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How to Write a Green or Environmental Business Proposal

Updated on April 15, 2013

Making your pitch and landing the project

I've been creating tools for businesses and organizations to create their proposals for over a decade. I'll outline step-by-step how we help people write proposals more specifically for green and environmentally friendly situations.

Learn the basics of a green or environmental business proposal. There is more to writing a proposal than just showing how much it will cost. You need to show the other party that you can be trusted to deliver on the goods.

Proposal Pack Artsy #4
Proposal Pack Artsy #4

How to write any kind of environmental proposal

Green projects, products, services, grants, etc.

I work with new clients all the time pitching their products and services into the green marketplace. When a client says she works for an environmental business, I always have to ask what that means to them. Because working in an "environmental business" can mean a lot of things, can't it?

It might mean running a cleaning service or an industrial waste disposal business. Or it could mean promoting green power sources, like wind and solar power or bio fuels. Or it could mean running a recycling program or retrofitting buildings for energy efficiency. The list of environmentally related businesses is long. I mainly ask because I'm curious to learn about all these businesses. I know that the client wants advice about writing business proposals, and the advice I give environmental businesses is pretty much the same advice I give any business owner who wants to write a proposal with a twist.

When you are selling a green solution you are selling more than just your product or service. You are selling your client on leaving their environment in better shape. Make sure to include topics that will talk about the community and environmental benefits of working with your solution and help make them feel better about choosing you over someone else who is not as environmentally friendly. There are many specialty topics included in my Proposal Packs that focus on green and environmentally friendly topics you can add to your proposal.

Of course the information in any proposal varies according to the type of business and the project being proposed. That said, what a lot of people don't know is that the structure of a good proposal remains the same, no matter what the business is or what the project may be. Here's how it goes. In a business proposal you need to 1) introduce yourself, 2) show that you understand your prospective client's needs, 3) highlight your goods and services and present your costs, and 4) persuade the client that your organization is right for the job.

The other big tip I have for successful proposal writing is that a good proposal needs to be tailored to the people who will read it. That surprises a lot of beginning proposal writers. Yep, a winning proposal is all about your clients and how you can meet their needs. Start with that mindset and you'll be done writing your proposal in no time. Using pre-designed templates and samples can give you a big head start, too.

A lot of folks who buy my products are writing their very first proposal. Don't sweat it, I tell them. Let's talk a little more about how to fill in that basic four-part structure I described above. There's no best length for a proposal. Each should be as long as it needs to be to describe what you're proposing to do. On average, most proposals are 5-10 pages long, but a very simple one might be only three pages, while a complex proposal could have dozens or even hundreds of pages. A government RFP response could easily be 30 pages long or more.

As I said above, a good proposal should be tailored to the person or committee who will make the Go or No-Go decision. So here's your first step: mentally transport yourself into your clients' shoes and view the project or problem from their point of view. If you don't know them well, research their business and history, or interview them in advance about what they want and need and what their concerns and limitations are. When you have that information in hand, you're ready to start writing.

Introduce your proposal with a Cover Letter and Title Page. The Cover Letter should be printed on your company letterhead, explain who you are, and provide your contact information. The Title Page is like a cover sheet for your proposal-just name your proposal in a meaningful way. Some examples might be "Construction Cleanup for the Barkley Square Restoration Project," "Proposal to Install Solar Panels on City Hall," and "Proposed Electric Car Charging System in the Metropolitan Area."

My Proposal Kits on Amazon

Or shop direct and download Proposal Packs from I have hundreds of design themes available. These are just a few that are commonly used for green and environmental proposals.

Proposal Pack Environmental #1 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1
Proposal Pack Environmental #1 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1

A classic recycling symbol and dashes of greenery signal readers that your proposal is full of planet-friendly ideas.

Proposal Pack Environmental #2 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1
Proposal Pack Environmental #2 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1

Crisp fonts, along with recycle symbols and green leaves enclosed in circles let clients know that you are a champion for nature.

Proposal Pack Environmental #3 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1
Proposal Pack Environmental #3 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1

Renewing resources are your key to the future. Show your clients you are a champion for the environment.

Proposal Pack Aqua #1 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1
Proposal Pack Aqua #1 - Business Proposals, Plans, Templates, Samples and Software V17.1

Your proposal will make waves when you add the eye-catching accents of water with this style.

