Building a proposal is just like building any other form template, with a few extra bells and whistles. Because the proposal plays such a vital role in your overall process, it can be easy to get bogged down with the design. However, ensuring the proposal is set up to function correctly is key.
This article focuses on creating a package selection proposal. If you need to create a custom quote, check out our webinar on custom package proposals!
Step 1: Create Package Templates
If you have not done so already, you'll need to create package templates for all of the options you would like your clients to choose from on your proposal. Anything that should be possible to select separately should be its own package. You might also create packages for "add ons" to your main services - these are still packages!
Step 2: Build Your Proposal
Under Templates >> Forms >> Proposals, add a new proposal by clicking the plus sign or open an existing sample template to customize.
Packages are added to your proposal using the package element:
- Add a package element to the form.
- Click on the package element once added to the form to edit it.
- Select a package template from the drop down.
- Edit the appearance of the package on the proposal using the text box.
- Click Close when finished.
- Continue adding the rest of your packages.
You can use the smart fields under Smart Fields >> Packages to autofill information from the package template onto the proposal for display, or type out the details from scratch for full control. Review all of the available package smart fields here.
Step 3: Add Additional Form Fields (Optional)
Now that your packages are in place, this would be a good opportunity to add in any additional form fields for information you'd like to collect at this time. You do want to keep the proposal process as easy for the client as possible, so we recommend keeping additional fields to the bare minimum and sending a questionnaire after the client is signed on to gather all the details you need for working together.
But, if you want to show the client's address in the contract and haven't collected that information yet, now would be a good time! You could also add a file uploader element and ask the client to upload a file that pertains to the project if you need it at this stage.
Step 4: Focus on Design
Once the functional elements of your proposal - the packages and form fields - have been added, you can focus on the design. The layout of your proposal is entirely up to you and the experience you'd like to create for your client!
Here are some tips for effective proposal designs:
- Use a column element to display the packages side-by-side so that your client can easily compare what is included and choose the best option for them.
- If there is a lot of detail to include with each package, it might be easier for your client to digest if you put each package in its own row.
- Adding images to enhance each package can be achieved with the image element. If you'd like the images to appear uniform in size on the proposal, ensure they are all the same dimensions before uploading them to Dubsado.
- Break the proposal down into steps for the client so they feel guided through the process. For example, Step 1: Pick a Package, Step 2: Add Upgrades, Step 3: Confirm Your Address. You can also add some text with "next steps" to the bottom of your proposal so that your client knows what to expect if you've included the contract and invoice.
Step 5: Connect Your Contract, Invoice, and Other Settings
Click on the Settings tab when you're finished building your proposal.
- Expiration Date Type - If you'd like this proposal template to have a default expiration date, set that here. A relative expiration date will change based on the trigger you select. We recommend setting a fixed expiration date after adding a proposal to a project instead of to the template itself.
- Show Contract - Check Show Contract to automatically attach a contract to this proposal and select a contract template from the dropdown. It is not possible to change which contract is attached based on the package selected, but you can use invoice smart fields in your contract to display the chosen packages!
- Show Invoice - Check Show Contract to automatically display the primary invoice along with the proposal. Packages selected on the proposal are automatically added to the primary invoice when the proposal is submitted.
- Allow client to choose multiple packages - Check this to allow clients to select more than one package, leave this unchecked to allow clients to select only ONE package on the entire proposal.
- Will this invoice have a payment schedule? - Select a payment schedule template here to automatically add it to the invoice. NOTE: If you plan on sending your proposal through a workflow and will be attaching a payment schedule to the workflow, leave this blank.
- Allow clients to apply discounts? - Select any discounts you'd like to allow on the invoice generated by this proposal here.
If you'd like to create a public, embeddable proposal, there are additional settings.
Step 6: Save, Test, and Send!
Don't forget to save your proposal template by clicking Save in the upper right corner! Now you can send your proposal to your clients manually through a project or automatically through a workflow. If this is your first time creating a proposal, or you've made a brand new proposal, we recommend taking it for a test drive first!
Testing Your Proposal
To test your proposal, follow the steps for sending a proposal manually below on a test project where you are the client. When you open the proposal, be sure to do so in an incognito/private browser window OR on a device where you are not logged into Dubsado. Otherwise, you will see an error.
Sending a Proposal Manually
Sending a proposal through a project is just like sending any other form:
- Open the project and go to the Forms tab.
- Select your proposal template from the dropdown list.
- In the top right corner of the preview modal that appears, click Add.
- If you are ready, click Send. There is no other action required if you attached a contract and invoice in the settings of your proposal template, they will be attached automatically when you send the proposal!
- If you need to make changes, click Edit. Adding the proposal to the project made a fresh copy from the template, so you can make adjustments to the packages, text, and images before sending.
Sending a Proposal Through a Workflow
To add your proposal to a workflow, use the send form action. If you attached the contract and invoice in the settings of the proposal template, you DO NOT need to add extra actions to send the contract or create an invoice - this will all happen automatically when you send the proposal!
If you have a payment schedule selected at the top of your workflow, make sure that you have NOT specified a payment schedule in your proposal settings. Having a payment schedule in both templates will cause an error.
- Learn about custom package proposals.
- Require a package on a proposal.
- Allow clients to select their own quantity for a package.
- Create a public proposal that you can embed on your website.