How to write a request for proposal with template and sample

How to write a request for proposal with template and sample



Whether you work for a small agency or a major marketing company, chances are you will eventually need to complete a Request for Proposal or RFP. Your business can’t do everything in-house, and when your business needs to purchase a product or service elsewhere, you may need to shop around. An RFP allows you to collect quotes from multiple vendors and select the vendor that best meets your criteria, both in terms of skill and budget. Whenever you outsource work to a supplier, there is the potential for issues such as miscommunication about scope of work and compensation. What a good RFP does is eliminate the gray area so that both parties understand what is due, when, and for how much.

RFP template

Here, we provide an RFP template that you can follow for the initial structure, as well as a sample RFP for further inspiration. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all – you’ll need to tailor your RFP to better articulate your business needs.

Download a free, editable RFP template.
RFPs come in all shapes, sizes, and visual formats depending on the needs of your business and the work you need to do. At the top of a standard request for proposal, you will find the following: Project name or description Company name Address City, state, ZIP code Procurement contact person PCP phone number PCP email address Fax number
The body of the RFP will contain additional details about the project, including: Background / Introduction Project objectives and scope of services Anticipated selection calendar Time and place for submission of proposals Timeline Elements of the proposal Evaluation criteria Potential obstacles Budgeting Read on to learn more about what goes into each of these sections so you can create your own RFP.

1. Background / Introduction

In your introductory paragraph, you’ll want to include helpful background information about your business – who founded it, what product or service your business offers, what sets you apart from the competition, and where you are. If any vendor is serious about working with you, they will want this information before moving forward.

2. Project objectives and scope of services

Next, you will want to describe the project you need to complete and the goals you hope to achieve with the project. It is important that you be as specific as possible, including describing the individual tasks and criteria involved. You’ll want to include phrases like “The award will go to Company X,” and the “X” will state how you will determine the best candidate.

3. Advance Selection Calendar

It is critical that you include a detailed timeline so providers know if they can meet their deadlines. You will also need to give vendors a window for when they can ask questions about your project. This will limit the hassle, for you and for them.

4. Time and place of presentation of proposals

As in paragraph 3, this is important information that you will want to present clearly, so providers know how and where to present yourself for their consideration.

5. Schedule

By including a time frame in your RFP, you can eliminate any vendors that cannot work within your time constraints. If you are flexible with your time, you can write something like: “Our company expects to finish the project in six months, but we are open to negotiating the right candidate.”

6. Elements of the proposal

If you don’t clearly and specifically describe what you expect bidders to include in their proposal, you can’t necessarily blame them if they don’t include it. It is critical that you draw up a checklist so providers know what items you expect to receive. It’s also a good test of who is capable of handling your demands – if a supplier can’t complete all the elements of your proposal, you probably can’t trust them to finish your project either.

7. Evaluation criteria

Summarizing your expectations will help weed out vendors that don’t meet them. For this section, you’ll want to brainstorm with your team to come up with a mandatory list of items that you consider to be the best indicators of impressive candidates. Your list could include samples of previous work, a proven track record of success with companies in similar industries, the experience and technical skills to meet your demands, and a cost of services within your price range.

8. Possible obstacles

Here, you’ll want to describe any obstacles, such as limited resources or a custom website, that could prevent certain vendors from successfully completing the project. This allows you to eliminate unsatisfactory bidders and will also help you determine which vendors have the skills and experience to meet those challenges.

9. Budget

Any provider needs to know how much they can pay you for their services before going ahead with their offer.

RFP sample

The above elements can manifest on the page in various ways. For example, here is a sample RFP from TemplateLab.
Image source
Now that you understand the elements of an RFP, you can create your own template and then fill it out so that you can start accepting offers. We will use a fictitious company, Caroline’s Websites, Inc., to illustrate exactly how each section should be executed, beginning with the heading: Project Name or Description: Marketing Services Company Name: Caroline’s Websites, Inc. Address: 302 Inbound Ave City, State, Zip Code: Boston, MA 29814 Procurement Contact Person: Caroline Forsey PCP Phone Number: 227-124-2481 PCP Email Address: [email protected] Fax Number: N / A
Next, we will analyze each of the elements of the RFP with information using the same fictitious company.

1. Background / Introduction

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is a web design company created by Caroline Forsey in 2010. Caroline’s Websites, Inc. prides itself on a team-oriented, solution-based approach to web design. We provide our clients with web design services including coding, development and branding. Our staff is located in two offices in Massachusetts.

2. Project objectives and scope of services

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is seeking the services of a full-service marketing and communications company to develop and execute a comprehensive integrated marketing plan that increases our SEO footprint; attract more followers on social media; and effectively complete a lead generation campaign. The award will be awarded to a responsive and responsible company based on the best value and professional ability. The selected company will be responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive and profitable marketing plan. Tasks include, among others, the following criteria: • Lead generation campaign • Paid media strategy • Production of creative material including advertising material and direct mail • Online marketing campaign • Website improvement • Engine optimization search • General account management • Other marketing related communications and / or assistance as needed

3. Advance Selection Calendar

The timeline for the Request for Proposal is as follows: Request for Proposal: June 1, 2020 Deadline for bidders to submit questions: July 5, 2020
[Company Name] Responds to bidders’ questions: July 20, 2020 Selection of the best bidders / Notification to unsuccessful bidders: July 31, 2020 Start of negotiation: August 5, 2020 Award of contract / Notification to non-bidders selected: August 31, 2020

4. Time and place for submission of proposals

The RFP will be posted on our website, Carolinewebsites.com, and can be downloaded directly from there starting at 10 am on June 1, 2020. Respondents to this RFP should submit one original and five copies of their proposal. Responses must be received no later than July 25, 2020. Responses must be clearly marked “RFP-MarketingServices” and must be mailed or delivered to the contact person listed above.

5. Schedule

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. needs the project to be completed in 8 months.

6. Elements of the proposal

A presentation should include, at a minimum, the following elements: • Description of the company including an overview, names and credentials of the creative team, number of full-time employees. • A one-page narrative that describes the strengths of the company and distinguishes skills or capabilities that could be related to the Caroline, Inc. websites • A representative selection of social media ads, direct response material, additional material, and development of websites created for current and past clients.

7. Evaluation criteria

The selected respondent must: • Have been continuously operating as a marketing agency for a minimum of 24 months and possess full-service in-house capabilities for marketing, creative services, production, media planning and placement, direct response, and research. • The education, experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications of the firm and the people who will be available to provide these services. • The competitive cost of services. • The company’s experience in working with similar clients.

8. Possible obstacles

At this time, Caroline’s Websites, Inc. currently has custom coding on our website, which bidders should be aware of.

9. Budget

Caroline’s Websites, Inc.’s budget for the project is $ 8,750.00. These elements were written to clarify the scope of the project that Caroline’s Websites, Inc. wants to be completed so that vendors know whether or not to bid. Defining the project allows the bidder to determine if they are suitable and how much they are likely to charge. Being as transparent as possible serves to benefit (and even protect) both parties in the long run. To use some of these elements in your own RFP, start with an RFP template and adjust it to your liking. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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