Home » Indie business tips: Client-proposal best practices

Indie business tips: Client-proposal best practices

Our group of Phoenix-area indies — the Arizona Communicators & Creatives Tribe (azICCT, pronounced “AZ Iced Tea”) — meet twice a month to connect and support one another. Today, we gathered in Peoria, AZ, and shared these business tips:

• CLIENT PROPOSALS – Best Practices

1. Prequalify each client with a letter or document stating what you expect (before you even get together for a fact-gathering meeting). Include:
• A certain budget per month
• The required length of a contract
• The ownership of media names
• Access to a high-resolution photo
• Whatever else is important to your success together

2. Elements to include:
• Perhaps an introductory cover letter
• Situation/client need as you understand it
• Purpose for the proposed work
• Client goals and objectives
• Potential strategies (not tactics, or you’re giving away too many ideas)
• Project description (outlines general tasks, plus benefits to client)
• Fees
• Time frame covering the work
• Your process to help client
• About you
• Termination time frame and parameters, esp. to cover everyone if the relationship goes sour.
• Call to action

3. Set expectations:
• Educate client about PR (or the work you’re doing).
• Outline what results client should expect (although specific results not guaranteed)
• If on retainer, exactly how many hours you’ll work, or what specific work you’ll do for the outlined fees.
• What to do if the scope of the work changes.
• Explain what’s included in your fees, and what’s NOT (project management? mileage? phone calls? hard costs?)
• Explain how you like to get paid (up front? half up front? when? how: Paypal, check, cash?
• Explain what happens if client doesn’t pay on time, as agreed

4. In general, simple and short is better.

5. A proposal is usually free. A Plan is part of the project, so clients should pay a fee for it.

What other things should you pay attention to when creating a client proposal? Please comment!


• Do you have PR industry news to share?
Contact Charlotte Shaff (charlotte@themediapush.com), contributor to the *Valley PR Blog*

• Charge fees based on value! Clients will pay for what’s valuable to them.
This is one of Ann Videan’s (avidean@videanunlimited.com) soapboxes. And, blogger Chris Brogan talked about it this morning: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/compete-on-value/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+chrisbrogandotcom+%28[chrisbrogan.com]%29&utm_content=My+Yahoo

• Have you done a business self-evaluation recently?
Andy Ptacek (andy@liquisdesign.com) recommends creating a survey to ask your team what they currently want: type of client, type of work, balance, and more.
She also recommends attending the Phoenix IABC luncheon Nov. 18 to hear about creating successful Gold Quill entries.

• Make sure you know what your client can spend.
Bart Butler (bart.butler01@yahoo.com) suggests asking each client the “should not exceed” number when creating a proposal.

Please add your own indie business tips so we can all benefit… 😀 Cheers!

Ann N. Videan, APR

2 Responses to “Indie business tips: Client-proposal best practices”

  1. Ann N. Videan, APR Says:

    In our November azICCT meeting, we added a few additional proposal best practices:

    • Add an addendum for notes, changes and signatures so the proposal can be signed and ready to go immediately.

    • Include photos of your key players.

    • Sharing personal information is good in some instances, but can be a hindrance in others. You don’t want to come off as flip or not serious about client work.

    • Add a list of references to your proposal.

    • Add a testimonial or two.

    • Include payment options.

    1. Receive or make a call.

    2. Hold a free fact-finding meeting.

    3. Find out and include in proposal:
    – What’s the client’s wish?
    – How does the client want others to see them?
    – What does success look like to them?
    – How do they like to communicate (email, calls?)
    – What length of time does the contract need to cover?

    4. Sit with the client if at all possible to review the proposal.

    5. Set a deadline for a decision if you can’t get them sign at the meeting.

    6. Set up a six-month proposal review time. You might even build in check-in points every few weeks to see if you’re on target.

  2. Amber Carr Says:

    $author Thank you so much for a wonderful blog. It was such a great article. Have a great day!

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