If you are in a business that requires you to write proposals you probably know that writing proposals are overhead for your company and you cannot usually charge a client for the work. So your goal is to reduce the time writing proposals, setting up your project management and billing, and spend more time working on projects which makes you money.
This is where Bidsketch.com comes in. I signed up for the Freelancer Level to reduce the time I spend writing proposals for my web design clients. The Freelance Level includes 1 user, analytics, and electronic signatures for $23 a month if paid yearly and $29 a month if paid monthly. If you do not do a lot of proposals you might look at the Starter Plan which includes 1 user, 25 clients, no electronic signatures for $15/month (As of Wednesday, November 25, 2015). If you have more than one person in your business there is also Studio and Agency Level pricing. I originally found Bidsketch on the Basecamp under third party application which integrates with Basecamp 2 (Basecamp 3 just came out and does not integrate with Bidsketch yet as of Wedesday, November 25, 2015) which I used to manage clients’ projects. I also found out that Bidsketch also works with Harvest which I used for tracking my time on clients projects. I also work out of The Boardroom part-time and talked to a couple of freelancers that use Bidsketch and they were happy with the application so I decided to give the program a try for myself.
What is Bidsketch Good for?
In general, Bidsketch is good for writing proposals that you have control over the formatting and your bids have a lot of the same elements each time you bid. For example, one item in your proposal might be setting up Google Console, Bing Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics on your client website and your know that work will take 2 hours. So for most website development/design proposals you would use that item in with a standard write-up about how you would accomplish the task.
What is Bidsketch Not Good for?
If the proposal needs specific formatting requirements then Bidsketch would not be the best for you. For example, my experience with United States Federal contracts usually have specific sections and formats that would not make Bidskitch great choice. Or if your proposals are unique each time you write up one you would not be any better off that writing a proposal with a word processor and cut and past from your previous proposals.
I tested Bidsketch using the website development using WordPress. I found a premade proposal for developing a WordPress site. I went through each section and modified it to fit my needs. The nice thing about Bidsketch is that it leads you through the steps so you don’t forget anything. You can even use Bidsketch contract language if you would like. Another, nice thing is that you can add optional sections for additional work. Sometimes clients do not realize there are additional options you can perform so you might get additional work from the client. For example, they might not realize that their web designer might be able to help them with their social media marketing.
Submitting a proposal to the client was simple. I signed the proposal electronically and e-mailed the proposal to them. I was able to see that they viewed the proposal and how long. I could also see if they printed or download the proposal. This keeps you from bugging your client to see if they have looked at it and also gives you some information on what have done with the proposal. Your follow-up message to your client is very different if they have not opened the proposal vs. spending an hour reading the proposal.
If the proposal is accepted then I can import the items into Basecamp 2 and Harvest. The intergradation made quick work of setting up a project. The key to using the intergradation is setting up your item/task into small enough parts so it is useful in Basecamp and in Harvest. Otherwise, you will have one or two items/task and you will not have any way of breaking up your tasks into manageable pieces. Or you will have to do it manually in Basecamp and Harvest.
Give Bidsketch A Try
I found Bidsketch Freelancer level very useful because many of my proposals are very similar in nature. Using Bidsketch can easily cut my proposal time in half. If you are looking at Bidsketch and you are not doing similar proposal over and over again I am not sure you will see a significant timesaving. You might have a better-looking proposal but you might not save any time. Bidsketch will let you test your for free for 14-days as of Wednesday, November 25, 2015.