[thelist] How do I build a proposal for a website?

Andy Budd andy at message.uk.com
Thu Aug 7 10:27:55 CDT 2003

Janet Green wrote:

> Agreed, but the problem is, prospective clients don't always see it 
> that way. You can explain your reluctance at providing actual design 
> ideas, and they may even make noises like they see your point - then 
> they'll select someone else for the job who DID provide them with a 
> little creative. Also in this case it appears that the client 
> specifically requested that she present a color scheme, so they're 
> clearly expecting *something*.  I'm not in any way suggesting that one 
> should do a ton of design work for a proposal - I'm just saying, if 
> the client expects to see a creative concept in your presentation 
> that's tailored to them, and you really want the job, you should 
> provide it in such a way that keeps your time to a minimum. Although 
> in this particular case, with the client stuck on special effects 
> rather than "quality," I'm not sure it would be too great a loss if 
> this project were lost to someone else. It's a balancing act, for 
> sure, as are all aspects of client relations. Balancing the need to 
> secure the work, the desire to do it well and right, and the client's 
> notions of what they want and how it should be done.

It really is a bit of a double edge sword.

If everybody is happy doing creative work for nothing in the hope of 
being thrown a scrap of work every now and again, it really does 
devalue the profession we're in. There will always be somebody more 
hungry than you who is willing to mock up the whole site, so I'd prefer 
not to get involved in that game.

Show the client you understand the brief. Explain to them how your 
process works. Give them examples of you're previous work so they can 
see your creative. If they want to see creative fine, but they should 
pay for it and you should explain that the ideas you're showing are 
just ideas and the final work will need to be based on a whole raft of 
things that you'll only find out in the discovery phase. If they are 
still not happy you're probably best off walking away.

As a little analogy, when I decide where to eat out, I'll have a look 
at some menus, read write ups about the restaurants and gather enough 
info to make a reasonable decision. I would never expect to go round to 
5 restaurants, have the chef's guess the kind of things I like to eat, 
try a sample of everything for free and then settle on the restaurant 
based on what they have cooked me. It's a mad way to run a business and 
if restaurants did this they would soon all go out of business.

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