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A Winning Proposition

Gone are the days when job quotes were written on the back of business cards or on paper napkins. Today, most job proposals average half a dozen pages in length and are often supplemented with company brochures, proposed drawings of an event and contracts. From the meeting planner’s point of view, writing proposals or job estimating is one of the most time-consuming and difficult challenges he or she faces. And customers say that reading them isn't a whole lot better. So why do customers ask for detailed proposals or written estimates? And why is vital to your business assets that you provide your estimates in writing?

Proposals are paramount within the meetings and events industry because customers want to compare offers from various suppliers to make sure that they buy the highest-value solution based on what differentiates a company from its competitors. At a simpler level, the customer may just want to compare prices and clarify complex information. For you, providing a written detailed proposal, clarifying deliverables, exclusions and how “job” changes are treated, is imperative in protecting your company’s interests.

Remember, it’s important to communicate your process of dealing with change orders, subcontractors, schedule delays and estimates that may change based on unforeseen situations. You want to think of everything that you need to include in the proposal in order to protect yourself and lessen any costs that may lessen your profit margin, all while clearly communicating what you can do for your customer.

When writing a proposal, think to yourself: If you were standing in front of a judge, you have to ask yourself: Were we clear enough? Did we give enough info? Did we provide all the specifications for the job? Did we leave anything out that may come back to haunt us in the future?

Experts agree that, whether your proposal or estimate is four or 40 pages in length, that you have an attorney review the general clauses, assumptions or specifications that are included in your proposal template to ensure the language of the document clearly communicates responsibilities — financial and otherwise — of you and your customers.