7 free and downloadable project proposal templates

Project managers use proposals to sell projects or get funding from decision-makers. Learn how to write persuasive proposals.

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You just received your first request for a proposal from a client! You're excited to share your ideas and show why you are the right person for the job. But now you need to figure out how to create a project proposal to win you the bid. How long should it be? What should you include? How do you write it?

Instead of building a proposal from scratch, consider using a project proposal template.

A project proposal template is a ready-to-use document designed to convince stakeholders or decision-makers to approve a project idea or hire you to execute it. It usually contains details like goals, objectives, budget, deliverables, and the timeline of a project.

In this post, we’ll provide you with seven proposal templates for internal and external projects. We will also share a list of elements to include and provide a list of best practices to create a successful project proposal.

The anatomy of a winning project proposal

At Float, our team is always buzzing with ideas. Our project proposal briefs capture the ones that have passed multiple rounds of scrutiny. It's at this stage that we determine if we'll go after them or not.

Instead of building briefs from scratch, we save time by using a template that helps us build a case for our proposed project. Here’s a breakdown of the structure of our project briefs.

Proposed budget and appetite

We're always thinking about our team's workload—juggling what projects need to get done and the people we have to deliver them. Hence, we ensure that we define how long each project is going to take and what percentage of time team members working on it will have.

Purpose

This part of the proposal explains the why of the project. It is a good place to show how the idea will support the company’s larger goals or client needs.

Target outcomes

In this section, we highlight what we plan to achieve at the end of the project. We ensure that our stated outcomes are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

Proposed solution

We outline what we plan to do or build to solve the problem.

Visual elements like charts, diagrams, and images can aid decision-makers in better comprehending your solution. So don't hesitate to add them. However, it is important to maintain a high-level approach to prevent losing your readers' attention.

Risks and Rabbit holes

No project is without risks. This section outlines the known risks that might derail our project. We also identify potential distractions that might divert our attention from the crucial parts of the project.

Boundaries

In this section, we define the scope of the projects, which helps us establish the boundaries to ensure we stay within the desired limits.

➡️ Download a free copy of our project proposal template

7 project proposal templates

We have curated a collection of ready-to-use project proposal templates that cover a wide range of projects, from construction to design.

1. Simple project proposal template

Sometimes, a simple proposal is all you need to convince stakeholders to sign off on your idea. These types of proposals need two things. First, they must contain the most important information about the project. Second, they must be easy to skim and scan.

Simple project proposal template

This template created by Little Studio, a design agency, is ideal for uncomplicated proposals. You can easily use this proposal document to assemble a professional proposal in less time. While it is simple, it has comprehensive sections that ensure you include all the essential details needed to convince prospective clients.

It contains

  • A general overview of the proposed project
  • Clearly defined deliverables
  • The goals of the project
  • The people working on the project  
  • The estimated costs

➡️ Access a simple project proposal template

2. Product/Engineering project proposal template

You need a good and well-written proposal when making a case for a new product feature. Especially because it involves a significant investment of the engineering or product team’s time.

A sure win is to clearly outline your idea, the benefits, risks, and the details about the technical aspects of implementation.

Product/engineering project proposal template

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"Try to describe the exact problem, who is going to be affected by this problem, and how you plan to solve it. Be as specific as possible and do not make unrealistic assumptions. Then sketch and explain your solution's implementation and potential implications across various areas."

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<pull-quote-author>Cristina Soponar, Senior Application Engineer</pull-quote-author>

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This template created by Stephen Whitworth, the CEO of incident.io, is ideal for engineers who want to define a problem and propose how to solve it. This template can be used for technical engineering propositions to product strategy.

This template contains sections for  

  • The problem
  • Benefits of pursuing the idea
  • The proposed solution
  • Risks

➡️ Access a Product/Engineering project proposal template

3. Construction project proposal template

Got a building project you want to land? Outline the details and plans for a construction project using this template.

