Construction is all about building, creating, and designing. However, before you can get to all the good stuff, you have to start with a construction proposal. If you want to WOW your potential investors so that they greenlight your project, your proposal needs to be great.
To write an effective construction project proposal, follow these steps:
- Do your research.
- Check state and local laws about proposals.
- Meet with the prospective clients.
- Create a proposal template.
- Include a cover letter.
- Be specific and detailed in each proposal section.
- Include a signature page.
In this article, I’ll break down each of these steps into easy-to-understand instructions. By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have a great idea of how to create a winning construction proposal.
1. Do Your Research
The first step to any successful construction project proposal is research.
You can’t write a reasonable and convincing proposal if you haven’t researched the project. You need to know what you’re talking about before you can talk about it; it’s as simple as that.
Don’t sit down to write your proposal until you’ve thoroughly researched every aspect of what you’ll be writing about and offering. You can’t get someone else to believe in your project unless you believe in it, and you won’t believe in something if you’ve only halfway researched it.
2. Check State and Local Laws Concerning Proposals
According to A Concord Carpenter, different states have distinct guidelines and rules for contract and construction proposals. These rules might govern how you form the proposal and what you must include in it.
Sometimes, these rules only apply to government contracts, but in some states, all proposals must be done a certain way to be considered “legally binding.
3. Meet with Prospective Clients Beforehand
Although this step has the least to do with the actual writing of the proposal, it’s one of the most crucial ones in the entire process. As Devin Dean mentions in the following Youtube video,
“People buy from people. […] Without that people interaction, you have a slim to no chance of getting your project funded.”
He’s not wrong. You have to build a relationship with your clients if you want them to give your project due consideration.
4. Choose a Proposal Template or Create Your Own
Once you’ve met with the clients and done all the necessary research, then you can sit down and start writing.
Start by choosing one of the numerous proposal templates online or create your own. Either way is fine, but make sure you include any information that your state requires. If you use a template, you may have to adjust it to include additional required information.
5. Include a Cover Letter
Start your proposal with a cover letter. In the video above, Dean mentions starting with four aspects:
The cover letter is a great place to add that information. That’s where you can state the problem – i.e., a rundown building, a section of town in need of renovation, etc. – and offer your vision for how to solve that problem.
You can also include the benefits of your proposal and what kind of positive changes your project will bring to the area and the people in it, otherwise known as Deliverables.
It should really sell your project.
In the video, Dean also mentions that people will decide on your project in the first five minutes of reading your proposal. That’s why it’s so essential that your cover letter be detailed and compelling.
6. Be Specific and Detailed in Each Proposal Section
After the cover letter, you’ll need to add the following sections:
- Company profile and contact information
- Cost estimation and success criteria
- Deadlines, plan, and approach
- Agreement statement
Be sure you’re thorough and detailed in each section, and don’t leave out anything important. It’s better to provide too much information than too little.
However, don’t go so overboard that you make it unreadable and boring.
Company Profile + Contact Information
In these sections, you’ll talk about your company.
You’ll add an “about us” section and your company’s mission and vision statements. Be brief and hit the highlights, but don’t sell yourself short. If you’ve worked on other notable projects, mention that.
Afterward, add a contact information section that includes your company’s name, address, website address, email, phone number, and other pertinent information. You can add your personal contact information here, as well.
Cost Estimation + Success Criteria
In this section, you’ll want to outline your future costs in great detail. People want to know how much they will have to pay for something and exactly what their money is buying. Don’t “phone it in” in the cost estimation.
Be sure to cover the following:
- Equipment rentals
- Labor costs
- Subcontracting costs (electrical, plumbing, etc.)
- Zoning fees, etc.
Again, be specific and thorough.
After the costs, you’ll want to add a success criteria section that talks about your goals for the project and how the expenses factor into those goals. This shows people that their money is going to attain things that they can visualize.
Deadlines + Plan + Approach
Outline a timeline for when significant benchmarks of your project should be completed. Set dates that show X part of the project should be completed by X date. Then provide your plan and approach for ensuring that you and your team can meet those deadlines.
Make sure the deadlines are reasonable but don’t be afraid to be a tiny bit optimistic.
Finally, include a references section for people, companies, and government agencies who you previously worked with.
Be sure you add their names, contact information (phone number and email should suffice), and a short description of the project you completed for them (i.e., apartment renovation, town hall annex building construction, etc.).
7. Include a Signature Page
The final section in your proposal packet should be your agreement statement, but it’s included under this heading because the agreement statement should always end with a signature page.
Your agreement statement is the formal, legally binding contract between you and the client. You should write it professionally and formally, and it should contain the following information:
- Detailed outline of the project
- Construction materials
- A summary of costs
- Work schedule
- Payment details
- Construction bond and permits
- A project completed estimate
- Legal rights of the construction company/contractor
- Legal rights of the client
- Compliance section
- Warranties (if applicable)
- Any other pertinent information discussed in the legal agreement between the two parties
Finally, it should end with a signature page with room for both the contractor/construction owner’s signature and the client/customer’s signature. It should also be witnessed and notarized.
If you want your construction project to be successful, you first need to construct a winning project proposal. Doing so takes time, effort, and a little work, but it’s worth it in the end, especially if your project is approved. If you follow the steps listed above, you should be able to write a great, hopefully winning proposal.