Freelance - Real World Website Development Proposals
Writing a website development proposal is time consuming, but without one you
are not likely to get the project. If do you accept a project without a proposal, you
might end up very sorry.
View your proposal as a contract. In many cases, the proposal IS the only contract
between a website developer and a client. A proposal defines a “meeting of the minds”
between you and your client. You don't want to invest time and resources into a
project if you and your client have different ideas of what the project is.
I am not lawyer. I am providing this information based my personal experience
both as an independent contractor providing service, and as a representative of a large
corporation purchasing service from independent contractors. By using this material,
you assume complete responsibility for any and all damages resulting from that use.
The biggest problem with writing a proposal is that after you invest considerable
work and time into developing a proposal, you may not get the project. Even worse,
the prospective client, armed with your proposal, can get a lower bid from another company.
For this reason, some services charge a fee for developing a proposal. But if you approach
a potential client with the idea of paying for a proposal, you are not likely to get the project.
Even before the proposal process begins, a prospective client will most likely require
you to sign a non-disclosure agreement. In order to develop a website for the client,
you may become privy to confidential information. A non-disclosure agreement
prohibits you from disclosing information about the prospective client's business.
A problem can develop if you need to outsource part of the project. Make sure that
any companies or individuals that you outsource work to also sign a non-disclosure agreement.
A non-compete agreement prohibits you from competing with the prospective
client in the same business that they are in. Make sure that you do not, and do not plan
to, engage in any of the same business areas that the client is in. Make sure the
non-compete agreement has an expiration date, or you may be prohibited from engaging in
certain business areas forever.
The schedule is the backbone of the proposal. It defines what you will do, when you
will do it, and when you will get paid. In order to maintain cash flow, a website
development project is usually divided into phases. Each phase has a time interval and a
deliverable at the end of the time interval.
After transferring a phase's deliverable, the client has a set time limit to accept or
“sign off” on the deliverable. After accepting the deliverable, the client has a set time
limit to make payment for completion of the phase.
Defining the Project
Before writing a proposal, you and the prospective client must create a list of
features and functions that the website will require. What user response forms will the
website have? Will the website feature a user forum? Will the website have a search
function? Will it be an e-commerce website?
What will be the “look and feel” of the website? What kind of navigation system will
it have? What graphics images will it display? Draw a hierarchical structure chart of the
website. Draw flow charts of the website's functions. Draw a rough “story board” of
the website's pages.
complete written specification of the proposed website.