You’ve laid all the groundwork for success—after raising the capital to launch your service business and strategically marketing your small business, you now have your first batch of customers knocking at your door and asking about service. The next step on your path to profits is to convert your leads into paying clients. How? By getting them to accept your business proposal.
And that’s easier said than done. Learning how to write a business proposal can be a bit confusing, especially for first-time field service owners who are competitive geographically areas. Thankfully, there are a number of business proposal apps you can use to make life much simpler. Here’s a look at our favorite 10 apps and software that takes the elbow work out of creating a business proposal.
We also have some insight about what makes a good business proposal app, why you should use proposal management tools, and how you can create the perfect pricing for your pitch—so you can then close more deals, keep more customers, and earn more profits! Read the article end to end so you don’t skip a beat or jump straight to a section below.
Why Use a Business Proposal App
The mobile app scene is exploding. In fact by 2020, mobile apps are forecasted to generate around $189 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, which is no small feat in comparison to previous years. Why the sudden surge? The answer is simple: choice and convenience. Whether it’s to check your bank account or the latest round of football fixtures, the ability to do so using a one-click app over a slow browser has completely changed the mobile experience for the better.
Mobile apps are more reliable and load almost instantly, giving us to access information on the go and on the fly. We’ve come a long way since the first Apple App Store went live back in 2008, with new apps that serve a huge number of purposes coming onto the market every day. Luckily for entrepreneurs and startup owners, there’s a massive wealth of mobile apps designed to solve and simplify stress points regularly encountered in the day-to-day business world.
From crowdfunding capital to automated marketing, business owners have it so much easier now thanks to today’s technology. This post focuses on tech that can teach you how to write a business proposal because, let’s face it, landing business isn’t always a walk in the park.
What makes a good business proposal app?
At the very least your business proposal should include the services and products to be provided, the affiliated pricing, applicable terms and conditions, as well as an agreement or call to action—so your proposal app should cover all of those bases, at a minimum.
Service Line Items
In this section, list the line by line items that the customer will be paying for. The more detailed, the better. For example, don’t just say, “Install heat pump,” or, “Replace duct work”. Go one step further by saying, “Install new HearthStar heat pump,” and, “Pleinair Electrostatic air filter for new ductwork connection”.
Your business proposal app should allow you to input equipment data into the software platform and provide you with the right options as you build your quote. For larger jobs, consider breaking your HVAC line items into categories based on living areas. Your customers will be better able to understand the scope of the project and its cost.
When learning how to write a business proposal for your HVAC company, it’s important to make your pricing transparent in order to avoid customer “sticker shock” when seeing the cost. That means accounting for labor, travel, multiple unit quantities, and more. We will discuss pricing strategies in more depth below.
Terms and Conditions
These caveats may seem unnecessary, but they could save you if a customer ever seeks litigation. Is there a time limit on your business proposal? A specific date the job will be completed by? A warranty on your parts or workmanship? Consider all these conditions—and then some—and factor them in when creating a business proposal. Most proposal apps allow you to save pre-written sections, so you don’t have to type out your terms and conditions over and over again.
Finally, and most importantly, is the agreement section of your business proposal. The signature is what closes the sale and seals the deal, so be sure not to overlook this critical step! Many business proposal apps offer e-sign technology that would allow the customer agree to service write on your phone or tablet.
Depending on the job and the customer, it might be in your interest to include a cover letter and executive summary. Appearing polished and professional is your number one goal if you want to write winning business proposals!
What’s the difference between an estimate, quote, bid, and business proposal?
Good question! They’re all very similar and most of these business proposal apps can be used for each across the board. However, there are a few key differences you should note.
Estimate: A contractor uses an estimate to calculate their total expected costs, including taxes, overhead, and equipment costs.
Quote: The quote is the cost of raw materials, which the contractor receives from the supplier and uses to calculate the estimate. Quotes are usually time-sensitive because the materials are commodities that fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Bid: Bids are usually competitive and refer to large projects in which a certain price and completion date is promised.
Proposal: The proposal wins business by combining quotes from multiple suppliers, proposals from subcontractors, estimated labor costs, plus the contractor’s markup.
Best Business Proposal Apps
If creating a business proposal sounds like a headache, it’s time to turn to the best proposal apps that can do the legwork for you. These 10 business proposal apps and software platforms will help you close more deals and book more jobs, allowing you to drive business growth and make more money. Let’s get started!
