Anatomy of a Successful Proposal


Any successful commercial building inspector will echo that success in the commercial inspection industry is largely reliant upon a professional and well written inspection proposal.  Unlike residential inspections, commercial clients are typically professional, unemotional, and often become a recurring client using your services multiple times.  Part of a successful inspection business includes competition with other successful commercial inspection companies; however, many experienced commercial clients do not necessarily base their hiring decision solely on price/cost factors from other competing companies.  As such, it is imperative that commercial inspection proposals be written clearly, professionally, and promptly.  The formal proposal is an extension and reflection of your company image, service, and product, and should depict as much to a prospective client.  In fact, a well written and good looking proposal can greatly enhance your company’s overall image.  This segment will assist both experienced inspectors and those just entering the field to prepare successful proposal documents which clearly define the scope of the property condition assessment, state the prescribed service fees, and help alleviate liability risks for your company.

In this course:

  • Why provide a written proposal
  • Communications with your client
  • Recommended proposal structure
  • Utilizing a proposal as a method of risk management
  • Pricing your services
  • Examples of written proposals
  • Closing the sale and gaining a client
  • Now that your proposal has been accepted
  • Moving forward
“The formal proposal is an extension and reflection of your company image, service, and product, and should depict as much to a prospective client.”Bill Warner, NACBI Education Director
Why provide a written proposal?

Inspection proposals vary greatly from company to company as well as their intended purpose.  Depending on scope of the project or services provided, an inspection proposal can be quite brief and to the point, or become large documents full of detail.  The author of this course uses several different proposal templates depending on the services requested. Some are merely two pages in length, while others become twelve page detailed documents.   Regardless of the job type, an inspection proposal is always provided to the client to help them understand the scope and services being requested for the prescribed fee. Signed and returned proposals are always filed with that particular job folder for easy retrieval if necessary.
Well prepared inspection proposals primarily serve three purposes:

  • To Define the work scope or services;
  • State the prescribed service fee(s);
  • Limit liability risk between you and the client.

Without a written proposal document detailing the specific scope of each unique property condition assessment (PCA), both you and your client will be exposed to liability and disagreements of services provided for an otherwise questionable fee.  Ultimately, a written proposal reduces all prior communications between your company and your client to one concise written document.  This process alleviates any potential question of scope detail, considerations that are beyond the prescribed scope, the building or structures to be inspected, fees for primary and ancillary services, etc.

The commercial property inspection proposal will detail the expected cost or fee to the client.  Terms of payment will also be included in the proposal in order to remove any question of invoicing concerns or time of payment expectations.  Expected payment options and penalties for late or returned payments must be detailed in order to prevent unnecessary headaches and costly procedures obtaining final payments for services rendered.
In providing detailed explanations of the above items, the inspection company will effectively reduce liability risk and question of services to be performed.

More detailed discussion of these items will be provided in subsequent sections of this course.