Proposal Vs Quote: 5 Must-Know Facts | How & When To Use

Proposal Vs Quote; is there a difference between the two?

People often use Proposal and Quote Interchangeably. Well, sometimes they are right. However, while proposals and quotes do have many similarities, they should be used in distinctly different situations. But how do you know when to use them?

Proposal Vs Quote is a lot like orange and tangerine- they can be used for the same purposes, but they still have differences. Regardless of what you think their differences are, it all depends on where you are and who you’re talking to.

Let’s put aside the confusion and look at the most widely accepted definitions of Proposal Vs Quote.


According to Investopedia, a quote is the last price at which an asset traded; it is the most recent price that a buyer and seller agreed upon and at which some amount of the asset was transacted.

Quotes often have a timeframe- usually about a month–which means you have only that amount of time to purchase the materials at a given price.  Outside the given timeframe, the price may change.


A proposal is a detailed document submitted as part of a competitive process to win business. It includes quotes, estimates of labor costs, taxes, and other overheads.

A proposal puts the buyer’s requirements in a context that favors the seller’s products and services and educates the buyer about the capabilities of the seller in satisfying their needs.

Read this: Difference Between Copywriting And Content Writing: Types & Scenario

Proposal Vs Quote: Are there Similarities Between the Two?

Quotes and proposals are both formal offers to a client.

A quote is a reply to a request for product, price and availability. The requester in most cases knows what they want and are looking for specific information on targeted items.

A proposal is a reply to a request for a solution or requirement. The requester is usually unsure of what they want or are open and looking at options to address their requirements.

Proposal Vs Quote: Learn the Differences Between the Two

Both proposals and quotes are used in business transactions, proposals are comprehensive documents that outlines plans and solutions, while quotes provide specific pricing information for products or services.

For Proposal

  • A proposal is a formal document that outlines a suggested plan of action or solution to a problem.
  • It has a detailed information about the products or services being offered, the method to work with, timelines, costs, and any other relevant terms and conditions.
  • Also, proposals are always used to pitch ideas, projects, or partnerships to potential clients, investors, or collaborators.
  • In addition, they are more comprehensive than quotes and may include additional sections such as an executive summary, background information, objectives, and benefits.

For Quote

  • A quote, also called a quotation. This is a document that provides a specific price for a product or service.
  • It has details such as the list of products or services, their corresponding prices, quantities, any applicable taxes, and the total cost.
  • Quotes are commonly used in response to a request from a customer or client for pricing information on a particular product or service.
  • Also, Unlike proposals, quotes are usually straightforward and focus only on pricing details without extensive additional information.

Also, read this: How to View your Submitted Proposals on WritersGig

Advantages and Disadvantages of Quotes and Proposals

Here are the advantages and dis Disadvantages of Quotes and pro

Advantages of Quotes

  1. Clarity and Transparency: Quotes provide clear and transparent pricing information, including itemized costs and total expenses. This helps clients understand the financial implications of the proposed transaction.
  2. Quick Turnaround: Unlike proposals, which require extensive customization, you can generate quotes quickly, allowing businesses to respond promptly to client inquiries and requests.
  3. Standardization: Quotes can be standardized for commonly requested products or services, streamlining the process and ensuring consistency in pricing and presentation.
  4. Negotiation Tool: It serve as a starting point for negotiation, allowing businesses to adjust pricing or terms to accommodate the client’s budget or requirements while still maintaining profitability.
  5. Documentation: Also, quotes serve as formal offers and can be documented for record-keeping purposes, providing a clear record of the proposed terms and pricing for future reference.

Disadvantages of Quotes

  1. Limited Information: Quotes may lack the comprehensive information that is written in proposals, making it challenging for clients to evaluate the proposed solution beyond its cost.
  2. Potential for Misunderstanding: Without detailed explanations or context, clients may misunderstand the scope or quality of the products or services offered in the quote, leading to dissatisfaction or disputes.
  3. Price-focused: Clients may focus only on the quoted price without considering other factors such as quality, reliability, or added value, potentially leading to price-driven decision-making.
  4. Competitive Pressure: In competitive markets, businesses may feel the pressure to lower prices to win contracts, potentially reducing profitability or compromising the quality of products or services offered.
  5. Limited Room for Differentiation: Since quotes primarily focus on pricing, businesses may find it challenging to differentiate themselves from competitors based on other factors such as expertise, service quality, or innovation.

