Guidelines : Proposals
- Give the overall scope of the proposal, specific recommendation, and total cost up front.
- Choose the detail arrangement most appropriate for your particular subject. Generally, that means stating criteria, features, or options first. (Don’t assume your reader knows the criteria for weighing details.) Then show how each product, machine, service, person, or company meets the criteria you’ve established. Such an arrangement lets your reader “keep score” more easily and also ensures more equal comparisons than otherwise. You may find, however, any number of other suitable arrangements–geographical, costliness, advanÄes vs. disadvantages. Whatever arrangement you choose, move from most to least significant points and do not mix pros and cons in any category. Separate the pros from the cons, the benefits from the disadvantages, the acceptable from the unacceptable.
- Weigh and interpret facts and details. Is a specific detail beneficial? Harmful? To be expected? Indicative of a trend? Competitive? Questionable? Why? Don’t simply state a fact and expect your reader to decide if that fact is desirable or undesirable, important or unimportant, acceptable or unacceptable.
- Don’t equate the quality of your proposal with the length of the recommendation or the money involved; there’s no correlation.
- When possible, break down total cost so the reader can “play” with the figures, omitting or increasing specific options to fit any budget limitations.
- Identify subjective statements as such. Add clarifying comments such as “in my opinion,” “according to experts in the field,” “this fact suggests,” or “due to claims of past clients.”
- Add authority. Can you gather more facts? Interview experts or clients? Survey staff preferences and needs? Give case studies? Produce figures from past years or from other companies?
- Suggest how the proposal be implemented. Mention individuals or departments to handle specifics and, if appropriate, suggest a target date for implementation.
Example 1: Proposals memorandum
SUBJECT: Proposal for Security Guard Service at Bayar Terminal
Due to our growing needs for security at the Bayar Terminal (19– estimated loss from stolen goods amounts to $200,000), I recommend we engage a contract security service to control the flow of personnel, vehicles, and materials/products entering and departing from our terminal. After interviewing six company security offices in the area, I narrowed my investigation to three security services: Bilton, Guardsmen, and Security Unlimited. I propose we offer a contract to Guardsmen at an annual cost of $75,750.
Guardsmen will allow our final approval on assigned guards and will provide results of all reference checks, physical exams, and polygraph tests. Their representative has also allowed access to salary schedules and benefits packages, those being equal to ours at entry-level positions. The guards receive 12 hours of instruction and two days’ personal supervision on the job. As a local company, Guardsmen schedules weekly unannounced supervisory visits and can be flexible in providing backup support.
If you accept this proposal, I’d suggest implementation be turned over to Darrell Bennaham with January 1 as our target date.
This recommendation is based on the following criteria and investigative information from Bilton, Security Unlimited, and Guardsmen.
The security company should be willing to go into detail about how guards are selected; all guards should be subject to final approval by our Bayar representative. The security company should provide results of all reference checks, polygraph exams, and physical exams. Also, guards should have acceptable oral and written communication skills. Previous experience as military/civilian police would also be advantageous.
• None of the companies could guarantee its guards had previous military/civilian police experience or acceptable writing skills.
• Guardsmen meets all our hiring criteria except as noted in the previous sentence.
• Bilton does not require their personnel to take polygraphs.
• Security Unlimited will not agree to furnish reference checks. This would suggest background checks are not always made, and such checks would, in my estimation, eliminate approximately 50 percent of all applicants.
Bayar should require regular weekly visits by an area supervisor. Without this backup supervision, Bayar Terminal personnel will find themselves repeatedly involved in details of security management, supposedly provided by the security company itself.
• Guardsmen guarantees weekly unannounced supervisory visits.
• Bilton’s procedures call for only “unspecified” visits by its supervisors and would not state how often these visits occur.
• Security Unlimited guarantees weekly unannounced supervisory visits.
Hourly rates should be comparable to those paid terminal personnel at entry-level positions, with scheduled increases based on merit. The company’s benefits package should also include uniforms and personal equipment, holiday and overtime compensation, vacations, hospitalization, and life insurance. Such compensation suggests permanence and more highly skilled workers.
• Guardsmen has provided all this requested information. Beginning salaries are comparable to those of our personnel, and raises are based on merit.
• Neither Bilton nor Security Unlimited would provide the details of its benefits package, both merely saying it was “adequate.”
• Security Unlimited’s beginning wage is far below that of our entry-level employees.
Since no state certification is required, the company should provide training prior to posting personnel at the terminal. Guard training should include legal, authority, search/seizure, personal appearance and conduct, emergency plans, and safety. New personnel should work under personal supervision for at least 24 hours before assuming duties alone.
• Guardsmen provides 12 hours’ training and two days’ personal on-the-job supervision.
• Bilton provides eight hours of training prior to assigning a guard to a permanent duty station, and minimal first-day personal supervision.
• Security Unlimited provides six hours of training but no personal on-the-job supervision.
Companies should be located within 50 miles of our terminal to allow for close and frequent supervision and flexibility in providing backup personnel.
• All three companies are local.