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1. Housecall Pro
Housecall Pro is far more than just a sales proposal software; it’s an all-in-one-app for managing and growing every facet of your business. The proposal creator intuitively helps small businesses generate powerful proposals at lightning speed, so you can give customers the information they need to make an informed decision ASAP. After closing the deal, you’ll enjoy a number of tools that make managing the job a walk in the park, including online booking, automated communication, fast payment processing, and more. Features:
Single-price and multi-price proposal options
Add your unique line items with matching pictures to impress customers
Use pre-written templates or modify them to your preference
Streamlined proposal delivery via email or text
Tracks user engagement to improve closing rates
Cost: Free trial
2. HVAC Estimates
This software is a business proposal app that gives you everything you need to create, save, and send professional estimates, work orders, and invoices. With HVAC Estimates, you can build your own database by adding parts, materials, and services—so you can say goodbye to needlessly retyping the same entries on every proposal. Choose from over 50 pre-built services and cover all your bases with special sections for travel costs and additional charges.
Set up your profiles with easy-to-use menus
Keep estimates right in your pocket—no internet connection required for this proposal app
Fully responsive on a wide variety of devices and platforms
Receive customer signatures directly on your device
Cost: $7.99 in the App Store for iOS devices; $2.49 in GooglePlay for Android users
Creating professional, compelling proposals is easy with Venngage proposal maker and its polished proposal templates. High-quality templates are easy to customize and use. You have access to stock photo, icons and neat visuals to create something that has the touch of an expert graphic designer. You can also incorporate charts and tables to show trends over time, along with price and product comparisons. With a Venngage business plan, you'll have neat features at your disposal like My Brand Kit, Collaboration and Design Consultations for your team.
Other features include:
Proposal templates for different industries
Simple, drag-and-drop editor for quick template customization
Collaboration feature allows team members to make changes and comment on the proposal draft
Cost: Freemium + $49/monthly for Business
Proposify is a sales proposal software that’s great for general contractors who want to easily tweak their business proposal templates for clients across different service industries. Need to create a quote for an electrical repair instead of a plumbing job? No problem. Once you create and save sections, you can simply plug them in and out as needed. This proposal app also offers a detailed layout editor which lets you customize background colors, sidebars, tables, and text boxes in keeping with your brand identity.
Branded templates can be customized to save time and send proposals sooner
Embed videos from Youtube, Vimeo, and Wistia to bring your business to life
Customers can choose the products and services they need with upfront pricing and fees
Online signature tool gets faster sign-offs
This business proposal app is unique because it not only simplifies your writing process, but it does so by following proven formulas for landing business. Bidsketch has researched over 25,000 proposals worth over $270 million to figure out what works—and they share their knowledge within their proposal software so you can create winning proposals, too!
Proposal stats, samples, and free templates
50% less time writing with reusable content
Beautiful, professional template designs
Upsell additional services for 32% more profit with optional fees
Already have a business proposal template you’ve been using for years? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead of a business proposal app, check out WebMerge. This software simplifies your proposal process by with document automation and generation. Take your existing files and convert them to smart documents for delivery in no time flat. This software is great for creating business proposals, but it also works well with invoices, contract agreements, terms of service, and more.
Streamline your paperwork process with simplified document generation
Customizable templates are compatible with PDF, WordDoc, Excel, and PowerPoint
Upload your business logo and use desired font colors with HTML flexibility
Integrates with popular apps such as Salesforce, Google Drive, and DocuSign
If you’re just now starting a small business, SnappyFORMS can save you the hassle of learning how to write a business proposal using their vast library of ready-made templates. This software could be your one-stop shop for all your sales documents, not just business proposal templates. Find specialized work order forms for an air duct cleaning, kitchen exhaust service, chimney jobs, and so much more within their spread of forms.
Find professional documents for business proposals, invoices, checklists, and service agreements catered to specific HVAC jobs
Add, edit, and modify the form as needed for your company
Avoid monthly fees and only pay for the templates you need
Software package includes Microsoft Word (.doc & .xml) and Adobe Acrobat PDF files
Cost: Price per document ranges from $22-$65
8. Proposal Kit
If SnappyFORMS sounded up your alley, you should check out Proposal Kit. This software includes everything you need when creating a proposal using the HVAC sample, and rather than paying per document, your package gives you access to over 200 different customizable forms including basic contracts and invoices. It even gives you access to How to Write Proposals e-books if you need a little more help getting started!
Wizard proposal software makes processes more efficient
Financial calculators help create accurate pricing estimates
Customize your proposal with your logo and colors
Use hundreds of proposal packs for all your small business documents
Cost: $79 flat fee
9. Sales Builder Pro
Need a little assistance converting your leads into customers? If you walk in with Sales Builder Pro, your odds of walking out with a job are significantly higher. This amazing business proposal app enhances your point-of-sale experience from start to finish—helping you sell more, at higher margins, in less time. Create impressive, full-color proposals right in front of your clients by choosing the right indoor units for each zone and the required piping, including counts, cuts, bends, adjustments, and total distance. With this transparent HVAC app, customers will never again ask where you pulled a price from!
