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How do you quote?

FreelanceProblems · 17/11/2016 10:33

Advice needed.....

I am a marketing freelancer and my quoting process naturally involves communicating my suggestions to potential clients.

The problem is, sometimes this information is nothing short of a strategy - which I should be billing for.

It also takes A LOT of time!

How do you avoid this? Or how do you reassure your clients that they should choose you without giving away this level of detail?

Any suggestions? Tactics? Advice?

How have you managed to avoid this and how do you manage to win jobs without giving this level of reassurance?

I'm sure the answer isn't as complicated as I am making it out to be in my head but I don't have anyone to ask irl!

Grateful for any words of wisdom!

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MrsMargoLeadbetter · 18/11/2016 22:11


Marketing freelancer here too. I think there is always going to be an element of giving a little way, so you can 'prove yourself' and show you have ideas.

If you feel like you are giving too much away, can you cut back? So a silly eg:


I will prepare a strategy to market your hairdressers to young women who live and work in the area using Facebook ads and a promo person standing on the street.

More like:

I will prepare a marketing strategy for you to reach an agreed target audience. This is likely to be a mulitchannel approach.

My proposals take a while. I had feedback from 2 potentials a few years ago that made me realise I needed to provide a more detailed proposal. I use a template but even so it still takes time to talior it.

I have received good feedback on my proposals but I don't always win the work.

DH works for one of the big four consulting firms, he suggested I consider the likelihood of winning.

A recent proposal was through a recommendation and I was the only one they were talking to - so that was much more likely than the tender I was also given. However, being a perfectionist I am not sure about doing an 'ok' proposal, I like to give each one my all!

Is there anyone in your network you trust that could review a proposal and give you feedback?

I have found tendering services (for clients) really interesting as you see different approaches.

Finally, do you check out potential orgs accounts before you quote? Companies House docs used to be charged for, but they now appear to be free.

The docs cannot tell you everything, but it might help you understand if they can afford you. If they cannot not, then writing a proposal is a waste of your time.

Quite a long answer, not sure if it helps!!

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gottogetdressed · 20/11/2016 16:43

I'm not in the same line of work, so not sure if my approach would work, and I also rarely respond to actual tenders - more approaches by potential clients. However, I tend to play back to them my version of what it is they want - then explain some objectives I think they'd benefit from achieving, and finally set out a list of key activities I would deliver in order to help them do that. All without giving too much detail away, but showing them I know what I am talking about... Does that make any sense?

So to use Margot's example above, I might say

  • You need to attract a new client group to your salon but dont know how to reach them
  • You need to improve your profile with this group. have a clear strategy on how to do this, and ensure your messaging reaches this group.
    -I can do this by defining your target audience and preparing a mutli-channel approach through a new strategy.

    (caveat - i have no idea about marketing - but hopefully this explains the idea!)

    Agree with above re checking out clients too. I use Duedil website as easy way to search for info, although more and more is behind a paywall now.
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FreelanceProblems · 25/11/2016 19:54

MrsMargoLeadbetter & gottogetdressed thank you for your responses, really appreciated!

I do check company accounts, and I do have a soft quote when I don't think the likelihood of a quote being successful is high.

MrsMargoLeadbetter, did you create your template or do you use a pre(ish) designed one? I wonder if having a set of questions that I need to address, rather than things which are so project specific may enable me to skirt some of the detail.

I have consistently cut down the amount of detail I provided in my quotes but I am still feeling like I give too much away. I have tried to go all the way to the other side and be vague, but was told I needed to add more detail.

I guess, as you say, its part of the business. And, I will take your advice gottogetdressed and focus on their objectives more, over all the ways in which I will help them achieve them.

Thanks again guys

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