Our requirements for sufficient security include one supervisor/instructor and three security officers (one officer to cover each of the three eight-hour shifts). Weekly, this should amount to 120 hours of straight time, eight hours of overtime, and the supervisor’s salary. Costs for the security service, of course, vary in line with how well the companies meet the above criteria:
• Guardsmen $75,750
• Bilton $58,500
• Security Unlimited $63,385
Security services are like football tickets. If you want to sit on the 50-yard line, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with seats in the end zone, they come a little cheaper.
Example 2: Supervisory skills training program proposal templates
SUBJECT: Supervisory Skills Training Program Proposal
Employee Development has been conducting an in-house supervisory course that focuses primarily on theory and information about management concepts and company policies. We would like to propose additional training for first- and second-line supervisors, focusing on skills only–specific behavioral guidance in supervising and motivating employees to increase productivity.
The program would be administered with the help of TAG Consulting, Inc., a Phoenix firm. The total cost of $52,000 will cover customized behavior models, videotaped introductory and practice sessions, six line managers and/or staff certified by TAG as qualified trainers, two classes (20 participants each) of trained supervisors, and trainer manual and participant workbook for reproduction.
Research shows attempts to change attitudes of supervisors by logical presentation of theory rarely succeed. Therefore, this program focuses on changing on-the-job behavior. The training will focus on skills such as active listening, self-esteem, reinforcement techniques, goal-setting, and other concerns identified by a needs-analysis questionnaire administered to our supervisors.
The actual design will involve videotaping company supervisors as they effectively model the desired behavioral skills. These tapes will provide positive models to use in later training sessions. Supervisors will then practice the specific behaviors demonstrated by the videotape models until they gain confidence in their ability to handle the same situations on the job. Both participants and trainers provide critiques during the practice sessions. Follow-up sessions will allow “report back” time in which participants report on success, problems, and questions arising from on-the-job application.
A schedule of actual consultant-led meetings for needs analysis, program design, and videoscripting and -taping is attached. Also, I’ve attached a sample format for a “typical” session, along with probable topics for all sessions.
• Production costs $20,000
• Actual training costs 18,500
• Travel and miscellaneous consultant expenses 8,200
• Written materials 5,300
Of this fee, $20,000 (production costs payable after videoscripting) will come out of our 19– budget allocations for equipment. The remaining $32,000 (payable as training expenses occur) will come from the 19– budget.
Research on Effectiveness and Acceptance of Program
Research has been extensive, involving 18 firms and their accompanying methodology, client references, and TAG’s self-reported results. After narrowing the programs down to three for careful examination, we observed various phases of the TAG program as it was being implemented in other companies (Howell, Inc., Allied, and Cascade Corporation) and made our selection on TAG’s own records and their clients’ records of success.
Further, we have verbally presented the program to key executives in our own company to ask for their insight on possible problems of implementation and about their willingness to help with the planning and scripting. A. B. White, C. T. Smith, R. J. Young, and V. B. Brown all enthusiastically support the program and have given us suggestions for scheduling participants from their particular divisions. D. E. Clung has expressed concern that supervisors may be unwilling to be videotaped in practice sessions; however, we feel his concerns will not materialize with the skillful handling of TAG consultants.
Finally, of course, our prime impetus has come from participants in past in-house supervisory courses. Their repeated comments have been they need “something practical to really use back on the job.” These concerns from supervisors again surfaced in the 19– needs-analysis survey conducted in February.
Confidently, we suggest this supervisory-skills program will produce the results our personnel have requested. Immediate approval of this proposal will enable us to use the start-up money from our 19– funds and schedule our first TAG planning consultation in December.
Example 3: Proposal to daycare facility for staff child
SUBJECT: Daycare Facility Proposal
Bandera Corporation continues to grow, employing twice as many staff members as last year. We have determined that more than 50 percent of all staff members have children under the age of five. We recommend Bandera Corporation open an in-house daycare facility. This facility would cost approximately $100,000 per year, but would be funded by families with children in attendance.
Results of a recent questionnaire distributed to employees indicated a major concern was having their young children in daycare. Many mentioned that driving across town to the daycare put them in a constant rush. Also, they were concerned for the entire day about being so far away if the child needed them. Studies have shown that parents who are able to be with their children on breaks and during lunch show an increase in creativity and productivity on the job. In addition, in-house daycare results in fewer late arrivals and days taken off from work.
To recap the benefits: An in-house daycare center would increase productivity of employees by alleviating the stress associated with (1) the rush across town to drop off and pick up kids from daycare centers, (2) being in a different location than their children for more than 8 hours per day, and (3) the high costs associated with daycare.
Start-up for the daycare would require renovation of the empty offices in the west wing. This renovation and the appropriate equipment would cost approximately $15,000. The excess from underspending in all departments from last fiscal year would cover the costs. Personnel and human resources would hire one full-time daycare director, two certified child care professionals and two assistants. The cost of hiring these employees is included in the original estimate of the annual cost of the project.
If you have any questions or comments concerning this proposal, contact Sherry Billings at Ext. 334 or Brenda Janson at Ext. 360.