Years ago, when we first started building websites, we'd do everything by word of mouth. We never really understood the need for an official proposal process, but that was before everything started going sideways one piece at a time.

Time and time again, I've neglected the proposal creation. And it's always led to a dispute of some kind. Whether it be the unwanted scope creep, or clients who feel like they don't need to pay me, it's always been something. I've been screwed over more times that I can count. That's the reality of the situation when you fail to put things down on "paper".

If you neglect to protect yourself, the same could happen to you. There are many ways you can do this, but it will almost always require documentation. What does that mean? That means you need to write up legal documents to protect yourselves. Writing proposals is a very necessary part of business. 

Online, you'll find simple proposal software that has digital signatures. Proposify and Hello Bonsai are decent proposal writing software, but here at Carbon Digital, we use Better Proposals

better proposals main

Better Proposals Overview

There are many features that we find useful that are built into the platform functionality. Using all of these tools collectively is what will help to boost your capabilities, create a personalized seamless process, and your clients will love your stunning templates with Better Proposals.

Template Marketplace

better proposals template marketplace

Better Proposals has well over one hundred stunning business proposal templates available for use. There are several proposal formats to choose from. You have the ability to start with any template available, and use it as a boilerplate for your own custom templates. Adding your own proposal templates should be part of your sales process and project management process. 

Web Design Proposal Templates

better proposals web design templates

There are several web design and development business proposal templates in the marketplace that have already been created for you. This includes the "Contract Killer" and even a couple of sample templates that were created by Troy Dean of WP Elevation.

In the digital space, it's important for us to chart our own paths. Writing proposals are a basic requirement in business, and if you have a sales team, you could add the proposal process to their workload. This is where you can take sections of these templates and build your own template that is your own personalized Better Proposal!

Web Design Sign-Off Templates

better proposals sign off templates

Here you can see that we have sign offs that are ready to go. This is important to note because each of the templates have verbiage that state "sign off required" after each stage. With the digital signature built into each business proposal, this makes your sales process seamless. Of course you don't have to include a sign off, but it's important to note that it's an option.

Here at Carbon Digital, we have implemented the sign-off for each stage in project builds. This helps the client stay on track with what we've done, and what they've approved. It also protects us to claim "services rendered" if a lawsuit were to arise.

Branding & Customization

better proposals branding settings

The Better Proposals software has several branding and customization tools that help you elevate your brand, improve your customer service and create beautiful, high impact proposals. Here in this section, you can setup branded domains (so the entire proposal is on your custom domain), and the Better Proposals integrations with payment gateways (to accept payments with credit cards) and even things like chat systems or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

Reports & Analytics

better proposals reports area

Using the reports and analytics are powerful tools with real time data. Here are Carbon Digital, we don't utilize the automatic proposal to signature features. We made this decision solely for accounting reasons. So, you can see above that our "Annual Sales Report" shows that we have $0.00 in sales. That's because we aren't using the credit card payment feature.

However, you can see the proposal statistics that show we have an 80% signature rate. Which sounds pretty amazing, but in our case, it's slightly off because this includes our mutual NDAs.


It's important to stated that we are not legal professionals. What we present here is solely based on our experiences and not authorized to be legal advice.


Better Proposals Document Types

There are several documents that we've implemented with the help of Better Proposals. Each one has been detailed below.

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS

When you work with other freelancers and agencies on a project, it's a great idea to include Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs). We actually use a template from Better Proposals that is actually a mutual agreement. Because of the history we've had with theft, anytime we have a great idea, or work with another agency, and want to discuss it with someone, we ALWAYS have them sign an NDA.


SIGN OFFS

Having clients sign off on designs, or milestones, will help you in the forward movement of the projects. When you do wireframes and mockups, or even complete a project, it's always a good idea to have the client sign off so that they know exactly where the project stands and what was completed.

This also ties into any legal battles that would arise. If a client were to contest your work, and you have a sign-off at each stage of the project, then this will help you to retain the money that has already been paid to you. It can possibly even help you get additional funds through litigation or arbitration as well.


STATEMENT OF WORK / PROPOSALS

When you use the Statement of Work or a Proposal, you are using a legally binding contract. This will protect you, and it will also clearly help you outline everything for the project. For example, you would have sections like:


API & Integrations

There are many Better Proposals integrations already built into the platform. Aside from the highly famed Zapier, you've got Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, payment gateways, live chat and Project Management tools. Read more on all of the predefined Better Proposals integrations.

Another way to utilize the Better Proposals integrations, is with the Application Programming Interface (API). Which is just a fancy way of saying that you could have a custom coded integration built. The Better Proposals API documentation is structured quite well, which is another reason that is added to the list on why we love them!


Closing Remarks

Having legal documents displayed in a visually appealing way is a great selling point for you. We use Better Proposals, and when you add Zapier into the mix, your capabilities are significantly expanded. When we upgraded our life to use this software, it was an instant culture shock.

We were instantly forced to change the way we operate to provide a...Better Proposal. We've never looked back since. If you guys are interested, it's never too late to create your own Better Proposals.

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