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17 May 2024

How to Price Proposals the Right Way

Time to read:

3 Minutes

The Saturday Freelancer is free thanks to ClientManager

Kyle Prinsloo


Client asks you for a quote.

Who are you in this example?

Nat Miletic:  Guess and send the best-sounding number you can come up with.

Karen:  Quickly figure out what other freelancers are charging.

Bob:  Implement a solid plan for creating and pricing proposals that land you the right jobs and clients.

In this edition of the Saturday Freelancer, I'll cover the best approach.

Here's a hint: Nat is always wrong.

As a freelancer, you need to view every quote request as an important opportunity, not just to land one more project, but potentially a great repeat client.  

Let’s break it down:

  • Step 1: Start with the right pricing mindset

  • Step 2: Create a killer proposal 

  • Step 3: Price your proposals like a pro

(I cover all of this in-depth in this video)

Here’s a brief walk-through so you can start actioning right away:  

Starting with the right pricing mindset

Don't start out charging hourly.

This only makes sense when the project scope is undefined.

And I explain why here.

It might seem more straightforward, but it limits your earning potential. 

And the sucky thing is, the more efficient you get, the less you earn. 

The better option is value-based pricing

Instead of selling your time, you’re selling solutions that solve your client’s problems and help achieve their goals.

You can put a much higher price tag on that. (Plus a bunch of other good reasons I discuss here.)

The value-based pricing model means you need to get clear and concrete on the value you can deliver for the client.

That takes a little more homework and effort in the proposal, but it pays off big time if you do it right. 

Creating a killer proposal 

The first step, pre-proposal, is to understand the client.

You need to have a clear idea of their business, pain points, goals, and the specific problem they need you to solve.


How do you get this info? 

Set up a discovery call or send them a well-designed client intake form. 

Pro tip: If you feel like the client may have a limited budget, ask them:

“Do you have a budget set aside for this project and is it at least over $xxx (insert your absolute minimum desired amount)?”

This will then justify further questioning, and help you decide whether you should bother sending a proposal through.

Once you have this overall picture, your whole proposal should be based on solving that problem: presenting the solution + value you’re going to deliver.

Back up your claims with data, case studies, or examples from your portfolio.

Here’s an outline of what your proposal should include:

  • Intro/Cover Page

  • Project Overview (business context, problem & solution)

  • Quote Options (more on this below)

  • Terms of Agreement (payment and delivery terms)

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time. 

Download this web design proposal template for free.

Price your proposal like a pro

There are 2 key strategies I like to share for pricing proposals effectively.

Strategy #1: Price anchoring based on value.


Let’s say an insurance company comes to you and asks you to increase their leads through their website.

Based on your research of the company and what their competitors are doing better, you make the following recommendation in your proposal:

“Our goal would be to double the conversion rate for free consultations to at least 4% - a low estimate based on results in similar industries focused around effective calls-to-action (free consultations). At an average value of $1,250 per client and based on double your existing monthly client sign ups, I’m confident we could achieve 4 additional sign ups per month (4 x $1,250 = $5,000) or 48 additional sign ups per year (48 x $1,250 = $60,000).”

So what you’re doing is setting up the Potential Return, and using that to justify your proposed price for the project.

Strategy #2: The power of three pricing options

Always give your client 3 tiered pricing options (packages) to choose from. 

Option 1 is a basic package and option 3 is a ‘premium’ package. 

Your goal is that the client goes with option 2 or 3. 

Option 2 should only be around 30% more than Option 1 so it looks more appealing.

Option 3 should be 20-40% higher than Option 2, which also makes Option 2 (the middle choice) seem more reasonable.

Example pricing:

Basic: Essential website redesign and optimization - $3,750 

Standard: Adds on SEO optimization and marketing integrations - $5,000

Premium: All the above, plus a bunch of extras (additional landing pages, directory listings, software integrations, etc)  - $7,000

Put these strategies together, and adjust your pricing based on what you know about the client’s budget, as well as your own experience and portfolio. 


- Don't guess or copy others' rates; create detailed proposals.

- Treat every quote request as a chance for repeat clients.

- Use value-based pricing instead of hourly rates.

- Understand the client's needs with discovery calls or intake forms.

- Create proposals focused on solving the client's problems.

- Include an intro, project overview, quote options, and terms.

- Use price anchoring to show potential returns.

- Offer three pricing options to give clients choices.

Have a good one, and chat to you next week!

Thanks for reading!


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