[thelist] Paying for proposals?

David Kutcher david_kutcher at hotmail.com
Thu May 2 12:25:01 CDT 2002

My usual rule of thumb is this: if writing the proposal requires extensive
research that will in itself provide insight for the client and provide them
with some value, then I would say yes, I think you can charge for a

Example: In writing a proposal for an existing client, a substantial amount
of research or discovery work needed to be done before adequately writing
the proposal.  This "discovery" work was agreed beforehand to be a
deliverable in conjunction with our proposal that evolved out of it.  So
yes, charging for the proposal was justified.

In almost all other cases, charging for a proposal is nonsense.  You are not
providing the client with any value, goods, or services.  Not only that,
your proposal is your property, copyrighted by you.  So you're not even
giving them intellectual property.

But if you feel confortable charging a client for a proposal of some kind
and feel you can adequately justify it to the client with a bill of
services, then go for it.  I wish I could charge for all of my proposals
because they are certainly a drain on my billable hours (some take up to 20
hours or more), but then again, it's biz-dev work.  It's meant to get you
new business.  And some you win, and some you don't.


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