Advantages of Proposals

  1. Comprehensive Information: Proposals provide detailed information about the proposed solution, including scope, methodology, timelines, and benefits. This helps clients make informed decisions.
  2. Customization: You can customize proposals to address the specific needs and preferences of each client, demonstrating a tailored approach and enhancing the chances of acceptance.
  3. Opportunity for Persuasion: Proposals allow businesses to present persuasive arguments, case studies, and testimonials to convince clients of the viability and benefits of the proposed solution.
  4. Professionalism: Well-written proposals positively shows professionalism and competence of the business, instilling confidence in the client and strengthening the business relationship.
  5. Long-term Relationships: In addition, proposals can lay the foundation for long-term partnerships by demonstrating a commitment to understanding and addressing the client’s needs effectively.

You can check this: 10 Steps To Mastering Writing Feedback As A Freelancer

Disadvantages of Proposals

  1. Time-Intensive: Creating comprehensive proposals requires time and resources, including research, analysis, and drafting. This can be a significant investment, especially for large or complex projects.
  2. No Guarantee of Acceptance: Despite the effort put into creating a proposal, there is no guarantee that it will be accepted. Clients may reject proposals for various reasons, such as budget constraints or preferences for alternative solutions.
  3. Potential for Misinterpretation: Complex proposals may be misinterpreted or misunderstood by clients, leading to confusion or dissatisfaction. Clear communication and follow-up are essential to address any misunderstandings.
  4. Costly Revisions: If a client requests revisions or modifications to the proposal, it may incur additional costs and delays, especially if significant changes are required.
  5. Competitive Pressure: In competitive markets, businesses may need to invest more time and resources into creating compelling proposals to stand out from competitors, increasing the pressure and costs associated with proposal development.

Must Know Facts of Proposal and Quote

Here are five essential facts to know about proposals and quotes:

For Proposal

  1. Purpose and Scope: Proposals are comprehensive documents that outline plans, solutions, or offers in response to a specific need or opportunity. They detail the scope of work, objectives, methodology, and benefits of the proposed solution.
  2. Customization: Proposals are typically tailored to the needs and preferences of the recipient. They often require research and analysis to understand the client’s requirements thoroughly. Customization helps demonstrate understanding and increases the likelihood of acceptance.
  3. Persuasive Content: Effective proposals include persuasive content focus in convincing the recipient to accept the proposed solution. This may include compelling arguments, case studies, testimonials, and data to support the feasibility and benefits of the proposal.
  4. Professional Presentation: Proposals should be well-organized, professionally formatted, and free of errors. A clear structure, concise language, and visually appealing design enhance readability and convey professionalism. Attention to detail reflects positively on the sender’s credibility and competence.
  5. Follow-up and Communication: Following up on a proposal is important for maintaining engagement and addressing any questions or concerns the recipient may have. Timely and proactive communication demonstrates commitment and responsiveness, fostering trust and strengthening the relationship with the potential client.

For Quote

  1. Accuracy and Detail: Quotes must accurately reflect the pricing of products or services that you are offering. They should include detailed information such as itemized costs, quantities, applicable taxes, discounts, and any additional fees to provide a clear understanding of the total cost.
  2. Transparency: Transparent pricing is essential in building trust with clients. Quotes should clearly break down the costs which relate with each product or service, avoiding hidden fees or ambiguous charges. Clarity and honesty in pricing help establish credibility and credibility.
  3. Validity and Expiry: Quotes typically have a validity period, after which the prices may change due to factors such as fluctuations in market conditions or supplier costs. It’s important to specify the validity period of the quote to manage expectations and avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Flexibility and Negotiation: While quotes provide specific pricing information, there is always room for negotiation, especially for larger or more complex projects. Businesses may offer discounts, customized packages, or alternative solutions to accommodate the client’s budget or requirements.
  5. Documentation and Record-keeping: Also, they serve as formal offers and should be documented and archived for future reference. Keeping records of quotes facilitates tracking of pricing history, communication with clients, and ensures consistency and accuracy in pricing across different clients and projects.

Also check this: 25 Inspiring Freelance Writing Quotes

When to use a Proposal

Proposals are required for projects where you have multiple options or solutions for the client.  

Oftentimes, proposals contain multiple components where one part can be an estimate and another part a quote.

Use a proposal when:

  • A client request that you send a pitch after your meeting with them.
  • You’re shortlisted with other contractors to “compete” for a business or a project.
  • A client wants an estimate, but you decide to go the extra mile and provide more detail and showcase the value your business can provide.

Using a proposal appropriately can increase your chances of winning a client’s business at the start of a new relationship.

Keep in mind that, when you submit a proposal, you’ll often do so in competition with several other companies. As a result, it’s essential that you take the time to create an excellent proposal and showcase value.

