Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

Javier Escartin

An engineer who loves proposals

Key ideas for charging what you’re worth as a freelance proposal professional and delivering results

Dollar bill representing freelancers and consultants fees in proposal management and writing
Photo by Kenny Eliason

This post presents a compilation of ideas I’ve personally experienced when consulting as a proposal manager and discussed with other professionals in my newsletter.

Some of these topics are covered in detail in different posts in this same blog, so dive into it for more information about processes, best practices, methodologies, techniques, resources, tips, and tricks.

To receive tips, stories, and insights on bidding, proposals, and tech—along with valuable resources—directly in your inbox for free, sign up here: Top Proposals Stuff.

Strategic Pricing for Freelance Proposal Experts

Freelance proposal writing jobs and bid management roles demand a nuanced approach to pricing. It’s crucial to balance risk and reward, especially when dealing with proposal manager remote jobs and bid writer home based positions. Here’s a breakdown of effective pricing strategies tailored for freelance proposal professionals.

For First-Time Clients:

  • Hourly Rates: Ideal for initial engagements, hourly billing places the risk on the client but requires clear communication of value and boundaries. It’s suitable for proposal writing jobs remote and grant writing jobs, where scope may initially be undefined.
  • Fixed Price Contracts: Preferred when the scope is clear and predictable. This approach is appealing in proposal management jobs and bid writing jobs remote, allowing for a higher margin and shared risk, fostering trust and reliability.

Transitioning to Long-Term Engagements:

  • Value-Based Pricing: Moving beyond time-based billing, consider value-based pricing for long-term clients. This involves setting prices based on the value delivered, particularly effective in proposal management and grant writing job descriptions, where your expertise can significantly impact the client’s success.
  • Performance Incentives: Incorporate incentives for successful outcomes, aligning your interests with those of your clients. This is especially relevant in proposal management jobs and bid management roles and responsibilities, where your work directly contributes to winning bids.

Retainers for Availability:

  • Availability Retainers: For clients requiring sporadic but crucial support, an availability retainer ensures you’re compensated for being on call. This is a strategic option for proposal manager qualifications and bid writer qualifications, offering stability in freelance careers.

Incorporating these pricing strategies into your freelance proposal or bid writing career not only maximizes your earning potential but also aligns your goals with those of your clients, fostering long-term partnerships. Whether you’re involved in proposal writing and management or bid management, tailoring your pricing approach to the client’s needs and project scope is key to success.

Embracing Asynchronous Work in Proposal Management

The shift towards remote proposal management has opened the door to more asynchronous work styles, a change that brings significant benefits in terms of efficiency, flexibility, and work-life balance. Removing the expectation of immediate responses, encapsulated in the ubiquitous “ASAP,” is a critical step in this transition.

Benefits of Asynchronous Work:

  • Enhanced Focus: Without the constant interruptions of immediate responses and real-time communications, team members can dive deeper into their tasks, leading to higher quality work.
  • Greater Flexibility: Asynchronous work allows team members to contribute at times when they are most productive, accommodating different time zones and personal schedules.
  • Reduced Meeting Fatigue: Limiting synchronous meetings to those that are absolutely necessary frees up time and energy for focused work on proposals.

Making the Shift:

  • Clear Communication: Setting clear expectations for response times and using collaborative tools effectively can ensure smooth information flow without the need for immediate replies.
  • Prioritization: Emphasizing the importance of prioritizing tasks allows team members to manage their workload more effectively, focusing on what truly matters for the proposal’s success.
  • Cultural Shift: Moving away from the ASAP mentality requires a cultural shift within the team, fostering an environment where quality and thoughtfulness are valued over speed.

By adopting an asynchronous work style, proposal teams can leverage the full benefits of remote work, leading to more thoughtful, well-crafted proposals and a more satisfied, balanced team.

