How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP) – Free Templates

Every successful business person will tell you the significance of writing the request for proposal. Ideally, no company can operate by itself. At some point in time, they will require to purchase a product or receive service from elsewhere. But before going around for shopping, you can use a request for a proposal to enable you to get the best product/service that meets your criteria.

So, what do we mean by an RFP?

The term ‘Request for Proposal (RFP) says it all. Also known as Request for Quotation (RFQ), an RFP is a document that a company sends to multiple vendors in order to secure their bids and to choose the best fit for their project. Due to the competitive nature of the procurement, RFP helps you identify best-qualified vendors that don’t overcharge their products and services.

Contents to include in your RFPs

While it may seem like an easy process, writing an RFP can be more challenging for many. However, if you are thinking of writing one, the following process will help you through:

Background/introduction

The first thing you need to write in your RFP document is the introduction paragraph. Here, you need to give a brief introduction to your project and the required details. Also, you can add useful information about the company’s background. This can include the following;

  • Date it was founded
  • The names of the founder(s)
  • The type of product or service rendered by the company
  • The company’s competitive advantage

The company’s location

Giving out your company’s background information is necessary as it helps the vendors understand the nature of your trade.

Project purpose, goals and ambition

After the introductory paragraph, it’s now time to let your audience know your project plans and what you seek to achieve. At the same time, you need to make your goals clear and specific. To make it more appealing, you can include phrases that outline individual tasks and criteria. For instance, you can say that “The firm with highest quality of products will be awarded…”

Scope of work and deliverables

Here, you will want to provide a detailed schedule to help vendors know whether or not they can meet the demands. Again, you will provide the vendors with an opportunity to forward their questions relating to the project. This will certainly reduce the hassle between the involved parties.

Place of proposal submission

After reading your RFP and agreeing to its requirement, the next thing your vendors will want is to know where to reach you. Therefore, it’s prudent that you indicate a place in which proposals or bids are channeled to for consideration. You can add a physical address or contact details (preferably both phone number and email).

Timeline

In as much as it’s difficult to predict the exact time for your project completion, it is important that you set a guiding timeline. If your project is running under tight time constraints, the RFP will automatically eliminate vendors who find it hard to cope. For instance, you can include a phrase like this “We intend to complete the project latest 5 months’ time. Therefore, we encourage you to submit your proposal only if you can adhere to our timelines.”

Components of the proposals

Here is where you will describe what you want to be included in the proposals in advance. Therefore, you will clearly explain to the bidders what they need to include in their proposals for them to get approved.

Evaluation Criteria

In this section, you will explain to your audience the criteria you will use when picking the winning candidate. In line with this, you can also mention the priorities your company considers essential. This will help vendors formulate a response that matches your project requirements.

Budget

For any bidder to express their interest, they must be satisfied with the budget. Therefore, you need to provide the amount the bidder will take home should they win the project tender. Remember that if you stake a higher amount in your budget, you are more likely to get more responses from bidders.

Free Templates & Examples

Request-for-Proposal-Templates-Free-Download

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Audit-Service-Request-for-Proposal

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    Tips for writing an RFP that yields high-quality responses

    In order to get multiple high-quality responses, it’s important that you take certain considerations when writing. These considerations will help grab the vendor’s attention hence buying into your idea.

    Be clear

    When writing the RFP, it’s prudent that you make it clear and easily understandable. That being said, you need to describe in detail what you would like to accomplish with your project. Making your RFP clear helps the vendors to understand your requirements easily.

    Be transparent

    In order to establish a proper working relationship with your partners, you need to keep your RFP as transparent as possible. When your RFP document is full of inaccurate information, it could discourage other parties from engaging with you.

    Identify your audience

    Again, your RFP document should be written with a specific target audience in mind. Once you’ve understood your audience, it becomes much better to communicate about your project’s specifications.

    Be specific about technical requirements

    The last thing you should avoid when writing your RFP is being generic. According to pundits, giving out specific requirements about your project makes your RFP attract many bids as possible. Take your time and narrate to vendors about the project you wish to implement. Note that if you don’t be specific in your descriptions, the vendors won’t know what to include in their proposal bids.

    Use bullet points and subheadings

    Your RFP should be written in a format that’s easy to scan and to digest. Therefore, make good use of subheadings and bullet points with large blocks of text. This makes your RFP easy to understand hence more response from vendors.

    Proofread and revise your RFP

    The moment you are through writing the RFP, it’s advisable that you reread it again. This will help you identify any grammatical and spelling errors. At the same it, proofreading helps you spot some sentences that need rewording or reworking to improve fluency and clarity. You can then send it to your friend/colleague to go through it for further correction and ensure professionalism.

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