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How to write a project proposal

A project proposal is a common business document that is sent by companies to other organizations in a bid to enter into a working relationship for a project. The project proposal acts as marketing collateral in a way as it is designed to help you win more business. Therefore project proposals are vital to the success of your business and must be written well.

The ability to produce quality proposals can make or break a business. Project proposals must be well-written, eye-catching, and persuasive easily them the difference between closing a big contract or losing one.

In this article, we’ll cover the basics, dish out some tips for how to improve your conversion rates and explain how to write a killer project proposal.

When do you need a project proposal?

There are several different styles of project proposals, all suited to slightly different business needs and scenarios. However, what ties them together is that each one persuades another company to hire you for a specific scope of work.

The different types of proposals are:

Formally solicited

This is likely the most common type of project proposal. Often called a request for proposal or RFP, these are often required when one business is actively seeking a specific business for the work they do and would like to formally consider them for a project.

Informally solicited

Another less-formal type is those proposals that are sought after a potential customer has expressed interested in doing business with an organization but no formal proposal request process exists. This type of proposal is typically found in smaller businesses.


This proposal is often sent in an attempt to convince the hiring company to add more resources or to add a deadline extension to an existing project.


A continuation proposal is sent as a reminder or to update about a job that was previously approved.


A renewal is sent in an attempt to reboot a project that was canceled or had resources pulled from it.

How is a project proposal different from a business proposal?

Project proposals and business proposals are two different distinct documents. However, they are similar in that they are both sent from one business to another in an attempt to build a working relationship. Each proposal type often has similar structures and contents.

The main difference is that a formal business proposal is a legally-binding contract. It likely contains things like terms and conditions and an area to capture a signature. Project proposals usually don’t have such elements. Project proposals may have signature fields for the purpose of approving the contents of the document, but they aren’t legally enforceable.

How to write a project proposal

It’s important to write your project proposals so that any recipient can follow easily and has every bit of information they need to move forward with the project. Make sure to take the necessary steps below and you’ll be well on your way to writing the perfect project proposal:

Plan ahead

Always make sure that you thoroughly read the RFP (if applicable) and research any other information that you are unsure about. The more you know, and the further ahead you plan, the better you can tailor your approach and stand out from the competition.

Include basic information

At the beginning of the proposal, you’ll want to add a section that includes every basic detail about your business, the project, and how you plan to approach the task. This section should include things like your company name, your background and relevant experience, your contact info, and anything else you think is necessary.

Project summary

Somewhere near the top or start of the proposal should be a summary of your planned approach. This will help the decision makers to identify key facts when skimming a large volume of proposals.

This section can have as much or as little detail as you think is right for the context, but should give the reader a good idea of what you will do and how you work. Always try to link back the main goals of the project to show that your approach is focussed on the task at hand.

Pricing information

Money is a big factor for everyone involved in the proposal process and it is often the main consideration for the proposal recipient. Be as specific and realistic as you can about projected budget and costs. Break down pricing to make it explicitly clear where the money that the recipient is spending will go.


Tie everything together and restate the crucial points, linking them back to the specific needs of the project and customer and how your approach will ensure the project’s success.

Simplify your proposal writing

It can be daunting writing an important proposal, but PandaDoc makes the process incredibly straightforward. Choose a proposal template to get started then add extra elements by simply dragging and dropping them right into your sales documents. Embed images, videos, pricing tables, eSignatures, and much more.

Start writing more effective project proposals

Writing project proposals is a valuable skill for any business that can make a massive difference to your bottom line. Now, with the help of proposal software like PandaDoc, you can produce a professional, high-impact project proposal document in just a few minutes. Reinvigorate your project proposals today.