Skip to Main Content

Home Explore Careers

Proposal Managers

History

According to an article in Inc. magazine, “a business proposal is a written document sent to a prospective client in order to obtain a specific job.” Proposals may be unsolicited or in response to a formal solicitation called an RFP or request for proposal issued by the company or organization.

Business proposals differ from estimates, but in many small businesses they serve the same purpose. Over the years small businesses have used estimates to obtain services or jobs where the business ultimately gets a deal through detailing the price and plan for the service as well as carrying out sales calls and interviews and relying their reputation.

Proposals, however, rely on more complex items and issues in addition to price and are generally used for more complex one time projects. They must include schedules, time lines, activities, research, and other key logistical details.

It is difficult to determine exactly when people started using business proposals to procure business. In the early days of commerce if someone wanted a person or company to perform a service, they would ask and often would get a verbal answer detailing costs and perhaps the time line. The purchaser might ask one or more people or companies who could perform that service what the charges would be and often get simple written documents estimating the costs and time line for comparison.

As business became more complex, people started requiring something more than just a price. They wanted all the specifics of a project or purchase written and explained with detailed information on the work to be done to complete the project, background information on the company providing the service, and other information. They wanted a proposal telling them about what it would take to get a project done and why that specific person or company was best for the job. 

Today many companies have entire departments dedicated to putting together, developing, and writing proposals in order to procure projects. In 2015, the job of proposal managers appeared 49th on a list of the best jobs in America in an article by CNN/Money/PayScale looking at the top 100 careers with big growth great pay and satisfying work.

Related Professions