If you’ve ever had to write a request for proposal (RFP), you know how long and detailed these documents can be. Since the average RFP is around twenty pages, it’s important to take steps to help your RFP writers do the task more efficiently.
The article below will explain what an RFP is and how to write a good one for your company’s next project.
What is RFP (Request for Proposal)?
A request for proposal (RFP) is a document that publicly announces a project. This document describes the project in great detail and seeks bids from contractors. It’s used by both businesses and governments to find qualified professionals for certain projects.
Businesses use RFPs to evaluate bids and bidding companies to ensure the successful completion of their project.
What is a Request for Proposal Template?
An RFP template is created to help you save time when writing RFPs. It also helps your company provide consistent RFPs, even if different people are writing them. Since an RFP represents your brand to the outside world, it’s important to have consistent and high-quality documents.
A good RFP will provide all necessary information to help contractors bid on projects. Having all expectations upfront is a great way to find a candidate who best fits your project’s needs.
RFP (Request for Proposal) Templates and Examples
Why is it Important?
Writing RFPs is an important step when your company plans to hire contractors for specific projects. There are three primary reasons why RFPs are so important:
- They can help you find the best price and highest quality work.
- They outline the scope of your project so contractors know what’s expected.
- They help you research companies for your project since these companies will bid on your project and provide the necessary documentation.
Essential Elements of a Request for Proposal Template
There are eight essential elements you should always include in your request for a proposal template.
1. Background Information
You should include background information with any information a contractor might need about your company before submitting a bid. This may include information about business locations, services, and products.
This section should be short and informative.
2. Project Overview & Project Goals
This section will describe the project that’s behind your RFP. Make sure to include as much information as possible so contractors know exactly what you need and whether they’re a good fit for the project.
Include all the relevant business goals and an outline of all the tasks necessary for the project. You should also include your budget in this section since contractors will use that information when offering bids.
3. Scope of Work
This includes a checklist of all the things you need to receive from a contractor. Leave nothing out, no matter how insignificant you think it is.
Include a detailed list of deadlines in your RFP to help you sort out any contractors who cannot meet your deadlines. If there’s flexibility in those deadlines, you can include that in this section of the proposal.
A detailed list of deadlines and milestones can help you ensure you get the project done in your preferred timeframe.
5. Materials & Question
List all materials you’ll need the contractor or vendor to supply. This includes their services, work samples, proof of skills, and history with similar projects or companies.
Use this section to ask questions you want bidders to answer when they submit their RFP documents.
6. Criteria for Evaluation
This is the section where you’ll list all of the criteria that matter most for your project. Providing this information will help them understand how they’re being scored and help them tailor their bids to your needs.
Some companies use weighted scoring, so it’s important to include information about weighted scoring in your RFP.
7. Possible Roadblocks
You should inform potential contractors about roadblocks that could cause problems as they carry out their work. Not only will this weed out unqualified vendors, but it allows you to evaluate contractors on their ability to tackle challenges facing your project.
Roadblocks may include things like custom coding, limited resources, outdated plan forms, or any other obstacle that stands between a contractor and the successful completion of a job.
8. Guidelines for Submitting the Proposal
This is where you provide contractors with key information to help them submit a proposal. Include things like where they can download the RFP, how many copies they should include, who to send the proposal to, and the deadline for submitting proposals.
Tips for Writing the RFP
Even with a template, writing an RFP can be challenging. To make things easier, here are a few tips on how to write an RFP:
- Make sure your document includes all of the necessary information. When in doubt, include more information to help potential contractors know the full scope of your project.
- View different RFP samples and templates to get an idea of what the finished RFP will look like. If your company has an RFP template and samples available, refer to these before looking at outside resources.
- Start with a good RFP template to save time and energy.
- Determine the scoring criteria, which must use a rubric or scoring matrix. This is how you’ll determine which vendor is the best fit for your project.
- Clearly outline the timelines and instructions for submission. It’s important to have this information available at the beginning of the process.
Difference between an RFP, RFI & an RFQ
An RFP is a document requesting proposals from vendors and contractors. An RFI (Request for Information) is a way for buyers to conduct market research before officially releasing an RFP. Vendors can place bids on an RFI, although an RFI does not guarantee that an RFP will be available down the road. Because of this, the RFI is only for gathering information to help a company make an effective RFP.
An RFQ (Request for Quote) is like an RFP, except instead of making the document publicly available, the company solicits specific vendors they think would be a good fit for a job. A company can send an RFQ to as many or as few vendors as they want, based on their project’s criteria.
Different Types of RFP
There are lots of different types of RFPs. The following are just a few of the many RFPs your company may write:
- Marketing RFP – used to solicit marketing companies to create materials for marketing your company, such as eBooks or case studies.
- Government and non-profit RFP – used by government and non-profit organizations to solicit outside organizations to help with projects.
- Social Media RFP – used to get bids to help a business’ social media presence.
- Workplace RFP – used by senior leadership to get bids on projects to help employees work more effectively.
- Branding and Design RFP – used to get branding materials (logo, brand guidelines) and design resources for your company.
- Website RFP – used to get bids from web developers to build or improve a company’s website.
Who is responsible for RFP?
The persona responsible for creating an RFP will vary between companies. Project managers, stakeholders, and other individuals within a company may all be responsible for writing RFPs. Each individual RFP should have one person who’s responsible for creating the RFP and evaluating responses.
What comes after a request for a proposal?
After an RFP has been published, vendors can place bids on the project. The deadline for accepting bids should be clearly outlined in the RFP. After bidding is closed, the company must evaluate bids and determine which is right for the job.
How much does it cost to write an RFP?
If you hire an outside source to write an RFP, you can expect to pay $100 per page. Since a detailed RFP is typically around 20 pages, it costs $2000 to outsource this step in the process. Using an in-house employee to write the RFP can be built into your payroll costs.
How do proposal writers use an RFP?
Proposal writers, us an RFP to highlight the skills they would bring to the job. When they carefully read the RFP, they have a good idea of what the company is expecting. Because of this, they can tailor their responses to fit the needs of the company.
A request for proposal (RFP) is an important document for companies that outsource projects. By publishing an RFP, a company can get bids from companies to ensure the highest quality work for the most affordable price. An RFP is used to get potential contractors on the same page as the company, so all expectations are disclosed before a project is started.