How to Write a Proposal for Freelance Design Work Online

| 5 min read
420 shares

If you want to sell your freelance design work online using services like Elance or Guru; you need to learn to write winning proposals. Proposal writing doesn’t have to be hard. There are some simple rules to follow that will increase your chances of success:

Keep it Short


Author/Copyright holder: Yau Hoong Tang. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The objective of a proposal is to succinctly convey how you can help with a client’s project. You should quickly summarize your skills and experience related to the specific requirements (no-one cares that you were a scissor monitor at school – so don’t waffle and be irrelevant). Then you should suggest an approach to handle the project; it doesn’t have to be perfect (in fact many clients don’t give enough detail to be perfect) but it does have to show you understand what you’re doing.

Look to Start Conversations

You shouldn’t try to close business in a proposal. How do you know if you want to work with the client if you haven’t spoken to them? How could you possibly fully understand what they want to achieve from their shopping list RFP (request for proposal)?  You can’t know these things if you don’t talk to a client. A dream project will become a nightmare if you don’t get along with the client and establish some rapport. You may end up doing the job completely wrong, if you are lucky enough to have it awarded without a conversation, because you don’t know what they want to do.



Author/Copyright holder: Marc Wathieu. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

Always include a line along the lines of; “This quotation is based on my understanding of your RFP. I would like to speak to you further before confirming the details. We can move things around and re-estimate costs more accurately depending on your precise needs. I’m available over Skype to talk throughout the working day.”

That may lead to the conversation that you were hoping for and to better more interesting projects.

Keep it Professional

The worst response I have ever seen to an RFP went something like this; “Hi, I don’t have the skills for this project but I do need the money.” That might work if you’re holding a hat out for spare change but clients don’t give their money away. You need to remain professional. Don’t be over-familiar. Don’t be rude or crude. While you may establish a relationship later that allows for humour or profanity – it’s best to avoid it in the first contact too.

Support Your Case


Author/Copyright holder: Scott Kellum. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

Make certain that you include relevant (and I cannot stress the word relevant enough here) samples of your work and if you think it will help; include your CV/resume too. Make certain to include comments and recommendations from former clients. In short make it easy for the client to trust you and if they like your work to get in touch with you.

Proofread

Yes, you’re a designer not a writer but trust me on this – literacy counts. Proposals don’t have to be perfect but they can not be gibberish either. If you can’t proofread; pay someone to do it for you.

Header Image: Author/Copyright holder: Vancouver Film School. Copyright terms and licence: CC BY 2.0


420 shares

Open Access—Link to us!

We believe in Open Access and the democratization of knowledge. Unfortunately, world-class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.

If you want this to change, , link to us, or join us to help us democratize design knowledge!

Share Knowledge, Get Respect!

Share on:

or copy link

Cite according to academic standards

Simply copy and paste the text below into your bibliographic reference list, onto your blog, or anywhere else. You can also just hyperlink to this article.

Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF. (2015, June 13). How to Write a Proposal for Freelance Design Work Online. Interaction Design Foundation - IxDF.

New to UX Design? We’re giving you a free ebook!

The Basics of User Experience Design

Download our free ebook The Basics of User Experience Design to learn about core concepts of UX design.

In 9 chapters, we’ll cover: conducting user interviews, design thinking, interaction design, mobile UX design, usability, UX research, and many more!

A valid email address is required.
312,421 designers enjoy our newsletter—sure you don’t want to receive it?

New to UX Design? We’re Giving You a Free ebook!

The Basics of User Experience Design

Download our free ebook The Basics of User Experience Design to learn about core concepts of UX design.

In 9 chapters, we’ll cover: conducting user interviews, design thinking, interaction design, mobile UX design, usability, UX research, and many more!

A valid email address is required.
312,421 designers enjoy our newsletter—sure you don’t want to receive it?