Are you in the business of taking care of people? That category could cover many different situations: you might run a daycare center for children, or for disabled or elderly adults, or manage a caregiving service that helps clients stay in their homes. You might provide physical or occupational therapy, manage a transportation service for physically challenged people, or be in charge of charitable services such as delivering meals to shut-ins. The list of personal care-related businesses is long.
Personal care is a rapidly growing segment of business, so you no doubt have a lot of competition. You're probably looking for new clients and more business, or seeking more funding to serve the needs you've already identified. How are you going to land the contracts you need, or secure that loan or grant so you can keep providing your services? Sending out hundreds of form letters or paying for an ad in the local paper might get you minimal success, but to truly stand out in the crowd, you will need to master writing a business proposal.
That's not as hard as it may sound. There are four basic parts to every business proposal. You need to 1) introduce yourself, 2) show that you understand your prospective client's needs, 3) highlight your services and explain your costs, and 4) convince the client or funding committee that you are the best pick to get the job done. You don't have to start from scratch, either. Using software products that include pre-designed templates and samples can help you write your proposal quickly and efficiently.
All service proposals follow the basic four-part structure listed above. The number of pages in your proposal will depend on the size of the project and the needs of your client, as well as your type of business. An average proposal is five to ten pages long, but a complex proposal might include dozens of pages, and a very short one might have only a Cover Letter, a list of Services Provided, and a Price List.
The key to writing a winning proposal is to customize it for the party who will receive it. Put yourself in the reader's shoes. If you don't know that party well, you will need to research the party's needs and history. Sure, that might be a little work, but the effort will pay off in creating a tailored proposal that is much more likely to succeed than any form letter.
Customizing each proposal doesn't prevent you from using many of the same pages in multiple proposals. Much of the information you provide will be of interest to all your potential clients. Tailoring a proposal simply means that you need to target each proposal to address the specific client's needs. A proposal is a sales document intended to persuade potential clients to give you their business or convince grant committees to give you funding. To do that, you must instill trust that you can meet your clients' needs.
Begin your proposal by introducing yourself with a Cover Letter and Title Page. The Cover Letter should be concise; simply explain who you are and include your company contact information. Print your Cover Letter on your company letterhead. The Title Page is exactly that: a page that introduces your proposal and names the specific project you are discussing. Some examples might be "Proposed On-Campus Daycare for GenX Corporation," "Occupational Therapy Services for Wounded Veterans," or "In-Home Caregiving for Your Loved One."
If you are proposing a complex project and therefore writing a longer proposal, you may want to include a detailed summary at the beginning of your proposal. This is often called an Executive Summary or a Client Summary, and is basically a bulleted list of your important points. Following the introduction (and the summary, if you have one) is the section that will focus on the client. Here you will add topics to demonstrate your understanding of the needs of your client. In this client-centered section, you will do your best to describe the prospective client's requirements, needs, and concerns. For example, you might need to include pages that discuss issues specific to that client, such as how to deal with contagious illnesses, how family members will help make decisions, or how insurance figures into the equation. This is not the place to describe your services. The client's concerns come first.
After the client-centered section comes the section that's all about you. Here you will show that you have the solutions to the client's needs. You'll add pages with titles like Services Provided, Benefits, Price List, Services Cost Summary, Safety Plan, Security, and so forth - include all the topics you need to describe exactly what you will provide and how much it will cost.
Depending on your business and the project you're proposing, you may need specialized topics, such as pages that address specific concerns such as your employees' training in medical practices or hazardous waste handling, etc. Add pages with details the client will want to know, such as descriptions of your Personnel, Training Plan, Safety Plan, Insurance, Facilities, Security, Certifications, and so on.
The individual pages will vary according to your business. An occupational therapy or physical therapy organization may have to deal with a variety of topics, such as selling both Services and Products, Coordination with other medical organizations, interacting with insurance companies, and customization of rehabilitation programs for each patient. Use topics such as Insurance, Treatment, Therapies, Conditions, Diagnostics, and so on.
A daycare organization may need to include pages with Policies, Security and Facilities details as well as describing meals, Lessons, Programs and Activities, and discussing issues such as what will happen when a child or care provider is ill.
A charity delivering meals to homebound clients would need to discuss quantity and types of meals, Delivery practices, Costs, and Personnel involved.
After you've described your solutions to the client's needs comes the final section, where you provide details about your organization. You want to conclude your proposal by convincing the reader that you can be trusted to deliver the services you have promised. Here, you'll add pages like Our Clients, Testimonials, Awards, References, About Us / Company History, Qualifications, Case Studies, and so forth. Include all the topics you need to persuade the proposal readers that you deserve their trust and their business.
After you have the proposal written, spend some time to make it look good. Remember, you want to stand out from the competition. Incorporate your organization's logo, use pages with colored borders, or select custom bullet points and fonts that match your organizational style. Learn how to effectively select colors for a winning business proposal.
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Before you send your proposal out the door, proofread and spell-check every page. It's easy to miss mistakes in your own work, so it's best to have someone who is unfamiliar with your proposal to do the final proof.
Save your proposal as a PDF file or print it, then deliver it to the potential client. Emailing PDF files to clients is common these days; however, keep in mind that a printed, hand-delivered proposal might make more of an impression. If the business or grant money you're seeking is especially valuable to you and you have a lot of competition, you might want to put more effort into the final proposal and delivery.
Now you can understand that a proposal for personal care service business will vary a bit. Each organization's specific proposal pages will be different, and, as discussed above, each proposal should be tailored for the party receiving it.
But you also now understand that all service proposals follow a similar structure. And, as mentioned earlier, you don't need to start by staring at a blank computer screen - you can find templates for all the pages mentioned in this article in a Proposal Pack.
The templates include instructions and examples of information to include on each page. Proposal Kit also contains a wide variety of sample proposals, including samples for a children's daycare center, occupational therapy services, and adult/senior care services. Using Proposal Kit's templates and perusing these samples makes it easy to create your own winning business proposal.