When to use a Quote

Quotes may not be as comprehensive as proposals, but they each have their respective uses and if used properly.

To understand when to use quotes, you need to understand how important it is to convince your client of the current task at hand, and how effective you can possibly be should you choose to do so.

Putting in too little or too much effort can either ruin your chances or cost you valuable time.

Once the customer accepts the quote, you have to complete the work as detailed in the quote and at that price. For this reason, ensure you compile a quote with a thorough understanding of what the client wants. In this way, you’ll be able to execute the services, exclusions, timelines, and project scope.

How to create a compelling quote

It’s not enough to know when to use a Quote, you should also learn how to prepare it for business and turn your prospects into customers.

Before are powerful tips on how to improve your quote writing.

#1. Structure your Quote

Structuring your quote using the proper formatting makes your document easier to read. There is a standard layout for quotes which looks a little like this:

  • Quotation header — State your company’s name, contacts, tax registration number, quotation number and date, payment terms, and the name of the recipient. Write the word “Quote” or “Quotation” at the top of the page.
  • Quotation body — Describe the proposed goods or services and provide pricing information.
  • Quotation footer — Include the total amount of all items, tax amount, and validity of the quote. Offer a call-to-action such as their signature.

See also: “Content is King” | Is this still Truth? | Reasons & Quotes

#2. Visualize the project

To describe your product in a way your client will understand, you may have to use consider including a few pictures or videos. This is especially true if your product is new and has some unique features uncommon for the market.

If your company provides clients with specific services, you can also visualize them by including videos, photos, and graphs that best reflect both process and result. This can make your product stand out from the competition as not many companies do this.

#3. Build a template with a strong brand identity

In creating a Quote, make your template unique and demonstrate your brand identity.

So how do you make these documents look styled in a short amount of time? It makes take hours or even days to design templates. In other to save time, use Quoting softwares. They allow you to choose ready-made templates and fully customize it according to your needs and the needs of your customer.

#4. Use Quote-to-Cash software

Quote-to-cash software comes with a lot of features; Clients can sign, accept the quote, and also pay immediately upon signing. It is a fast and convenient way to land a new contract and customer.

Of course, it’s impossible to pay for a hand-written document received via mail, so quoting software will help you achieve quote-to-cash functionality.

How to Write a Winning Business Proposal

Before you create a proposal, you must understand and learn the basics of it. Let your proposal communicate the wants and needs of your prospective client and how your product or service meets those needs better than any of your competitors.

Here are basic tips on how to create a compelling proposal.


In creating a proposal, you begin by introducing your company and your product or service and how you help your clients achieve their goals. Try to be creative and attempt to grab the attention of the potential client.

You can share a few snippets about your business, this will help build a personal relationship and create a sense of trust in the client’s mind.


Remember that the main goal of a proposal is to offer a solution to a problem that a potential client is facing or will face in the future. So when creating your proposal, state all the benefits that the client might be able to extract from your product or service.

Make the proposal centered on the benefits your clients will receive rather than what you can offer. Indicate how your company will suit their unique needs.

Related article: How to Become a Business Writer in a Short Time


Once you’ve highlighted the problems that your client is facing or may face in the future, it is time to suggest how your company can help overcome those challenges. Ensure to back up your solution with credible facts and figures. Include proof, testimonial of benefits you provided to other clients to add credibility to your claims.

Never include fake testimonials as it can kill your brand reputation and make you lose the respect built over the years.

 When you’re are done, include a call to action to convince your client to take action.

If you submitted a proposal on Writergig freelance platform as a seller, you can learn How To Know When Your Proposal Is Accepted By A Buyer.


What’s the main difference between a proposal and a quote?

A proposal outlines a detailed plan of action, while a quote provides a specific price for products or services.

Can I use a proposal instead of a quote?

It depends on the nature of the transaction. Proposals are used for complex projects requiring strategic planning, while quotes are suitable for transactions involving specific products or services.

Is it necessary to include pricing in a proposal?

You can include pricing information in a proposal, but it’s not always necessary. Proposals focus more on the proposed solution, objectives, and methodology.

How do I know if I should follow up after sending a proposal or quote?

Following up shows commitment and responsiveness. It’s advisable to follow up within a reasonable timeframe to address any questions or concerns.


Quotes and proposals are different, despite the overlap between these documents. It’s essential that when you submit either of these documents to a client, you take the time to understand what they’re expecting to receive. With this, you’ll be able to deliver based on what the clients want and not based on what you think.