Proposal Pack Nature Design Theme
Proposal Pack Nature Design Theme

Lay out the details

Describe all of the required details of your proposal

After the introduction, you'll use the client information you gathered earlier to write a client-centered section. Here, your goal is to show that you understand the needs of your client. If the project you are proposing is complex and your proposal will be long, you may need to start off with an Executive Summary or a Client Summary, which is basically a list of your most important points, designed to sum up your proposal for a busy top-level decision maker.

In this client-centered section, demonstrate that you understand your prospective client's requirements, needs, and concerns. For example, you might want to include pages that discuss issues generated by the specific project workspace or by specific hazardous materials to be handled. Don't talk about your ideas yet. This section should be all about the client and/or the project requirements. Think of this section as describing the problem you are going to solve, or asking the question you are going to answer.

After the client-centered section comes your turn to describe your solutions to what the client wants or needs. In other words, in this third section, you will explain exactly what you propose to do. You'll probably have some general pages with titles like Services Provided, Products, Price List, Services Cost Summary, Benefits, Warranty and/or Guarantee. Depending on your business and the specific project, you'll also need specialized topics that address concerns such as your employees' Training and Certifications in safety or hazardous waste handling, descriptions of various procedures you will employ, a discussion of your Safety Plan, the Equipment you'll use, how you will maintain Security and control quality, how you will address specific Environmental issues, the amount and type of Insurance you carry, and so on.

The number and types of pages in this section depend on the project you're discussing and what you are offering to do. A company that retrofits buildings may be selling both services and products as well as servicing multiple locations for a client, so that company will need to describe associated equipment and discuss logistical issues. A recycling company will probably include pages with titles like Transportation, Facilities, Input, Output, and Waste Handling. Specialized cleaning services such as accident, crime scene, fire, or flood cleanup companies should include topics that discuss environmental protection and hazardous or biological waste handling. An organization featuring "green" products will list their products' materials and special features as well as their certifications, compare their products to their competitors, and may explain bundling deals or volume discounts.

After you've described what you propose to do and what it will cost, you're 75% done. Next comes the fourth section, where you conclude your proposal by convincing your client that you can be trusted to deliver the goods or services you have promised. Use all the ammunition you've got. If you have won Awards or have Testimonials or Referrals or Ratings from third parties, be sure to include those. Pages in this section will have titles like About Us, Qualifications, Capabilities, Our Clients, Customer Service, and References. Include all the topics you need to persuade the client that you have credibility and expertise.

Proposal Pack Energy Design Theme
Proposal Pack Energy Design Theme

Proof, Polish and Deliver

Make your proposal look great and doublecheck everything

There! Those are the basic ingredients of a business proposal. Now check every page you've written to make sure there are no grammar or spelling errors. Then take a little time to make your proposal look great. Remember, you want your proposal to stand out from competing proposals. You can use interesting fonts and bullet points, and/or add color and graphics by incorporating your company logo or using colored borders and titles. Just keep the overall look professional.

You can deliver your proposal via email as a PDF file, or print it and send it or hand it off in person. The method should depend on your relationship with the potential client-would a printed, personally delivered proposal impress them more? Then you might want to make that extra effort, especially if competition is tight.

I hope that new proposal writers now understand that the pages in each proposal pages will vary by project and that to increase the odds of success, each proposal should be customized for the party receiving it. I also hope you can see that all proposals follow a similar format and structure, and many pages can be used in multiple proposals, so each subsequent proposal will seem easier than the first.

Also, you should know that there's no need to start from scratch unless you just enjoy the challenge of a blank page. You can find templates for all the pages mentioned in this article in Proposal Pack. The templates include instructions and examples of information that should be included on each page. The product is also jam-packed with a wide variety of sample proposals, including samples for all sorts of environmentally related businesses. Using the templates and studying the samples will make it easy to create your own winning business proposal.

One of over 500 Proposal Kit testimonials

I have been using this system for over 8 years and it is the best that money can buy. It paid for itself many times over every year. I have no reservations recommending this software. This is the best buy on the internet. Don't be fooled by pretenders. - Joseph Alberici, Inroads, LLC

My Proposal Writing Tools for Environmental Professionals - Getting a boost with your proposal writing already started

Most people don't have the time or experience to start writing a detailed business proposal from scratch. Leveraging tools that provide pre-written material and samples can save time and help prevent errors commonly made by new writers. I've include a selection of green and environmental proposals that are part of all of my Proposal Pack packages.

Are you in the business of providing green / environmental solutions? Did my page provide any helpful information?

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