The Value-Based Pricing Debate in Proposal Management

The discussion around value-based pricing in proposal management and bid writing is more relevant than ever. A recent poll among proposal professionals revealed a surprising consensus against charging significantly more for high-value RFPs, sparking a vital conversation about how we value our work in proposal writing jobs and bid management roles.

Understanding Value-Based Pricing:

  • Impact Over Hours: In proposal writing and management, your contribution should be measured by the impact on your client’s success, not just the time spent. This approach aligns your compensation with the value delivered, especially in high-stakes proposal manager jobs and bid management jobs.

The Case for Higher Fees on High-Value RFPs:

  • Revenue Proportional Compensation: Charging more for managing proposals for larger contracts is logical when considering the potential revenue impact. This is particularly pertinent for proposal manager remote jobs and bid writer remote roles, where your expertise can significantly influence the outcome.

The Community’s Perspective:

  • Surprising Consensus: The overwhelming response against increased charges for high-value RFPs challenges the conventional wisdom of value-based pricing. This highlights a potential gap between perceived effort and the strategic importance of proposals in grant writing jobs, proposal management jobs, and beyond.

Moving Forward:

  • Re-evaluating Our Approach: This feedback invites us to reconsider how we value our services in the proposal writing career. Are we undervaluing our impact, or is there a need for a more nuanced approach to pricing in proposal management and bid writing?
  • Open Dialogue: Engaging in conversations, whether on LinkedIn or other platforms, can help us share insights and strategies for navigating these challenges in proposal writing jobs remote, bid management, and related fields.

This debate underscores the need for a shift in how we perceive and value our contributions in proposal management and bid writing. By aligning our pricing strategies with the value we bring to the table, we can ensure fair compensation and recognition for our expertise in this critical area of business.

Mitigating Proposal-Killers: A Strategic Approach

In the intricate dance of proposal management, our focus often zeroes in on the heavy hitters – the SMEs, writers, and analysts who craft the core of our proposals. Yet, it’s the unnoticed missteps of the seemingly peripheral players that can unravel our carefully laid plans. Taking a page from Chris Voss’s insights in “Never Split the Difference”, we’re reminded that the devil is often in the details, and in our world, it’s the proposal-killers we need to vigilantly guard against.

Identify Potential Pitfalls: Allocate time to meticulously map out each step of the proposal process, pinpointing where things could go awry. From the logistics coordinator who’s unaware of the critical shipping deadlines to the director whose signature is indispensable yet notoriously hard to obtain, each potential bottleneck needs to be identified.

Preventative Measures: Once identified, develop clear, actionable strategies to mitigate these risks. This could mean setting up reminders for crucial deadlines, ensuring all necessary parties are briefed on their roles well in advance, or even having backup plans for your backup plans.

Leverage Technology: While there’s no silver bullet tech solution to foresee every potential hiccup, there are numerous tools at our disposal to streamline communication, manage tasks, and ensure everyone is on the same page. From project management software to digital signature platforms, the right tech stack can significantly reduce the risk of human error.

By shifting our gaze to the less conspicuous yet equally critical aspects of proposal management, we not only safeguard our proposals from unforeseen disasters but also reinforce the overall resilience and reliability of our proposal processes.

Mastering Pricing Strategies in Proposal Management

In the world of freelance proposal management and bid writing, developing a nuanced pricing strategy is key to success. Here’s how to navigate pricing for proposal writing jobs, grant writing jobs, and more, ensuring fair compensation for your expertise and effort.

Risk and Reward in Proposal Pricing:

  • Client-Owned Risk: Proposals are essentially investments in sales, meaning the client should bear the risk. Avoid commission-only agreements in proposal manager jobs and bid management jobs; they devalue your expertise and effort.
  • Commissions as a Bonus: In proposal management jobs, commissions should come as an additional incentive on top of base fees, not as the sole compensation. This aligns your interests with the client’s, especially in long-term collaborations.

