Anatomy of a Successful Proposal – Aspects of the Proposal
With all of the prior components necessary for writing a professional work proposal, there are other important aspects which should be included for liability risk management. This will include, but are not limited to liability exclusions and terms, final fees for the scope of services provided, terms of payment, authorizing signatures, and expiration date of the formal proposal. The latter is often overlooked by inspection companies. An expiration date or time period is important for various reasons. First is to indicate that your time is just as important as your client’s. Quoted fees from inspection companies, specialty consultants, etc. are always subject to change for any number of reasons. Often decision making processes are delayed especially when the process relies on a board of reviewers. Placing an expiration date or period of validity on your proposal allows the inspection company the ability to adjust fees and services accordingly. Experienced inspection companies typically place a thirty day time period from the day of submission for the proposal to remain valid. Individual enforcement of this expiration remains the discretion of the company.
As discussed earlier, property condition assessments are performed to ASTM International E2018 standards. Scopes and detail of the assessment can vary greatly from client to client and structure to structure. In essence, the level of due diligence is variable and not every property will warrant the same level of PCA. The appropriate scope or level of a specific PCA is generally guided by a specific purpose; type of property; age of building and/or improvements; budget, expertise, and risk tolerance of the client; and time allotted for the completion of the Property Condition Report (PCR) and further reviews. These items should be discussed in your initial communications and interview with the client.
Once submitted, the client now has a clear understanding of scope and fee(s) of service provided. By defining the appropriate scope (and adhering to it while performing the PCA) the inspection company effectively reduces liability risk. When the proposal is signed and returned to the inspection company, the client understands and has accepted the terms of the proposal agreement, and now relies on the inspector to uphold their end of the agreement through competent performance of the PCA and timely delivery of the report. Guidance through use of ASTM International standard E2018 will assist the inspection company to develop the approved proposal. Following these industry accepted standards provides the means to prepare a scope of work proposal while maintaining true competitiveness with other similar commercial inspection companies.
As with any contractual document, it is best business practice to review your service proposals with your own knowledgeable legal counsel periodically. As specific legal aspects of contracts vary from state to state and locality to locality, important features may need to be expanded, added, or removed from your proposal documents. This course and the provided information within should not be considered legal advice or otherwise adopted in the absence of such.