Hi, Amy. I don’t think we’re far apart on how to pricing ought to be communicated to clients. What you suggest—a range—is a fair (and efficient) solution, but it’s also possible that no helpful range can be supplied at the outset. In those instances, we prefer to inform clients what our minimum viable budget is so we can be sure we’re at least talking with someone who is prepared to pay the going rate for professional design and development.
We would also agree that much of what is in the proposal ought to be discussed during the process leading up to the proposal delivery—especially conversations about budget and timeline. Those questions are only superficial in the sense that they are often assigned undue weight and answers are requested before the proper context has been established. For more information on pricing, you should absolutely read “Andy Rutledge’s article on calculating hours”:http://www.andyrutledge.com/calculating-hours.php .
Finally, we completely agree on the precedence of the “what you get” part of the proposal. I may have given it short shrift in this article by partially burying it at the end of the “What, When, and How Much?” section, but I hope it was clear that from our perspective _who_ you get is at least as important as the particular deliverables you are promised in the proposal.
I hope that answers some of your questions, and thanks for kicking things off. I too would love to hear more from others about their approaches to pricing and proposals.