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  • DC Dave

Proper Proposals

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

I am often surprised when people ask me questions about proposals they have received from other flooring companies. So, I decided to dedicate this blog to helping people understand what a proposal should contain. When I first started DC Hardwood Flooring, LLC., more than 25 years ago, I met with an attorney to go over key aspects of a proposal. What I’ve listed below is based upon his recommendation in terms of what a proposal should look like and contain when submitted to a potential customer.


First, proposals should list: customer’s name, address, job address (if different), telephone number, email, and date. The date is important if the proposal must be accepted in a certain amount of time, usually 30 days, for pricing to remain valid.


DC Hardwood Flooring provides several services besides installing, sanding, and finishing hardwood floors. We also install tile, handrails, and trim work and perform basic carpentry—for example, finishing new doors and hanging them, trimming out windows and doors, or building window seats. But in this blog, I will focus on the basics for an example proposal.


Installation, sanding, and finishing should be the next thing listed in a proposal. It describes what work the company is going to be performing.

The next thing listed should be what type of floor finish they will be using, or you requested (water-based, oil-based polyurethane or acid-cured Swedish finish). Personally, I would recommend also listing the brand name—for example, Bona® water-based finish or Glitsa® Swedish finish. And let’s not forget to list the sheen (the shine of the floor finish)—gloss, semi-gloss, or satin/matte.


Now, a proper proposal should list the type of wood that will be used, and it should be extremely specific and detailed. For example, #1 (which is the grade, there are three hardwood flooring grades: select, #1 or #2); the species and board width, i.e., red oak ¾” solid x 2¼ “wide x random lengths; and the cut (flat grain, rift cut or quartersawn).


Next the proposal should identify where the hardwood is going to be installed (e.g., living room, dining room, etc.).


Finally, proposals should separately list any extras so you as the homeowner know the line items for which you will be charged—for example, hauling away garbage, tape and tarping, removal of old floor coverings (tile, carpet, vinyl, etc.), removal of old baseboard and re-installation of trim.


Keeping this in mind when you request a proposal will help you better evaluate your options and choose the best contractor for your project. Hardwood flooring proposals should be semi-custom tailored to your request. It helps to write down your requests and use that as a checklist to see if they are detailed on any proposals you receive.


Finally, it is useful to know the differences between a proposal, bid, and an estimate. For more on that, go to: https://jobsitewp.wpengine.com/estimate-quote-proposal-bid-differences/.


DC Dave




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