Proposals are no fun. Well, maybe they can be a little fun if you’re part of a proposals team within a larger company, but preparing them when you’re a freelancer working on your own is definitely no barrel of laughs. You’ve probably got ongoing contract work to focus on, and finding time to bid on new work, even if you know you’ll need it, isn’t always your top priority. Templates are good, but how do you make sure you always have access to the right template when you need it? Proposalware is a new proposal web app that hopes to simplify things by centralizing them — and by introducing a crucial mobile component to make sure you have access wherever you might be.
Yes, there is a trade-off in terms of customizability when you compare Proposalware’s simple template to your own original documents, but what you gain in exchange might make it worth your while, depending on your field or industry. In fact, you may find that you’ve been overdoing your proposals, and that the simple template provided by Proposalware is much more in line with client expectations. I’ve seen many a tarted-up proposal go ignored while a much more basic document struck home.
Proposalware’s bid document is exactly what one should be: a prospective invoice. In fact, the app offers the ability to create both, since for most types of projects they should resemble one another as closely as possible. The idea is that you list items and services with an attached cost, enter the amount the client can expect to pay, and then just send off the automatically generated proposal for your customer to (hopefully) OK. By default, that’s all Proposalware offers — a list of 10 items, with fields for quantity, description and price. The total cost is tallied once you’ve entered your items, with an option to apply tax, if necessary.
If you need more detail, you can edit the line items and proposal header. Each item can have a photo attached to it, and a short, long and full description. Those who offer the same items over and over again or a combination of a pre-set number of items will probably find this feature very handy. I think it’s less useful for services, for which an image doesn’t often apply, and often requires specific tailoring for each individual engagement. You can also customize the proposal terms and conditions, which really helps if you want a client to take your document seriously.
The main advantage of Proposalware is that it’s web-based, and it can be used without any special programs (like Word) required. If you get a call for submissions while you’re visiting a strange city, all you have to do is find an Internet café or even just a computer with access that you can use, and you can bid in no time, especially if the project only calls for a cookie-cutter type of response. Even if you can’t get to a computer, by navigating to mobileproposals.com using a smartphone you can access all of the regular features of Proposalware in an easy-to-use mobile format.
Your client receives a straightforward, professional looking document via email. They can’t digitally sign it through Proposalware, but it’s better than getting a Word document which they then have to open in a separate program in order to respond to. The only flaw I can see is that clients who can’t receive HTML formatting in their company email won’t be able to access your proposal.
It’s worth noting that Proposalware isn’t free. They offer a 60-day free trial for all new users, but afterwards, you’ll have to sign up for one of two paid options if you want to keep using it. The first costs $9.95 per month, while a second will set you back $99.95 for a full year. If your current proposal process is costing you contracts, Proposalware is worth considering. Your best bet is to see if your win rate changes within the 60-day trial period.
Has using Proposalware improved your contract win rate? Let us know in the comments.