstrate that you offer excellent value for any expenditure she makes.

Items you will need

  • Articles about your potential customer's company
  • Winning price proposals
Step 1

Research the potential customer’s company. Read about the company in print and online, speak to the potential customer directly and review his proposal questions carefully. Structure your proposal to show how all costs will provide what he needs as well as give him added value.

Step 2

Read examples of winning price proposals. One of the many books on writing good proposals is Joel P. Bowman and Bernadine P. Branchaw’s "How to Write Proposals That Produce."

Step 3

Build the potential customer’s confidence in your experience and resources. Write the proposal's sections and a cover letter in a persuasive and positive tone. Be clear that what you offer is particularly suited to her company, with the immediate benefits of reliability and business-boosting services or products.

Step 4

View a few price proposal examples to see what kind of format best serves your proposal. You may give the total amount first, and then present an itemized list with the benefits of each item noted, or you may provide a long and detailed itemization first if you prefer to justify the total cost before stating the total cost.

Step 5

Map out your budget in a simple-to-read format. State all direct costs (labor, equipment, supplies, travel, phone, printing) and indirect costs (overhead such as office rental, taxes, insurance, phone, Internet, office equipment). Estimate these amounts if necessary.

Step 6

Include a time frame for when the job will be completed. Be flexible, and assure the prospective customer that you are willing to work with him to find the billing method that suits him best.

Tips

  • Emailing your proposal ensures your prospect receives it as soon as possible, but have print copies available

    If the prospect turns down your proposal, find out why. You can use that information to build a stronger proposal next time.

    Write in a helpful and positive tone, as if the job is already yours.

Warnings

  • Don’t underestimate your expenses. You have overhead to take care of as well as direct expenses.

    Don’t overestimate your expenses, even if business has been slow. You don't want to scare away the potential customer.

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