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How to create a web design proposal (+ free templates)

Jazmyn Brown's Layout avatar

As a web designer, you know how important it is to find new clients. To do this, most web designers are using proposals to pitch their ideas, services, and cost in one presentation or PDF document. There are a hundred ways to create a great web design proposal, but we’ve gathered direct feedback from over 1,000 designers and our in-house experts to learn what they include when pitching their services. But first, let’s break down a few things.

In this article, I’ll cover: 


Why you should use templated proposals 

Think about how much time, energy, and money you spend or will spend creating new proposal templates for every new client. By using pre-designed proposal templates, you’ll save time and money, maintain consistency throughout every proposal, and incorporate your brand and voice.

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You’ll save time and money

Think about how long it takes you to design, format, and add in the content for a brand new proposal. Don’t forget adding in files, adding in your prices, and customizing it for that specific client. Now, take that time and multiply it by the average number of clients you add a month. This adds up pretty quickly, and wastes a bunch of time when you could be upselling those clients or focusing on your work instead. Use templated proposals so you can spend more time customizing an existing template for a client and working on your pitch rather than building out new web design proposals each time. 

You’ll be consistent

Consistency is arguably the most important factor for proposals when it comes to pricing your services. With a template, you have all of your services and pricing listed out, so the odds of you making a mistake are very small. You have every right to want to get paid the right amount for your services, and on the other side, you want to make sure your prices aren’t crazy different from client to client. Like other cases, consistency is key when it comes to web design proposals. 

You can incorporate your brand and brand voice

One of the best parts about creating your own web design proposals is you get to have fun with the design and bring your brand voice, colors, and charm into the mix! You should feel empowered with a template to add these items in, and then feel free to tone them down depending on the client. 

Here’s a great example: say your brand is typically vibrant, bubbly, and optimistic, but the client you’re pitching for is a funeral home. In this situation, it may be a better idea to tone down your brand so it’s a healthy mix of your brand and their business. With templates, you have a solid starting place because you can add your logo in the footer, but have the opportunity to add more vibrancy depending on the client. 

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Now that you know why web design proposal templates are the way to go, let’s learn how to create one! 


How to create a web design proposal

As I said earlier, there are a ton of ways to format your web design proposal. It may take some time exploring and doing more research to know how you want to format it and how you want it to look. 

However, what you should include in your web design proposal is pretty straight-forward, and you’ll find that most web designers are in agreement about what they include in their web design proposals. Before I get ahead of myself, let’s break this down a bit more. 

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What to include in your web design proposal 

We surveyed over 1,000 web designers and asked them what sections or components they like to include in their proposals. Here’s what they said! 

Introduction 

Most web designer proposals are two or more pages so don’t worry too much about length. In this case, the content of the proposal is more important. Be sure to not skip anything important, because that could lead to someone else gaining your client! 

People tend to give a title, document ID, or status on one of the opening pages. They do this mostly for internal tracking purposes so they can always go back and reference a proposal in the future. 

Overview with service descriptions

This may come as no surprise but most web designers tend to include a deep overview, including a full page description of the project highlights, goals and proposed solutions, as well as the scope of work. This will be one of the most important sections in the proposal because when a client reads it, they’ll be able to tell within a few sentences if you understand their problem and have unique solutions for them. This is the section where you’ll do the most “selling.” 

Some designers include a “Why I’m best” or “How I can do this for you” section to make it very clear how you, as a web designer, can help the client and why you’re the best fit to tackle the job. 

website-proposal-template-conversation-with-web-designer

Budget or payment schedule

This may (or should!) be your favorite part of the proposal because this is where you’re outlining what services you’re doing, what the estimated cost of each of those services will be, and when you will be paid. This is how you make money. 

You’ll want to keep this section as easy-to-understand as possible with no secrets. If you charge for scope creep or additional meetings, this is the place to be very transparent about that. If you are available for them 24/7, even months after you’ve completed a project, you’ll want to make that crystal clear, as well. If you charge for additional changes or a cancellation fee, note that in this section so both you and the client are on the same page. 

Conclusion

Like a conclusion of a story, the conclusion of a web design proposal is important. The conclusion is what most clients will remember and use as their takeaway. You want something succinct, clear, while reviewing the highlights from the previous pages and tying in the overview. 

Other items you may want to include in your web design proposal:

  • Cover page
  • About
  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Problem statement
  • Goals or proposed solutions
  • Standard package breakdown
  • Approach
  • Fees or estimate costs
  • Timeline/investment
  • Assumptions
  • References
  • Testimonials
  • Next steps
  • Terms and conditions
  • Signature page
  • Acceptance

How to format a web design proposal 

Ask twelve web designers how they prefer to format their proposals for clients, and you’re guaranteed at least six different answers. However, most might say that they have a different template or format depending on the client. Please note, there is no right or wrong format to present, as long as it’s the best proposal for both parties. There are two popular ways to format your proposal: a presentation and a PDF document. 

A presentation

An extremely popular way to format a proposal is in a presentation, whether that’s in Keynote, Powerpoint, Google Slides, or something else. Many web designers prefer this format because they can build the proposal exactly how they plan to present to the client and then send it to them afterwards. This is great for straight-forward projects that don’t require additional explanations. 

The great thing about presenting a proposal in a presentation is you can make clear transitions and allow for questions from the client as you present. You can really tell a story and sell your skills using a presentation. 

Here’s an example of a layout using a presentation format: 

  • Section 1: Intro + Project overview
  • Section 2: Define the problem along with goals and proposed solutions
  • Section 3: Estimate the web design cost for each service and the total for all services
  • Section 4: Call-to-action

A PDF document

Another formatting option (and the most common!) for a web design proposal is a PDF. This is typically two to six pages, and outlines the main parts of the project, but allows for more “permanent” content. Oftentimes, web designers prefer this method because you can outline your exact guidelines, services, costs, additional costs, and more in the clearest way possible. 

An example of what this would include would be:

  • Cover letter
  • Overview, but in a table format
  • Dig into the specifics of each service with less than five sentences for each
  • Budget and payment schedule in a few sentences
  • Conclusion that wraps up everything and includes your “promise” 

Now that you now how to create and format your proposals, let’s learn how to customize a proposal for any client. 


How to customize your proposals

Every once in awhile, you’ll run into a client that has specific project requirements or needs you to amend the services or prices. When this happens, don’t completely build out a new template unless you absolutely have to (remember how much time it takes you to build a new one)! Instead, take your existing template and reshape it however you like. The goal is to maintain consistency from client to client, and professionalism (and the proposal pitch) is a huge part of that. 


Conclusion

An amazing web design proposal can spark the beginning of a great client relationship! Create proposal templates to not only wow every new client, but to grow incoming new revenue so you can focus on what you do best: web design.

To help you do this, we’ve created free web design proposal templates just for you! All you have to do is download one (or both!) and customize the way you want to that’s best for your business. Ready to get started? 


Free proposal templates!

We have free web design proposal templates to get you started: one’s an editable PDF and the other is a Google Slides presentation template. Download one (or both!) templates below!


All imagery was taken from Flywheel’s in-house photographer, Kimberly Bailey.

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