Hourly Rates vs. Efficiency:

  • The Efficiency Paradox: While hourly billing in remote proposal manager jobs and home-based bid writer positions might seem straightforward, it can paradoxically penalize efficiency. As you streamline your process, your revenue per project may decrease, disincentivizing further efficiency.

The Case for Fixed Pricing:

  • Value-Based Pricing: Fixed fees allow you to price services based on the value you deliver, not just the time spent. This is crucial in proposal management, where the stakes and potential returns can vary widely.
  • Efficiency Incentives: Fixed pricing in proposal writing and bid management encourages you to become more efficient, as increased efficiency directly translates to higher profits.

Implementing Effective Pricing Models:

  • Diverse Pricing Models: Combine hourly rates, fixed fees, commissions, and retainers judiciously to suit different projects and client needs in proposal writing and bid management.
  • Communication and Transparency: Clearly communicate your pricing rationale to clients, ensuring they understand the value and expertise you bring to proposal management and bid writing.

Adopting these principles in your freelance proposal writing or bid management career can significantly enhance your profitability and client relationships. Whether you’re involved in grant writing, proposal management, or bid writing, tailoring your pricing strategy to the project scope and client relationship is essential for long-term success.

Harnessing the Pareto Principle in Proposal Management

The Pareto Principle, famously derived from Vilfredo Pareto’s observation of pea pods, illuminates a universal truth: a small fraction of causes often leads to a significant portion of outcomes. This principle, when applied to proposal management, can revolutionize our approach and efficiency.

Key Insights for Proposals:

  • Recognize that a major portion of your proposal’s impact comes from a critical few sections.
  • Understand that recurring disqualifications may stem from common, avoidable errors.
  • Acknowledge the disproportionate time spent on finalizing proposals, where the bulk of effort often goes into perfecting the last details.

Strategic Application:

  1. Prioritize: Focus on the sections of your proposal that are most likely to influence the decision-making process. This could mean investing more in your executive summary, solution design, or key differentiators.
  2. Analyze and Adjust: Regularly review past proposals to identify patterns in feedback or disqualifications. Use these insights to preemptively address potential issues in future bids.
  3. Efficiency Over Perfection: Aim for excellence in your proposals, but beware the diminishing returns of over-polishing. Sometimes, good enough on time is better than perfect late.

Leveraging Technology: In line with embracing the 80/20 rule, identify technological solutions that can streamline the 20% of tasks taking up 80% of your resources. Whether it’s project management software, collaboration tools, or automated writing aids, the right technology can significantly reduce bottlenecks and enhance proposal quality.

By adopting the Pareto Principle in your proposal processes, you not only optimize your efforts but also enhance your team’s capacity to deliver compelling bids with a higher likelihood of success. This strategic focus on the “Vital Few” over the “Trivial Many” is not just about doing less; it’s about achieving more with targeted, impactful actions.

Javier Escartin
Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of 15+ AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2000+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

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Hey! It’s me, Javi. Just a quick note: if AI in proposals is something that interests you, I go deep dive with particular use cases here: DeepRFP/blog, such as, for example, executive summaries, compliance matrices, outlines, color teams, assessments, and more. It is also where you can try 15+ AI bidding tools for free.

Javier Escartin

Javier Escartin

Hey! It's me, Javi, an engineer who loves proposals with 12+ years in the field. First, as an employee for big Government RFPs, then freelancing for technology companies, and now primarily focused on running DeepRFP.com, a kit of 15+ AI tools designed for bidding that I founded. Oh! And I talk proposals all day long with the 2000+ professionals in my newsletter. Join us to get top proposals stuff for free! ↓↓↓

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At jescartin.com (owned by DeepRFP, S.L.U.), we will process your information in order to send you thoughts on proposals and technology, which could include the promotion of related products and services. You may exercise your rights of access, rectification, limitation, opposition, portability, or withdraw consent by contacting stuff@jescartin.com. Further details in the Privacy Policy.