presenting a quote to a client


I’m fresh out of school and I have a potential job opportunity for which I need to come up with an estimate. I’ve broken everything down for myself, and allocated an appropriate number of hours to each task(x2 cause it always takes that much longer!)…so I have an idea of how much I will be charging…

But this pertains more to how I should be presenting that to the client… Should I present the breakdown of all the tasks. And is it necessary to tell them how much I’ll be charging myself an hour? Would anyone have an example of one?

Any suggestions will be really appreciated!




Send me a note back channel and I could send you a copy of the first proposal I submitted to a client. I remember sweating over the price then I had cohorts (and my folks) convince me to double it. It was accepted, and about six months later after I’d spent the interim subsequently working with the same client as a contract employee they told me how the next proposal submittee’s price was about five times what mine was. So maybe you should double your price again!



I break down simple proposals like this:

Goal - What is the end goal of the project (eg. a housing for a piece of equipment)

Objectives - What needs to get done in order to reach the goal (eg. competitive research, customer research, concept development , refinement, prototype, data for tooling, vendor management, etc). I like to be relatively specific here; how many respndents, how many concepts, etc. This way if they want more you can point to the proposal and say you can do it but you will charge more. You don’t have to reveal your methodology (how your do your brainstorming, how much time it will take).

Deliverables - What they get for their money (eg. 10 renderings, research report, 2 prototypes, etc).

Budget and timing - How much in what amount of time

Legal mumbo jumbo - Stuff about changes in scope, out of pocket expences, etc.

Google freelance contacts and you will get a lot of info.

Complicated, multiphase programs lasting monthes will get flow charts and a more detailed write-up and probably a capabilities presentation. Remember, you need to charge for your time to write the proposal. The bigger the paycheck, the more detaile dthe proposal.

The most important is setting up the relationship so that you can get more chance.

About project, I suggest you can report the process. If you know the details of each phase. you can report the schedule, price, key point and solution etc of each phase.

thanks iab…that helps a lot.



Don’t forget this point too: You’re working for yourself, not this client. By that, I mean that you’re providing a service to your client, but you are not their employee. How much you charge an hour, your daily working schedule, and inner working details of your business are really not the client’s business.

Everybody’s given good advice thus far, and iad’s list of what to show is pretty complete. Just don’t fall victim to what many young designers (myself included at the time) tend to do when they low bid and undersell their services in the hopes of getting the job at all. You need to remember to charge what you’re worth, and be prepared to walk away if the client isn’t willing to pay for your services. In my experience a client who doen’t want to pay isn’t worth the time anyway.

Good luck!

really great advise all around.

Here’s another idea, contact IDSA( and ask for the standard business forms that they have. They may be helpful to review relative to the contract part.

This is a constant debate in companies that produce costed proposals: to show or not show the breakdown. At previous employer I studied this, with telling results:

Proposals that included a costed detailed WBS with charge rates were successful, profitable and earned repeat projects.

Proposals that included minimal cost information got into trouble often at the proposal stage. Usually the response was to lower the proposal price to make it acceptable for the client, often for the same scope of work. These projects often were unprofitable, strangely earning repeat projects that also were unprofitable. Client knew he could beat us up for a deal.

If you provide all your costing information, it’s all there to defend if complaints of too high or when scope creep occurs. In my company now it’s standard practice to include all costing information. Generally, I believe hiding information from someone you want to succeed with is a bad thing.