How to Write a Proposal and Win Your Next Job

Every freelancer must know how to write a proposal. The proposal is your actual sales pitch to clients. It is your offer to the specific requirements being asked for, detailing all the products and services you will provide for the rate you are charging. It may also include timelines, terms and conditions, and a little overview of your business.

You might think that sending your rates through messaging apps, SMS, or via a phone call is enough. No, it is definitely not enough. While that may be acceptable to some clients, sending a professional proposal is still better. Remember, freelancing is a business in itself. And it is a good practice to always be professional in every aspect of your business. Plus, it can make a good impression on clients which may be the ticket to winning that bid.

How to Write a Proposal

laptop, notepad with pen, iPhone on a table

One of the perks of being a freelancer is that you control every decision in your business. Well, of course. Because you are the boss. You decide on what to include in your proposal and how much to charge for it. No more asking for approvals or waiting for signatures. And this fact makes writing your proposal a walk in the park.

Parts of a Proposal

In learning how to write a proposal, you must first know the elements needed in one. This will make your proposal look professional and official.

1. Title

Make sure that the word “Proposal” is written in big, bold letters on the topmost part of your document. Do this so your client can easily identify that this is a proposal.

2. Proposal Date

The proposal date may also be labeled as “Date Issued.”

Let’s be clear; the proposal date is the date you are issuing the proposal, not the date you started preparing it. For example, you started drafting your proposal on January 1 but were not able to finish it. You completed it and will send it on January 2. The date that must reflect on the proposal date should then be January 2. The proposal date must reflect the exact date you send it because it will have an effect on your validity timeline. For instance, you are only giving your client three days to sign the proposal. If you sent it at a later date, say, January 2, but your proposal date is January 1, your client will then have one less day to process your offer. It is not fair. So, make sure to check your dates before sending your proposal.

3. Validity Date

The validity date signifies the final date you are giving your client to sign or accept the proposal. It is like a due date. This means if you haven’t received a signed proposal or any feedback from your potential client on this date, the proposal no longer stands.

You must put a validity date to your proposals to prevent clients from taking too much time to decide whether to sign or not. As a freelancer, you cannot wait on a client for too long. You must know when to move on to another lead. n addition, if you are providing a product or service that requires materials with fluctuating costs (like fuel), your estimated cost might be affected if you wait too long for a reply.

calendar with a date encircled

4. Your Business Name

If you are not using letterhead, you have to include your business name (if you have one), your name, and your address. You can add your contact numbers and email address too. This is so your clients will know how to contact you if they have any concerns regarding the proposal.

5. Client’s Details

It is essential that you write the full name, business name (if they have one), and address of your client. This personalizes the proposal, which shows that you have tailored the proposal for them.

Pro Tip: Make sure you write the correct title (Mr., Engineer, President, etc.), name, and address of your potential client. Getting your potential client’s name wrong is a big turn-off.

6. Project Title

This is an important element in a proposal. You have to be clear on what project the proposal is for. Your potential client may be handling several projects, and you don’t want them guessing which project this proposal is for. This is also where your entire proposal will be anchored on. Because this is the project or gig that you are bidding for.

Project titles must be simple. Here are some samples:

  • Basic Photography Package
  • Life Coaching Session 1 Proposal
  • Web Design Project

7. Overview

Treat the overview as your cover letter. This is where you introduce your business. You may mention your specialties, and previous projects and, basically, define your strengths. e careful not to oversell yourself or sound like you are begging to be considered for the job!

Kosmo proposal overview sample

8. Timeline

The timeline will show your client how you propose to run the course of the project. You can include specific dates and tasks and add estimated deadlines. Make sure that the timeline you propose is reasonable and workable for you. If you are currently doing a different project or managing multiple clients, make sure to check your time management matrix. This is to avoid committing to a task that, in reality, is not achievable for you.

9. Cost of the Offer

Depending on your price schemes, there are several ways to specify the cost of your project. Decide whether you will use a project fee or an hourly rate pricing scheme. You may also have packages that you wish to offer. It would be better if you could include short descriptions of each item, so the quotation is clear to the client.

It is important that you include all incidentals, revisions, taxes, and discounts (if applicable). Remember, whatever total cost you indicate in the proposal is final. Amending costs after the signing of the proposal is greatly discouraged. This will create suspicion and distrust.

10. Terms and Conditions

Learning how to write a proposal means understanding that it is important to set your potential client’s expectations with your terms and conditions as early as the proposal stage. You may indicate methods of communication and delivery, payment terms, and payment processing platforms you intend to use.

11. Signatures

To make your proposal final and valid, both parties must sign it. You, of course, must sign it before sending it out. Make sure you have an electronic signature to make things easier. Don’t worry, there are lots of free online signature creators for you to use. If you are considering using online proposal software, a signature box for clients may be added as a field on your template so they can easily place their digital signature.

Kosmo proposal signature fieldsample

Tips for Proposal Writing

Now that you know the important elements of a proposal, here are some tips to help you write a professional proposal that can win your next job:

• Branding

Do not send out a proposal written on a plain piece of white paper. Brand your document. Add your logo and a banner using a color palette that matches your logo. This will make your proposal stand out and easy to recognize. Keep in mind that you are a professional running your own business, so as much as possible, you have to put branding in all your documents.

• Use Online Proposal Tools

You don’t need to create a proposal from scratch. Many business management platforms have proposal templates that are actually very easy to use. One platform that is perfect for this is Kosmo. Kosmo is an all-in-one project management software. You don’t only get to create a customized proposal, but you can continue managing the progress of the project with its many features like contract and invoice templates, task management, time-tracking, and client CRM.

Kosmo joining page

Kosmo’s proposal templates have all the elements needed for creating a professional proposal. You can add your logo and edit the banner to match your brand’s color scheme. The platform will already compute the total amount of the items you listed, so you don’t need to do it yourself. This means you can be assured that there are no errors in the computations. Signature fields for your and your client’s signatures are also provided. Now, isn’t that convenient?

• Always Check for Typos

Always, always make sure that you are sending an error-free proposal. Remember, this is the very first official document your potential client will receive from you. So, it must impress them right away. You must leave a good impression so they will remember you. If you send a proposal with typos, this will convey that you are sloppy and careless. And you will lose the client.


As a freelancer, knowing the secrets of writing a proposal that closes the deal is like holding on to a golden ticket with unlimited use. Getting the job is dependent on how well you present your offer through your proposal. Fortunately, online proposal software are available for you to use.

Kosmo sample proposal

The challenge now is in writing compelling project overviews and selling your skills and talents without being conceited. Just remember to write in a friendly and approachable tone, so clients will know that you are open to listening and considering their concerns. Knowing how to write a proposal is definitely a skill a freelancer like you should have and master.

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