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Bidsketch: professional proposals in minutes? we'll see.

November 3rd 2014 - reviews

I stumbled upon Bidsketch a couple weeks ago while just searching for "proposal templates". I needed to write a marketing proposal quickly and the templates that they offered looked really slick.

Sign up

Sign up was quick and painless. I even set up "proposals.cyberstudiosinc.com" and added my own background image and color scheme to the place where I'll be sending potential clients to view proposals.

Creating the proposal

Actually creating my first proposal was SUPER easy. I found the hard part to be figuring out what to actually write. Bidsketch does provide some great templates with complete content, I am assuming you have full permission to use. I didn't see any guidelines saying you can't just use what they have word-for-word. But I didn't want to use someone else's words verbatim. I like to put my own spin on things. So that did take me a while.

Now that I have my first couple proposals done, they make it very easy to duplicate them. Bidsketch also lets you set up variables for your customer's name, your company name etc. So when you are writing the proposal text you type "{client_name}" and it will automatically be replaced with the client's name you are creating the proposal for. When you duplicate, no need to hunt down every instance of the previous client's info....Very cool!

Sending the proposal

Again, as easy as clicking "Send". What I found to be possibly the most appealing feature is that once you send a proposal you can tell if the recipient has viewed the proposal online, for how long and if they saved a PDF copy of it. Great tool. Knowing the best and appropriate time for a follow up can be a guessing game. But this made it easy.

My second favorite feature is the electronic signature. In the web development business I deal with clients from different states and countries. So a face-to-face contract signing is rarely an option. I went ahead and included all of our terms and conditions at the end of the proposal, so as soon as it is accepted then the client signs and BOOM.... work can begin. No emailing/faxing documents back and fourth. A process I have learned to deal with but still loathe to an extent.

The cost

After the trial period of 14 days (no credit card required), the price ranges from $29 per month to $149 per month. For all of the features, full templates, proposal tracking, electronic signatures and a customizable look and feel I think $29 per month is a fair cost. To me the $149 per month seems a bit high, bit it's obviously aimed at a large agency who cranks out the proposals on a daily, maybe hourly, basis. You can see ALL of the Plans & Pricing here.

The cons

I found a couple of cons while experimenting with Bidsketch.

Number one: When you sign up you select your industry. I found that this pigeon holes you into only having templates for that one industry. My company offers a wide array of digital services, not just marketing or development. When I originally came across the templates in my initial search, there were many more options than when I set up my account. So that was kind of a bummer.

Number two: Once you have sent a proposal it can't be edited. Now traditionally you can't do this with any other proposal either. And I would definitely understand not being able to edit once it's been accepted. But in my case, I presented a proposal to someone who doesn't speak english as their first language. So there were a few things that were unclear. I'd like the ability to go in and MAKE IT CLEARER even after they've viewed it. And possibly notify them take another look.

Number three: It took me way more than a couple minutes to get my first proposal finished. Granted, if I could have just used their stock content I probably could have whipped it out in 60 seconds. But I don't think that's realistic for a professional. A quick search of some of the stock text and there are several companies who come up as using the exact text WORD-FOR-WORD on their website. So that's just a no-go for me.

Conclusion

Overall, it's a great feature-rich service. For me the pros outweigh the cons and I plan on continuing to use it. The finished product looks clean and simple and the user interface is nice.

Jen Drow

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.