As you work a lead through your sales process, there are check points you have to make. First is making sure your lead is a fully qualified one. Next is working with them to define the scope of services you might provide. The last is officially getting them on the calendar by signing on the dotted line. And, though it isn’t quite that straight forward of a process, each of these “gates” is an important one to pass through—for different reasons. So, if you’ve ever caught yourself wondering whether or not you really need to send both a proposal and a contract, the answer is yes and today we are going to talk about why. Read on to not just find out why you should be sending both to prospective clients, but also to learn the difference between a project proposal and a wedding contract.
What is a project proposal?
Whether you call it a project proposal, quote or estimate, they all serve the same purpose—to present your potential client with the options of how they can choose to work with you and estimate the costs of the services you would provide. It is typically sent after you have had the opportunity to speak with a couple, learn about the ideas they have for their wedding, get the details that will help you define the scope (read: how many or how much) as well as get a basic understanding of what they have budgeted for your potential role in their wedding day. And, even though this is not a legally binding agreement, it is an important part of the booking process for a few reasons:
- It helps make sure that you and your potential client are on the same page in regards to what they need
- A proposal can be easily revised in order to address and answer questions the couple might have
- This is the phase of the sales cycle where you are not only saying this is what I can do for you and for how much, but this is how I can help make your wedding what you want
What is included in a project proposal?
Proposals look different depending on what type of wedding pro you are, but there is a common thread in all of them—an estimate of the services to be provided and how much it will cost. So, when you are creating your project proposals, know that they can be as detailed or high level as you want, but they should include these important points:
- The options for the services or packages you recommend for the couple
- How much each option costs
- How each is different (this can be by guest count, hours, etc.)
- The date the services will be rendered
And, since this is still very much a part of the sales phase of the booking process, you should build your project proposals with the assumption that they will be compared to others. So, be sure to include something that helps yours stand out.
What is a wedding contract?
A contract is a legally binding agreement that is sent after a potential client accepts a proposal and defines what each person is obligated to do. For you, that is to deliver certain services, on a certain date, and at a specific price. For your couple, it outlines their obligation to pay for your services as well as what they need to do should anything change (amongst many other things). And, the overall purpose of signing an agreement is to protect both you and your client by making the terms of your working relationship as clear as they can be.
There are many contract clauses that are essential for you to include in your wedding contract, and in addition to those, you want to make sure that your contract outlines:
- Who you are entering into the agreement with (since this is not always the couple)
- The exact services you will be providing and with what scope
- The date you will be providing the services
- The price for your services along with your payment structure
- What happens if the client requests to change the scope or date of the event
- What happens if you are unable to provide the services outlined in the contract
Pro-tip: Always consult with a lawyer to draft a contract or obtain a contract template.
So, what is the difference between the two?
If you’ve found yourself here at the end of this piece looking for the cliff notes version of everything above, you’re in luck because here are the bullet points to help you understand the difference between a project proposal and a wedding contract.
- A proposal is created and sent as a bid to potential clients in order to help you win the business.
- A proposal is not a legally binding agreement; rather, it is an outline of how you can work with someone.
- A contract is sent after a potential client says they want to hire you for their wedding.
- A contract is a legally binding agreement that outlines your working relationship.
- A contract is enforceable by law.
Want to make sure you are getting your potential clients to the point in your sales process where they are asking for a proposal? Learn more about how to have a successful sales call as well as how to close a sale.
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