A rule of thumb is to also add inclusions and exclusions to avoid complications when the project is underway.

Construction bid proposal template

This construction proposal template by PandaDoc, a leading e-signature company, is best used in the bidding process. It contains sections for important information like

  • Project description
  • Terms
  • Changes to the scope of work
  • Bid price
  • Payment terms

➡️ Access a construction project proposal template

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<sme-author>Christian de Witt</sme-author>

<sme-position>Senior Application Engineer</sme-position>

<sme-quotes>Why are project proposals important?

Project proposals communicate your ideas, plans, and objectives to stakeholders and other team members. Here are some benefits they provide:

Proposals structure and organize ideas: They provide a structured and organized format to convey intentions, technical approaches, timelines, and expected outcomes. This makes it easy to align the team with these expectations so that everyone understands what the project entails.

Proposals help you build a strong case for new ideas: The documentation supporting project proposals serves as a basis for evaluation and approval by the relevant stakeholders. They enable decision-makers to decide if the idea is feasible and if it aligns with business goals.

Proposals help your team identify project risks beforehand: Collaborating on project proposals allows teams to proactively identify potential risks and challenges associated with the project. They are better positioned to develop a strategy to mitigate these risks and their impact on the project's success.

Proposals can serve as technical documentation: They can be used as a starting point for related project documentation required during the project lifecycle, such as technical specifications, implementation plans, and usage content.

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4. IT project proposal template

Need to implement or upgrade IT systems, develop software applications, or undertake technology-related initiatives?

Your proposal doesn’t need to be pages long or super technical (depending on your audience). Focus on communicating the value of your project, as this will increase your chances of getting buy-in.

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<quote>

"The key element of any proposal is to clearly articulate the problem it aims to solve and its impact on the end customer."

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<pull-quote-author>Cristina Soponar</pull-quote-author>

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This proposal template from Panda Doc (again!) is best for detailed project proposals that offer specifics about the technical aspects of your solution. This template will help you communicate your plan, timeline, and expertise. It includes:

  • A summary section
  • A proposed solution section
  • A service costs and plans section
  • A pricing options section

➡️ Access an IT project proposal template

5. Design project proposal template

Use this design proposal template to communicate the vision, process, and outcome for your client’s project.

Don’t hesitate to use visuals and images to show your stakeholders or clients to communicate your idea, highlight important information or simplify ideas.  

Design project proposal template

This design proposal template from the team at Pitch, a presentation software company, is visually engaging and compelling. It is best for designers who want to pitch a redesign, point out areas of improvement, or showcase their design ideas.

It contains sections for

  • Defining the problem
  • Explaining the solution
  • Stating the value proposition
  • Listing pricing options
  • Sharing case studies
  • Including a contact page

➡️ Access a design project proposal template

6. Consulting proposal template

A consulting proposal template is a time-saving tool you can use to convince prospective clients to work with you.

While showing your expertise is important, ensure that your proposal focuses on the client and how you intend to solve their problem.

Consulting proposal template

This consulting proposal template by the team at Hubspot, a customer relationship management platform, is the most comprehensive proposal we found. It is an eight-section template that covers strategy, timelines, costs, and other important information. You can provide the client details about:

  • Project objectives
  • Proposed strategy
  • Timeline of milestones
  • Team members
  • Estimated costs

➡️ Access a consulting project proposal template

7. Web design proposal template

Whether it is a website for a small non-profit or a website for a large corporation, clients will always appreciate seeing a vivid picture of the final product.

This eye-catching template is just what you need to create a winning web design proposal.

Web design proposal template

If you need to get the attention of a prospective client, we recommend this customizable template from the design tool, Canva. With provisions for pictures, graphs, and text, you can convince them you're right for the job using the template. It contains sections for details about

  • The proposed solution
  • The design approach
  • Your team
  • Payment options
  • Customer testimonials.

➡️ Access a web design project proposal template

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Best practices for writing project proposals

Here are some recommended tips to keep in mind when writing project proposals.

