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6 Important Elements of a Freelance Consulting Proposal

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December 11, 2022
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7 minutes
Experienced copywriter who spends a lot of money at restaurants and regrets it later.

Finally, you closed that project! Congratulations. There’s no denying that finding new projects as a freelance consultant can be a daunting task. Even though online consulting platforms have made things a lot easier, you still have to invest a bit in closing the sale. And an awesome consulting proposal is necessary to wow the client and make them say yes!

You see, unlike other industries, where basic proposals can work, consulting proposals need to be a bit more detailed. In this article, we’ll first discuss what a consulting proposal is and what information you should have before working on one.

Then, we will talk about the 6 important elements of a freelance consulting proposal. So, let’s dive into it.

What Is a Consulting Proposal?

Simply put, a consulting proposal is a mixture of a sales pitch and project details. Meaning that you should use it to outline all that you’re intending to do for a client, and also why you’re the right person for the project. In particular, when you write a consulting proposal as a freelancer, it should contain the project scope, a timeline, deliverables, and your consulting fees. We’ll discuss these later in the article. But first, let’s talk about the act of writing itself.

It’s understandable that not everyone is a writer. That’s why writing a consulting proposal as a freelancer may be a bit challenging in the beginning. However, you can follow some simple rules. 
  • Grammar: Make sure you don’t make any grammatical mistakes. Well, a couple of mistakes may be ignored. But a proposal must not be full of grammatical blunders and spelling errors. If this happens, the client may doubt your ability to solve problems. You can simply use Grammarly, a free grammar-checking tool, to ensure that there are no language errors. 
  • Logical sequencing: The information you add to the consulting proposal must be logically sequenced. Meaning that all the elements must be placed in such a way that the whole proposal makes sense. 
  • Use simple language: Your client is likely going to be busy with other stuff. So, they may not have time to decipher the complex language that you may have used to impress them. That’s why you should add information in such a way that it is easily digestible.
  • Proofread: This is important. Proofreading ensures that you don’t omit any important information. Not to mention it also gives you a chance to rectify those silly language-related mistakes. 


  • A consulting proposal contains six important details: Your basic info, executive summary, project scope, deliverables, timeline, and fee. 
  • While writing a consulting proposal, you should use simple language and avoid grammatical or spelling mistakes.
  • Before writing a consulting proposal as a freelancer, examine the project requirements and ensure that you have the time and skills to pursue it.
  • You should ideally check a client’s background to make sure that you’re not working with an incompatible company.
  • Online consulting platforms like Consultport can handle admin tasks and paperwork, making your consulting engagement a lot smoother.

Information You’ll Need to Create the Best Consulting Proposal as a Freelancer

We’ll discuss how to write a consulting proposal as a freelancer soon. But first, let’s discuss some other steps that you should take before working on the document.

1. Check your schedule first

Before you think “How to write a consulting proposal?”, you should ask yourself, “How much time do I have to devote to a new project?” Maybe your schedule will allow you to take on a short-term project. Or maybe, you have enough time to start two new long-term projects.

Before you talk to a client, you should know what your capacity is. You don’t want to sit in front of a client and overpromise or underpromise. You should know exactly what your schedule allows you to do. This way, you can prevent awkward situations from happening in the future.

2. Understand the project

Once you’ve checked your schedule, you’d know what sizes of projects you can accommodate. The next step after checking your schedule is to understand client requirements. Ask them about all the details of the project and what their ultimate goal is. 

For example, a client may hire you to create a new process to reduce manufacturing costs. To do this, you’ll need to engage in activities like internal analysis, external analysis, data collection, analysis, etc. You’ve got to ensure that it's something that you can handle and accomplish. 

Once again, never promise to deliver what you know you can’t. And understanding a project from all angles ensures that you know what you’re getting into.

3. Calculate how much effort the project demands

Before you write a consulting proposal as a freelancer, you should first do some calculations around the project. This will help you determine two things: The time it’ll take on your side, and the money that you want to charge for your time. 

It’s essential that you do these calculations beforehand. Oftentimes, newbie freelance consultants bite more than they can chew. In short, they underestimate how complicated the project truly is. As a result, they may have to increase the timeline and/or project budget. Well, clients don’t like it. So, measure the project before you get down to writing a proposal.

4. Check the client’s background

Well, just because you’re being offered a project doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take it. You should first do some homework and find out if a client is worth working for. There are several ways to do it. 

First, you can quickly check Glassdoor reviews of the company that’s intending to hire you. If they have a 4-star or higher rating, then that’s generally a good sign. However, if you constantly read negative reviews from ex-employees, especially things like “late payments” or “stressful working hours”, then better watch out.

Alternatively, you could also check a company’s website, social media profiles, and client/customer testimonials in advance. This will help you decide whether or not a client is worth working with.  

6 Essential Elements of a Freelance Consulting Proposal

Great. Now you know what a consulting proposal is and the preliminary information you need to get started. So, we can begin discussing how to write a proposal for a consulting project. Here are the 6 elements that you should add in a particular order in your proposal. 

1. Basic details

Well, you may already know this. But to ensure everything is included, let’s begin with the basic details. On the front page, you should add your name, website, business logo or address (if you have it), your phone number, client’s name, and project name.

2. Executive summary

When you’re writing a consulting proposal as a freelancer, always keep brevity in mind. Even though you can mention the lengthy details later, try to include a short executive summary in the beginning. In short, briefly mention what the client’s challenges are, what are you going to do to solve them, and how long it will take. 

3. Project scope

This is probably the most important part for professionals who are preparing a consulting proposal as a freelancer. Your project scope will include exactly what you are going to do. In the case of freelance consulting, it could be something like this: 
  • Phase 1: Online data collection
  • Phase 2: Focus group with the target audience
  • Phase 3: Data analysis
  • Phase 4: Recommendations

4. Deliverables

Deliverables refer to a tangible end product of a project. For example, doing research to create a new expansion strategy is not a deliverable. Instead, it’s something that can be included in the project scope. A deliverable, in this case, would be a complete expansion strategy document. Similarly, you can create other deliverables too.

5. Timeline

Neither you nor the client has all the time in this world. Both of you need to know when the project will start and when it will end. That’s why you’ll need to create a timeline that clearly states how long each phase of the project will take. Usually, consulting engagements last for a few weeks. But it could also take a few months sometimes.

6. Fees 

Here comes every freelance consultant’s favorite part. In this section, you should mention what amount of money you’re charging and how you’d prefer to get paid. You could charge an hourly rate, a one-time project-based fee, a retainer, or a value-based fee.  Make sure you also mention your payment terms. For example, clearly state if there’s a late fee for late payment or if you’d like to get phase-wise payments. Keen to learn more about how to charge as a freelance consultant? Here’s the right article for you: Are You Charging the Right Amount for Your Consulting Work?


Apart from these basic terms, you could also add more things if you like. For example, if you’d like to work from home and only visit the client’s office for meetings, you should mention that in the proposal.


Writing your first proposal as a freelance consultant is very exciting. After all, you’re taking a plunge into a new ocean. But what if we told you that there’s someone who can handle the boring paperwork on your behalf? Well, that’s us. 

Here at Consultport, we connect freelance consultants like you with top clients. We handle the paperwork and admin tasks, so you can focus on giving your 100% on the project. If that sounds exciting, we invite you to be a part of our talent pool now! 

Speak soon.