Your Free Web Development Proposal Template (and Free Sample)

What's in This Template?

  • Everything you need to know about showing your fees and pricing structure
  • How to create a compelling problem statement with your prospect’s current code
  • Real examples that you can use in your own proposals
  • And more!

What goes into a Web Development Proposal?

Web development proposals that win big jobs are cut from a different cloth than your run-of-the-mill proposal.

Most proposals aim to answer questions like:

What should this website say? Or, How should this website work?

But standout proposals start with a different question:

Why does the client need web development?

The entire content of the proposal, from scope to timeline to requirements, is built around the Why. Web developers aren’t just building websites, they’re offering a solution for their potential clients, and the solution must be based on the problem that needs solving.

Once you have the Why, it’s easy to start writing excellent proposals with our Web Development Proposal Template—it’s optimized for maximum client impact, and fully customizable to your specific needs.

The Basic Building Blocks of a Web Development Proposal

To make sure you include all of the information the client needs to hire you, it’s best to have an established structure of proposal guidelines. That way, you don’t have to start from scratch every time, and you make sure you’re not leaving anything important out.

Often your proposal will be the sole agreement you have with a client, so it’s important to nail down the right details.

Every website proposal (similar to web design proposals) should include:

  • Executive Summary - A one-page summarization of the whole project, including all necessary specifics such as important timeline points and budget. Crucial for big clients with a long approval chain.
  • Project Objectives - What does the client ultimately hope to achieve with a web development project?
  • Project Scope - What are the boundaries of the project? What are you offering to do? Does it go as far as including ecommerce or search engine visibility?
  • Timeline - A detailed layout of the progression of the project.
  • Project Requirements and Investment - Access, partner signoff, staff, initial and fees (including initial payment) that will be necessary for a successful project.

What You Need From the Client Before Writing a Web Development Proposal

To write a solid website development proposal, you’ll need to ask the client a few questions. If you want your proposal to really stand out, you’ll need to ask a lot of questions.

Getting targeted information from the client allows you to tailor your proposal and your plan to their exact needs. Without a deep understanding of the client’s situation, your proposal will be generic, insipid, and forgettable.

Here are just a few of the questions you should ask the client before getting started on a proposal:

  • What is the ultimate purpose of the web development project? Increased online sales? Greater brand visibility? Better web presence and Google rankings? A web application to help save company time?
  • What is the target audience for the brand?
  • Are there established aesthetic guidelines the web design should follow?
  • What integrations (with social media, apps, or client-side systems) will be necessary?
  • What is the launch date for the web material being developed? What factors might affect this deadline?

Traps To Avoid When Writing A Web Development Proposal

Writing proposals isn’t usually fun. It’s easy to speed through a the writing process just to check off the necessary items on your proposal checklist.

But if you’re not careful, you can make mistakes that get your proposal thrown in the recycling bin. Even worse, you could establish a poorly-defined working relationship that quickly turns into a nightmare for both you and the client.

Here are some of the things to keep an eye out for:

Lackluster Design

Even if you’re the type that puts a brick wall between development and graphic design, the fact is that form and function are two sides of the same coin.

If your proposal doesn’t look inviting and compelling, it’s going in the trash.

Make your proposal look good. Make it feel like it’s already part of the client’s business—use tone of voice and aesthetic elements to mesh it with their brand.

Even better, show off your chops by making the proposal itself an example of your web development prowess. Put the proposal into web form, with all of the associated design elements, making sure to optimize for mobile and tablet.

Undefined Business Goals

The purpose of making a web app (or website) has nothing to do with the development and website design side of things.

It’s not about working on mobile devices.

It’s to sell more widgets. Or draw in more prospects. Or gain greater brand visibility. Et cetera.

Tailor your development plan to the client’s business goal. Make sure you’re addressing the specific issue they’re dealing with, not just ‘making a website.’

Ignoring Integrations

A new website can no longer be just a website (or web app). Consumers crave dynamism and personalization from the brands they patronize.

That means integrations. This could be anything from linking social media to accessing proprietary client-side content management systems.

Whatever level of integration is necessary, your web development is almost certainly going to need to mesh with some other systems, and you need to find out from the client what those systems (or service providers) are.

Even if it’s not completely relevant to the current project, it may pay off in additional work later.

Writing A Proposal Too Early

Putting together a really killer proposal is a lot of work. Imagine if you put days into writing a proposal, only to have the client reply with, ‘We were just looking around.’

You might not need to imagine this; it’s probably happened to you already.

Have a strong relationship with the client before you write a proposal.

