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Writing the Formal Proposal for Architectural Projects Part II
September 10, 2013
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Writing the Formal Proposal for Architectural Projects Part I

In an earlier article on flat glass window film, I noted the importance of giving your potential client a formal proposal.  Today, I’d like to outline just exactly how to write a formal architectural project proposal: what one should contain, and how it should look.  This one, simple part of the sales process, can make or break the deal, so it’s worth putting time into.

During my time as a general manager and estimator, I had the opportunity to view dozens of my former competitor’s formal architectural project proposals and quotes.  Of those, there is a wide range of quality.

Some are as simple as a hand-written dollar amount on a carbon copy page, and others involve multi-page, diagram heavy, folders that spell out everything possibly.  You definitely want to be closer to the diagram heavy folder than the former, but sometimes too much is too much.  Another factor is whether the formal architectural project proposal is for a residential or commercial client.  This week I’ll be focused on the residential consumer.


I feel the best of them are usually between 1-2 pages long, and give a complete over-view of the project without confusing the potential client.  The top of the page should have your address, contact info and logo (if you have one), the client’s name and address.  This sounds simple, but it’s lacking on many of the ones I’ve seen.  Putting client’s name and address at the top automatically lets them know that they are your priority.  They realize that you’ve written this specifically for them.  Below is the example:


3400 Sunshine Road

Somewhere, USA 88888



Doe Residence

1234 Elm Street

Somewhere, USA 55555

Next, comes the greeting.

John and Jane,

This personalizes the formal architectural project proposal even more.  It shows you know them and can connect with them.

The next part is the introductory paragraph. In the first sentence of this paragraph, you should refer to your meeting with them and thank them for their time.  This implies that you feel that their time is important.

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday, and allowing me to show you our products.  I’m very optimistic that we can find a solution to the issues you’re currently experiencing with heat and glare.

Notice that I’ve written “I’m” optimistic in the first part of the second sentence instead of “We’re” optimistic.  Again, this gives a more personal feel to your paragraph.  You’ll notice though, that I change three words later to “we can find a solution”.  This gives the impression that it’s not just one person that’s going to help them, but a whole team, dedicated to serving them.

I know on the surface that this all seems pretty basic and small potatoes, but I promise you, it’s very important!  The goal is to have your formal architectural project proposal outshine any of your competitor’s, and, if you’re the first one they get, it should say “don’t bother calling anyone else; This is the guy we want!”

The next paragraph is where you address the issues that they are dealing with.

To help address the high amounts of heat gain and reduced comfort from solar glare, we are recommending three energy control films that will help manage these issues and provide a pleasant aesthetic within your home.  The films that we have provide samples of are known as Dual Reflective Films, which are designed with a high heat rejecting outer layer, and a neutral, non-reflective interior layer.  We have chosen samples with various light transmission levels so that you may choose the film that works best for you.

In this situation, the home owner has complained of not being able to watch football games and he’s told you that it gets “too dang hot” in here during the afternoons.  When we describe the problem that we’re going to eliminate for them, we do it in a sophisticated way.  We do not write: “this will get rid of the heat and stop the sun so you can watch the Broncos play the Cowboys.”  Remember, this is a formal proposal.  We are going for a friendly tone at all times, and yes, you can give it the good old boy treatment when you speak to the customer directly, but, what they really want is someone who has the expertise and intelligence to fix this problem.  We achieve that by using terms and writing skills that convey experience and intelligence in every sentence.

Always tailor this part to the client.  If the lady you have spoken to mentions fading of the curtains or flooring, add something like: “to reduce the fading and damage you’re currently experiencing with your furnishings.” By being specific about their own unique problems, you’re continuing to give them the personal touch.

Notice that I’ve used the words “energy control films”, instead of “window tint”, or even “window film”.   Again, we are bringing sophistication to the product and we are telling the client what the product does.  What does it do? It controls energy!  Why would I want window tint when I can have energy control film!

We’ve also described how the films you’ll be providing perform.  We’ve basically told them that these films fix everything and look great doing it.  And then, to involve them in the process, we let them pick the final color.

Next we specify the warranty.

All energy control films installed by Super Tint Services are guaranteed for a period of ten years against defects in manufacturing and workmanship.

You may give a lifetime residential warranty.  Most manufacturers do offer lifetime warranties on residential applications, but that’s something your shop has to decide on the outset, and it’s a topic for a whole other conversation.

We’ve also taken this time to put the shop’s name in front of them again.  That can never hurt.

In the final paragraph of the opening, we give the summation and qualifier.

By drawing on our eighteen years of experience in the energy control film industry, we are able to provide proven, long-lasting solutions to our client’s needs.  We appreciate your time and look forward to working with you in the future.

Thank you for consideration.

>In this last paragraph you’re letting the client know that you have the qualification to do the project and that you’re grateful for the opportunity to be chosen by them.  By thanking the client now, you’re subconsciously planting the idea that you will be doing the work for them.  It seems like a small thing, but every little bit helps.

That just about does it for the introduction of the formal architectural project proposal.  In my next blog, I’ll outline the contractor scope of work.

1 Comment

  1. […] Part I (How to Write a Formal Architectural Project Proposal) we discussed the introduction of a residential film proposal. This is basically the warm and fuzzy […]

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