Input desired heating and cooling setpoints, geographic factors, and other variables
Interactive presentation walks customers through equipment selection, accessories, add-on services, pricing, and financing options
Multi-trade capabilities allow you to include additional plumbing and electrical home services
In-home sales proposal software improves same-day close rates
This proposal software is similar to Sales Builder Pro minus the mobile compatibility. However, it does give you the added bonus of generating a custom bill of materials (for duct, radiant, HV) in addition to “one-off” items. By automatically pulling lists based on your design, you’ll take the math out of creating proposals and enjoy fast, accurate pricing estimates. A powerful word processor is built into the Right-Proposal software—allowing you to take advantage of text, images, tables, charts, and more—that you can then export to PDF or RTF.
Use or personalize one the sample proposal templates, or build your own comparison-based proposal or single system proposal
Create accurately-priced smart products in your catalog (thermostats, condensing pads, dampers, etc.)
View and change number parts directly on the Right-Draw screen
Save time by inputting customer information on future proposals
Cost: $474 flat fee
Sometimes, creating a winning business proposal in the service industry depends on some great visual assistance. HVAC contractors, plumbers, and electricians are all tasked with trying to explain some rather advanced subjects to homeowners who don’t know much about complex circuitry. In order to understand the scope of the job, why they would need a new check valve here or a vent there, and how an entire system integrates, customers will want to see blueprints and a diagram of the installation before they feel comfortable shelling out money for service—and that’s where ConceptDraw comes in.Features:
DIAGRAM tool provides diagramming software for business proposals
Pre-made templates for HVAC blueprints, sketches, floor plans, etc.
7 vector stencil libraries full of design elements
Create persuasive diagrams quickly and conveniently
Cost: $49 flat fee
Business Proposal Pricing Strategies
Regardless of whichever business proposal app or sales proposal software you decide to keep in your toolkit, your pitch will all boil down to one thing: your pricing strategy. You can pay for the most polished business proposal template that money can buy, but it won’t matter if you price your line items incorrectly.
What’s the secret to success when it comes to writing winning business proposals? Generally speaking, you should consider four different pricing strategies: psychological; cost-plus; customer perceived value; and competitive pricing.
If you’re using a business proposal app to help affect perception of quality, fair value, and/or savings, you’re probably using at least one psychological pricing strategy—and you might not even be aware of it. Marketers have used these tried and true methods for quite some time because they clearly demonstrate that certain prices have a bigger impact in the minds of consumers. Take a look:
Charm pricing: Reduces the left digit from a round number by one cent (ex. $199.99 versus $200)
Prestige pricing: The opposite of charm pricing, this business proposal rounds to the nearest whole (ex. $50 versus $48.23)
Buy one, get one free (BOGO): Customer pays full price for one product to receive another for free or at a discount
Comparative pricing: Offering two similar products but making the pricing of one seem especially more attractive than the other
Visually highlight pricing differences: Placing the sales price next to the old price for visual comparison
Cost-plus pricing is one of the most basic pricing structures you can use when creating a business proposal. Essentially, this model takes the business costs and adds a markup in order to ensure a comfortable profit margin. Say, for example, your HVAC materials cost $250, your direct labor $75, and your overhead $12 for a total of $337. At a 30 percent markup, that would be sold at $438.10 (or $450 with prestige pricing!).
Although these margins may be great, it doesn’t incentivize you to minimize your production or contract costs. Nor does it take your competition into consideration, so you might run the risk of underselling without a more aggressive strategy in place.
Customer Perceived Value (CPV)
Think about the perceived benefits of an HVAC installation: enhanced comfort, improved quality of living, energy-efficient savings, the envy of neighbors, and so on. These feelings amount to a monetary conversion known as the “total perceived benefits”—and the price of comfort can come with a pretty steep price tag.
The model takes the total perceived benefits of a product or service and subtracts it by the total perceived costs in order to reach the customer perceived value. This is a good strategy to use in your business proposal apps when your service becomes much more urgent—say, for example, during the dead of summer when A/C is in high demand—and customers are willing to pay more for the perceived benefit.
Did you know that 97% of consumers use the internet when researching local services? They turn to Google not only for a list of the top providers in their area, but also to compare and contrast similar companies in order to find the best price for their desired service.
That’s why—above anything else—it’s absolutely critical to conduct market research when deciding how to write a business proposal. No matter which pricing strategies you use (yes, you can use more than one!), surveying your competitors’ pricing is a must. You can have all proposal management software tools in the world, but they won’t be able to help if your business is ridiculously overpriced based on the current market offerings.
Calculate your average competition and then see how much further you can afford to go down in price. Just be sure to base that number on your actual costs, otherwise you can end up undercutting your own products.
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Not only do we provide you with the best business proposal app, but our software platform comes chock-full with features to help grow your business in every direction. Stop sweating the small stuff and streamline your business management by using Housecall Pro.
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