Make at least one meeting (and preferably several) where you figure out precisely what they’re looking for and what they’re willing to give for it. Set up the expectation that you will deliver them a proposal offering to accomplish exactly what they desire.

To make sure the client is serious, you might even offer a paid assessment of the situation. If the client springs for that, you know they’re willing to move forward, and you can use the assessment results to build a really fantastic proposal.

Additional Resources and Tools

Anshey Bhatia has a broad and deep article about more general proposal writing on Shopify. It includes everything from basic outline to the pitching process.

Don't write your proposals from scratch. Use our free web development proposal template below.

Preview: Web Development Proposal Template

Web Development Proposal Template Cover Image
General Instructions: Follow the italicized instructions for each section below to create your own persuasive web development proposal. Do your best to limit your proposal to 4-5 pages or less, as this should be all you need to identify the client’s problem, propose your services as the solution to that problem, and help the client understand all the ways your services will benefit the client. Common client concerns are using the new functionality without compromising the rest of their website, the possibility of upgrading/changing the functionality going forward, and technical support in case there are problems; persuasive proposals will anticipate and address these concerns.

Goals and Objectives

Instructions: Use the first paragraph to identify the problem or frustration that led the prospective client to offer the web development project in the first place. Then use 3-4 bullet points to break down different services you’ll provide to help the client overcome that problem or frustration. Begin each bullet point with an “action word.” Finally, use the paragraph after the bullet points to talk about the negative consequences that will happen if the client doesn’t fix the problem.

Goals and Objectives

{client_name} offers unique value to its customers, and it needs special capabilities to offer the full extent of that value to its customers via its website. Standardized development options won’t do; {client_name} needs attentive web development services that:

  • Deliver a 100% customized, hand-coded solution
  • Integrate the desired functionality seamlessly into {client_name}’s website
  • Provide ongoing maintenance and technical support

If {client_name} relies on a prepackaged solution and tries to tweak it to suit its unique functionality needs, it will be forced to compromise on aesthetics, website performance, and the ability to customize that functionality into the future.

Recommendations For Your Company

Instructions: Use this section to talk about the specific combination of services you believe will solve the client’s problem. Under each recommendation, talk about: 1) what actions you will take to execute it; and 2) how those actions will benefit the client. You can also recommend related services (like hosting or technical support) if you believe they will help the client solve their problem.

Recommendations For Your Company

Allowing {my_company} to develop a customized solution will give {client_name} the unique functionality it needs, and it’s the best option to achieve the objectives described above. If hired, our project will be broken down into the following web development services:

  • Coding of Customized Solution to Meet {client_name}’s Functionality Needs We’ll meet with you so we can figure out everything we need to know about your functionality requirements. Then our developers will get to work coding a custom solution that gives you exactly what you need.
  • Integration of Customized Solution into {client_name}’s Existing Website – We’ll go beyond giving you the functionality you need. An obsession with figuring out how to work well within your existing framework guides our entire development process. Our developers will add the feature we create for you in a way that complements your vision.
  • Ongoing Customization, Upgrades, and Technical Support – We’ll stick around for when you need us, whether it’s tweaking the functionality we created for you or correcting a bug. Our familiarity with your code will give us a big advantage in making these changes as fast and painless for you as possible.

Delivering Results

Instructions: Use 3-4 bulleted sections to describe positive results your services will create for the client. Focus on major results you think the client will value the most. Spend a few lines after each result you list to 1) describe why the result is helpful to the client’s business; and 2) break down the actions you’ll take to create that result for the client.

Here’s what {my_company}’s web developers will do to assure {client_name} meets its goals:

  • Develop a customized solution that delivers your desired functionality – All of our projects are specifically designed to meet your unique requirements. Because we code everything by hand, we’ll give you exactly what you need – efficient and wrinkle-free – without trying to force things to fit.
  • Integrate the functionality without impairing website performance or aesthetics –Our developers obsess over how to make our project fit within your existing structure, and this obsession informs every aspect of the development process. It pays off for you in the end, when we’ll drop our feature into your website for a seamless upgrade.
  • Offer the assistance you need to customize and grow – Having the functionality you need is great, but what happens when you need to make an adjustment? We’ll be right there with you, offering ongoing technical support. Our developers will be familiar with the code, which helps them work quickly to help with upgrades, customizations, and troubleshooting. The result: everything keeps running smoothly.
Instructions: Estimate the price for your service package and come up with a label for it that describes a clear benefit to the client. Breaking down your service package into 3 or 4 chronological phases (if applicable) will help the client understand what will happen when, as well as make your solution appear valuable. But keep the breakdown at a high level and don’t break down your price; it’s crucial your price is easy to understand.