1. Understand the problem before writing your proposal

There might be a short timeline for submitting your proposal. It is tempting to rush in and send one over as quickly as possible. But the disadvantage is that you might not have time to truly uncover the problem you’re trying to solve.

“One of the top mistakes when writing a proposal is not documenting the problem adequately and providing a general solution,” says Soponar.

She suggests doing some more research to help you articulate the problem. This will help you avoid providing a general solution that might not be right for the project.

“Engaging with all individuals affected by the specific problem is important to avoid this mistake. Gather information about their unique challenges, then develop a solution meeting everyone's needs.”

2. Include a clear problem statement

A clear problem statement sets the foundation for a successful project. Your solutions are more likely to be specific and accurate. And your stakeholders are more likely to trust in your recommendations because you have a good understanding of the problem.

“The key element of any proposal is to clearly articulate the problem it aims to solve and its impact on the end customer,” says Soponar.

Similarly, your ability to show the project's positive effects will make it more convincing. “ If you can quantify the anticipated impact of the proposed solution and provide relevant measurements, the likelihood of approval significantly increases.”

3. Think like a salesperson

Just like a good salesperson has an understanding of their audience and the benefits of their solution, a good proposal is tailored for the right audience and clearly communicates the value of the project.

“A project proposal, in many ways, overlaps with a common sales pitch. Therefore,  it is important to understand the purpose of the project and the audience you are presenting it to,” says De Witt.

He points out that this might influence the way in which information is conveyed in the proposal document.

4. Be ready to defend your ideas

Even if you have an air-tight proposal, your stakeholders might have questions or concerns about your solution.

de Witt suggests preparing beforehand to handle any questions or concerns over the proposed approach. You should also be prepared to collaborate with your team to iron out any of the issues to create a clear plan.

Create accurate project proposals with Float

An essential element of a good project proposal is accurate estimates. And because project managers can’t see into the future 🔮, you need to use a tool that provides tentative planning.  

In Float, you can create plans for proposed projects that are yet to be approved. Your tentative projects can provide you with information about timelines, costs, and needed resources. This will bring you closer to creating better estimates.

You can also use data from past projects to improve future estimates when you use Float to keep track of hours worked, timelines, and budgets spent on human resources.

Ready to start creating effective project proposals? Try for free today

FAQs

What is the purpose of a project proposal?

Project managers use proposals to sell projects or get funding from decision-makers. It's essential for securing a project's go-ahead or the estimated financial resources.  

It also helps set out how you plan to implement the project if it's approved. Before you write a proposal, you must identify how it will work, what could go wrong, and how to manage it. This process ensures that your plan is concrete and well thought out.

Lastly, a project proposal helps gather feedback from decision-makers on your idea.

What is the format for a project proposal document?

Although the specific format may differ based on the organization and project type, there are some essential elements to include in every proposal.

These typically encompass the project's purpose, proposed solution, scope and deliverables (or success criteria), risk assessment and mitigation, timeline, milestones, and expected resource allocation.

What are the 4 types of project proposals?

Here are four common types of project proposals:

Internal proposals

This is a proposal created for stakeholders within your organization. Depending on how your organization works, it might be an informal document. For instance, if you suggest some ways your teammates can improve internal processes in the company, your boss might ask you to write a proposal they can share with C-level executives.

External proposals

An external proposal is used to win a bid or offer from another organization.

This is quite formal and usually includes details about why you are qualified to execute the project. For example, a government agency sends out a request for a proposal (RFP) to redesign its website and your agency bids on it.

Solicited proposals

A solicited proposal is one that the recipient requests.

For instance, a document prepared in response to an RFP is a solicited proposal. You could also consider the proposed plan for improving internal processes as a solicited proposal.

Unsolicited proposals

Unsolicited project proposals are usually sent when you want new business.

The client might be unaware of the problem, and you have to convince them that it exists and you have a solution.