By Paul Winans

Several weeks ago a piece I wrote titled How to Write a Problem-Solving, Career-Protecting Remodeling Job Proposal was posted. A reader sent me the following:

I just read your article about writing a problem-solving, career-protecting remodel job proposal. You hit the nail on the head perfectly.

I manage the estimating and proposal writing for a large portion of my company. From time to time we get small jobs and they do not need the 20-pound proposal dropped on their desk. We have cut it down on some jobs but I would be curious of the type of template you have used on a remodeling jobs and what it looks like. Would you share a template with me?

Reader, I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I don’t have a template, but here are some things to keep in mind when preparing a small job “proposal.”

Keep It Simple While Being Complete
I agree that you don’t want to overwhelm the client with too much detail. However, you want to protect yourself and your company from being regarded by the client as not giving them enough detail.

Address the Essentials
A good proposal and estimate addresses these questions:

  • What is the problem to be fixed?
  • What is the solution your company proposes to implement?
  • What is included?
  • What is excluded?
  • What is the cost?
  • What are the payment terms?
  • What is the (expected) length of the job?


Use the above to build a template. If you notice that your company is doing the same small job(s) for different clients, build a template for each type of job.

Consider Your Change Order Form
Small projects can be handled the way your company writes up change orders. What I laid out above should all be addressed as well in a well-written change order.

Try a Format and See How it Works
Create a template, use it for a while, and see how it works. Modify it as needed.

May you find these suggestions useful. By the way: Consider asking your clients how well your small job “proposals” are working for them. Their input can help you make your template even better.

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