A business cannot be sustained without growth, and a big part of that growth comes from increasing your customer base. There is a lot that goes into this process, but it always starts with pitching your product or services to potential business prospects. Our Service Proposal templates, located in our Sales proposal templates folder, allow you to share valuable information with potential business partners and clients to gain their business. Understanding how to put these service proposals together is essential to ensure they are well received and have the right information in for the right client.
Simply finding the right service proposal template is not enough; you have to ensure that the information you are adding to the template itself is relevant, credible and will help the client to see the value in your business over the other service proposals they may receive.
The standard definition of a service proposal is that it is a written document that you, as the business owner, prepare and send to your clients with the goal to successfully gain their business. In simple terms it is a comprehensive sales document that outlines the services you offer.
At a minimum, it must include the following:
A successful service proposal does not end there though. While this basic information is important, it is even more important to make sure the client understands your unique product offering so that you can stand out from your competitors, who may also be submitting service proposals.
If you are a business that offers a specific service to clients, then you absolutely need to use a business proposal. It is important to note that a business plan and service proposal are not the same thing. They each have very different roles in your business, but they are equally important. Your business plan is a document that focuses primarily on your business as a whole. It includes your company’s strategy, your mission and vision and so on. Let’s take a deeper look into the reasons why your business needs a service proposal.
Business owners know the importance of planning, knowing where a project is going and how you are going to get there makes the journey so much easier. A service proposal includes information about the business’s challenges and risks. This section requires a lot of research on the part of the new business owner and will need to be re-evaluated regularly as the market and client needs change and evolve. Every project has its challenges and identifying them in your service proposal allows you to offer potential solutions and plans as to how to deal with them,
The role of a service proposal is to secure new clients, win projects or even secure additional funding. Your service proposal is a great opportunity for you to put your best foot forward by showing potential clients how your business will help them, why your ideas the best and why they should buy from you. The more work you put into your service proposal the more impressive it will look and the more confidence it will give to clients that you are the best.
Your service proposal will include clear goals and objectives for the project and your business. These goals and objectives in turn give the project a noticeably clear direction and allow for a structure to be put in place of how you are going to achieve that. This can be invaluable to clients – while they may like your service offering if they cannot see clearly how the project will be run or managed, they will not be motivated to work with you.
Probably one of the biggest reasons you need a service proposal document is that it allows everyone to get on the same page in terms of the project deliverables. The clients are clear about exactly what you offer, how you offer it, the timelines involved and the costs. This helps to eliminate any misunderstandings that could potentially arise. This is also why it is crucial that this document include as much information as possible. Using service proposal templates will make it easier, but remember to complete each section in detail.
Now that we understand what a service proposal is and why your business needs it, it’s fitting to understand how to prepare a service proposal. First, a business proposal must include:
Now, consider the following as preparatory work, to ensure your service proposal is top tier.
Before you start putting your service proposal together, get all the information you need. Make sure you have a very clear understanding of exactly what the client wants – what is the “problem”? Reach out to the client if you are unclear or unsure before submitting the proposal so that you have a very clear idea of their exact requirements. Once you understand their problem, prepare a plan on how your business can solve it. You want to be clear about their expectations in terms of timelines, their budget and so on. Do not rush through this stage. You want your proposal to be clear and accurate and carefully thought out.
A scope of work is where you outline exactly what work needs to be done and how you plan to do it. During this stage, you should outline who will be involved in the project to bring it to completion. This includes the people doing the work proposed, the people checking the quality of work in addition to the client’s main point of contact, normally an account manager or project manager. It will also include what needs to be done, what resources are needed and what the costs of doing so will be. A summary of the project’s timeline should be included here as well, in addition to the evaluation plan; how the project is to be measured to ensure expectations and promises are met. Explaining why you have chosen the solution you have is also a good idea as it shows the client you know what you are talking about.
This can only be done once you have a very clear understanding of the scope of work. Take your time working out your costing, make sure you have cost in labour, materials, time, equipment, and anything else that can be added to the estimate. Spend some time on this and as tempting as it might be to cut costs to win the client, this could be to your detriment. Make sure that you can do the work properly for the amount you quote. Depending on the size of the project and scope of work, you might need to work with contractors, which can increase the total cost. You should always factor this into your cost estimate to misunderstandings and shortfalls.
Once you have all the above information, you can start writing your proposal. Using a service proposal template really helps this step because each section is clearly outlined for you. All you need to do is add in your information. Our Service Proposal templates, found in our Sales Proposal templates folder, have been specifically designed to make reading easy and highlight the important parts. Your service proposal starts with the cover sheet. It is what your clients will see first and what they will use to develop their first impression, so make sure you focus on ensuring your cover page is well designed, neat, and professional. As you put all your information together, keep the client in mind. People tend to not take the time they should read lengthy documents. That’s why it’s recommended you clearly define each section with headlines and split your text into shorter paragraphs and bullet points. Focus on punchy, “to the point” sentences so that the reader is able to get through all the information easily. Adding in graphs or infographics is also a good way to break up content and make it simple for the reader to take in information.
Everyone makes mistakes. Run through the service proposal to make sure your grammar and spelling is correct. Get a second opinion. Ask a colleague to read the proposal to make sure it all makes sense and is easy to understand. A helpful tip is to have someone outside of your business industry to read through the proposal, as this offers a fresh objective and opinion. Although, this is not always possible.
The time has come to finally send your proposal. Before you submit your proposal, make sure you know how the client wants it submitted, what format do they prefer, where/whom you need to send the documents to and so on. Not all clients clearly define this but if they do specify such details, you want to make sure that you follow such guidelines. Once you have submitted your service proposal, we recommend you follow up with the prospect within 48 hours. Give the client time to run through your proposal and then reach out to them in a follow up email. We recommend asking the prospect if they would like a walkthrough of the proposal, and then ask if they have any questions. If you notice that some time has passed, and they have still not reached their decision, remind them you are available to answer questions and clarify anything that is not clear.
Now that you know what a service proposal is and how it is used, you are ready to start working on your very own. Sign up on Business-in-a-Box and download the full template or browse through our 2,000+ business and legal templates. Pick the one that suits you the most and jumpstart your business today!