Customized Web Development and Support Solution
  • Consultation with our developers We’ll meet with you, listen while you share your unique functionality needs, and figure out how to craft a customized solution that meets those needs.
  • Customized website development and integration – We’ll hand-code the feature that gives you the functionality you need and integrate it into your existing website.
  • Ongoing maintenance and support – We’ll offer our assistance on maintenance, upgrades, and troubleshooting for as long as you continue to use the functionality we developed for you.
Web Hosting
Your web site hosting will be completely managed by our dedicated support team. Hosting includes backups, 40 GB/month bandwidth, and 24/7 website monitoring.
Total $13,319

Project Timeline

Instructions: Use this chart to break down your development services into chronological phases. Describe what each phase entails in the “activities” section and give an estimated completion date for each phase. You’ll have to modify this slightly if you’re offering ongoing services such as maintenance, upgrades, or technical support.

If {client_name} chooses {my_company} to provide the comprehensive web development solution described, our timeline would proceed as follows:




Initial Consultation

Collaboration between {client_name} and {my_company} to discuss {client_name}’s unique functionality requirements; preliminary conception of proposed design.


Personalized Web Development

Hand-coding of a lightweight solution tailored to meet {client_name}’s functionality requirements; integration of solution into {client_name}’s website.


Maintenance, Upgrades, and Technical Support

{my_company} will assist {client_name} as needed for as long as {my_company} continues to use {my_company}’s custom feature.


Next Steps

Instructions: This is your “call to action” section. Make a limited offer that expires on a certain date, which motivates the client to act. Use bullet points to specify exactly what the client has to do to accept your offer. Finally, tell the client what will happen immediately after they accept the offer to set expectations.

To take advantage of this proposal and proceed with the project as outlined, {client_name}’s next steps must be to:

  • Accept the proposal as-is
  • Discuss desired changes with {my_company}
  • Finalize and sign the contract
  • Submit an initial payment of 50 percent of total project fee

Next Steps

Once completed, {my_company} will contact {client_name} to schedule a project launch meeting to make introductions and gather information before beginning the work.

We’re happy to make changes to project scope on {client_name}’s request at any time, but may be subject to additional billing.

Why Choose {my_company}?

Instructions: Use this section to talk about the special value you can add to the client’s business that no other web developer can. In the first paragraph, describe what the client will save or get (seamless integration within their existing website, better visitor experience, and worry-free support/maintenance are all good options) if they hire you. Break down your company’s most compelling assets into bullet points and emphasize why those assets are important for the client’s business.

{client_name} is a unique company with unique functionality needs. It should choose a web developer that treats them as such. {my_company} is that developer. Here why we’ll be able to do those things and help {client_name} meet its unique functionality needs:

  • {my_company}’s developers optimize performance throughout the entire development process – Most developers don’t consider performance after they finish coding; it’s an afterthought. Our developers think about it constantly from the initial consulting phase to the end of the project. We’ll make sure the solution we create doesn’t slow page load times or squander server resources.
  • {my_company} can develop any custom features you need – Our team has the experience needed to create a solution for you, no matter how basic or complex your functionality needs. Usability studies, e-commerce, intranet development, and custom web apps are just a sample of the many things we can do for you.
  • {my_company}’s code is 100% hand-coded We don’t take shortcuts because we understand you have a specialized need. Hand-coding takes longer, but it keeps things lightweight and bug-free. It also makes us intimately familiar with your features, which simplifies troubleshooting and backend support.

Terms and Conditions

Instructions: Use this chart to break down your development services into chronological phases. Describe what each phase entails in the “activities” section and give an estimated completion date for each phase. You’ll have to modify this slightly if you’re offering ongoing services such as maintenance, upgrades, or technical support.

Once the project fee is paid in full to {my_company}, any elements of text, graphics, photos, contents, trademarks, or other artwork furnished to {client_name} for inclusion in the website are owned by {client_name}.

{my_company} assumes {client_name} has permission from the rightful owner to use any code, scripts, data, and reports provided by {client_name} for inclusion in its materials, and will hold harmless, protect, and defend {my_company} from any claim or suit arising from the use of such work.

{my_company} retains the right to display graphics and other web content elements as examples of their work in their portfolio and as content features in other projects.

This agreement becomes effective only when signed by agents of {client_name} and {my_company}. Regardless of the place of signing of this agreement, {client_name} agrees that for purposes of venue, this contract was entered into in [STATE] and any dispute will be litigated or arbitrated in [STATE].

The agreement contained in this contract constitutes the sole agreement between {client_name} and the {my_company} regarding all items included in this agreement.