Requests for proposal examples help you write requests for proposals (RFPs) that attract the best partner company for your business. When you need to outsource a project, an RFP is the document you write asking contractors to submit their bids. A good RFP publicizes your project, describes it clearly, and helps you find a qualified provider to complete it for you, on time and on budget.
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Developing RFPs is a valuable business practice that you as a buyer can use to request information regarding products or services from vendors in relation to a project. This way you receive necessary data to make informed decisions on your procurements.
A request for proposal is the first step in a formal, systematic process used to find vendors to do work for you. Government agencies and other public institutions use the RFP system to promote fair competition as it helps prevent cronyism and takes bias out of the bidding process by ensuring transparency and documenting all of your requirements.
It is important to keep these elements in mind when creating your RFP:
Using request for proposal templates is much more efficient than exchanging information with potential contractors on an individual basis. If your company needs a new website, for instance then you could ask around and try to find the names of some good website design companies and then email those companies, telling them about your project. You would have to explain your requirements and deadlines to each company you email and waste a lot of time going back and forth answering questions when you could simply issue a document that explains everything and send it out to all of your prospects.
Issuing a public RFP circumvents other problems as well. Suppose the companies you email are all too busy to finish your new website in time for the holiday shopping season? What if the best website designer for you is someone you’ve never even heard of? When you post your RFP publicly, you can be sure to get bids from all the most-qualified providers – plus you can be sure they’ll have the time and inclination to take on your project.
Here are 5 reasons why you should issue a request for proposal:
Writing an effective RFP is a multi-step process that can be facilitated by using templates. As with most business processes, the first step is engaging with the stakeholders. Talk to the people who will be dealing with the finished product and working with the vendor to complete the project, as well as other departments such as Legal, HR, and IT that will be involved in the procurement process. Get their advice about any potential challenges the project might face and exact specifications with regards to the finished product. Ask them to rank potential product features as must-have, nice-to-have, or unnecessary. You’ll get a real-world feel for what your project needs and the stakeholders will be more likely to cooperate with necessary changes because they were part of the process from the beginning.
Before you start writing your RFP, it might be a good idea to consider your own mindset and what you really want to accomplish. Think of the type of relationship you want to have with the other company. For short, simple projects, a purely transactional relationship is the norm: you’re looking to get the most work for the lowest price. You might see yourself in an adversarial relationship with your supplier, each of you asking, “What’s in it for me?”
However, long, complex projects bring companies together in relationships where it might be better to ask, “What’s in it for both parties?”. If you begin the process by promoting trust and collaboration, it leads to better working relationships, which have been shown to cut costs and create better outcomes over the long term. This type of approach allows for more flexibility to make changes that make both parties happy.
Once you’ve laid the foundations, you can start writing your request for proposal template that you can re-use and adapt for projects. Depending on the complexity of the project, your RFP might only be a couple of pages long… or hundreds.
Regardless of length, most request for proposal examples consist of the following sections:
Give a brief overview of your project, outlining your requirements, budget, and timeline so potential providers can decide if they’re a good fit. Be precise and honest.
This is your company bio which tells the reader about your business goals and challenges, as well as your market. You might describe:
This should be a clear and specific description of what you want – your goals for the project and what you want it to achieve. However, it’s usually better not to get too detailed about how you want it done. After all, the company you hire will be the experts in this particular line of work. They might have solutions that you never even considered.
If you need particular skills, services, or expertise, this is the place to list them. For instance, your web designer may need to be fluent in certain operating systems and computer languages in order to integrate with your existing system.
This would include things like:
It is vital to proofread your RFP to catch any issues and mistakes. It might be a good idea to ask for help here, since mistakes could have serious consequences and actually lead to you not finding the perfect project fit.
Publish your RFP and wait for proposals to come in in order to start and complete your project.
As with anything, the more RFPs you write, the more you’ll be able to fine-tune and customize your request for proposal templates. When you have many similar request for proposal examples to look at you’ll notice what they have in common. You’ll be able to build an RFP library that will make the process easier.
Lumiform’s free supplier evaluation forms can make organizing your request for proposal documents easier, too.
The ultimate goal of a request for proposal is to attract the very best fit of collaborators for you. If you use a template to write your RFPs, you can be sure you won’t forget important details and can therefore concentrate on creating the best possible RFPs.
Lumiform is the exact tool you need. Our intuitive template creator provides you with a fantastic base for template writing and allows you to fully focus on the content of your RFPs. Make changes wherever you are, add photos, logics and conditional tasks with just one click and carry your template with you on your smartphone or tablet – online or offline.