How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP) with Template & Sample

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Whether you’re moving for a mini agency aliases a awesome trading firm, you’re astir apt yet going to request to capable retired a Request for Proposal, aliases RFP.

hand creating rfp template for project

Your institution can’t do everything internally, and erstwhile your business needs to acquisition a merchandise aliases work from elsewhere, you mightiness request to shop around. An RFP allows you to cod offers from various vendors and prime nan vendor that champion meets your criteria, some successful regards to accomplishment and budget.

 Free RFP Templates

Any clip you outsource activity to a supplier, there's a imaginable for issues specified arsenic miscommunication astir nan scope of nan activity and nan compensation. What a bully RFP does is destruct grey areas truthful that some parties understand what needs to beryllium delivered, when, and for really much.

RFP Template

Here, we’ve provided an RFP template you tin travel for first structure, arsenic good arsenic a sample RFP for further inspiration. But it isn’t one-size-fits-all — you’ll request to tailor your RFP to champion articulate your company’s needs.

Free editable rfp petition for connection pdf template

Download a free, editable RFP template.

Not that you’ve seen nan template, really do you really constitute an RFP? We’ve sewage you covered.

How to Write an RFP

  1. Define your project, scope, and budget.
  2. Provide inheritance and introductory information.
  3. Describe nan services you’re looking for.
  4. Explain immoderate challenges aliases barriers to occurrence for nan project.
  5. Detail your action criteria.
  6. Specify your project’s timeline.
  7. Proofread your RFP and spell live.

1. Define your project, scope, and budget.

Before issuing your RFP, return nan clip to specify nan task you’re looking to complete, its scope, and really overmuch you tin spend to spend. This accusation provides nan model for your RFP and helps guarantee that it strikes a equilibrium betwixt excessively wide and overly detailed. Not only that, but it will thief imaginable vendors understand your priorities and tailor their proposals accordingly.

In this step, effort to supply a clear and concise description. Avoid utilizing overly method connection aliases manufacture motto that could beryllium confusing to imaginable vendors. The quality is subtle, but tin make a world of a quality successful helping you person better-fit proposals. Here’s an example:

  • Good: "Our institution is seeking a CRM strategy that integrates pinch our existing trading automation package and provides real-time reporting. The solution should beryllium easy to usage and scalable to accommodate our increasing customer base. Our fund for this task is $50,000."
  • Not-so-good: "Our institution wants to instrumentality a customer narration guidance (CRM) strategy that integrates pinch our existing trading automation package and provides real-time reporting capabilities for our income squad to understand customer information much quickly and efficiently. The solution should beryllium scalable and elastic to accommodate our increasing customer base, and it should beryllium easy to usage for non-technical squad members."

You tin spot really nan bully type provides a clear and concise explanation of nan services needed, budget, and cardinal requirements, while avoiding overly method connection and motto that could beryllium confusing. This makes it easier for vendors to understand what is required and trade a connection that meets your needs.

2. Provide inheritance and introductory information.

With fund and scope successful hand, you tin commencement crafting your RFP. While it’s tempting to dive correct into nan details, it’s a bully thought to supply immoderate inheritance and introductory information astir your company. This helps group nan shape for imaginable partners by giving them a consciousness of your existent market, business goals, and existent challenges.

Here are 3 tips for adding inheritance and introductory accusation to your RFP:

  • Provide a institution overview: Start nan RFP by providing a high-level overview of your company, including your history, mission, vision, and existent marketplace position. This accusation helps vendors understand much astir your business goals and provides discourse for nan project. Vendors tin usage this accusation to tailor their proposals to your organization's values and objectives.
  • Highlight existent challenges and opportunities: We screen this successful item later, but it bears repeating: List nan existent challenges you’re facing, on pinch opportunities you’d for illustration to capitalize on. This accusation helps vendors understand circumstantial areas of request and supply caller aliases amended options for you.
  • Provide interaction information: Be judge to supply an email reside and telephone number that vendors tin usage to taxable questions astir your RFP.

By providing an overview of your company's history, highlighting existent challenges and opportunities, and providing clear interaction information, you tin thief prospective vendors trade a tailored connection that aligns pinch your organization's goals.

3. Describe nan services you’re looking for.

Now it’s clip to get circumstantial astir nan services you’re looking for to thief execute your goals. For example, if you’re building a website, you mightiness look for a institution pinch some front-end and back-end improvement experience. If you’re creating a mobile app, item nan request for circumstantial skills successful that area, specified arsenic expertise successful responsive creation and building applications for aggregate mobile platforms.

You tin return various approaches erstwhile describing nan services you’re seeking successful an RFP, but we ever urge incorporating slug points aliases breaking up your accusation truthful that it’s easy for vendors to scan. Here are 2 examples.

RFP for Content Marketing Services: Our institution is looking for an agency to create a unsocial contented trading strategy tailored specifically to our user base. The extremity of this task is to pull and prosecute caller customers while retaining existent ones. Our perfect vendor:

  • Has acquisition successful creating contented successful various formats specified arsenic blog posts, societal media, infographics, and videos
  • Has acquisition successful SEO optimization, keyword research, and contented distribution
  • Can leverage information and analytics to amended contented performance

RFP for Video Production Services: Our brand’s contented squad is looking for a video accumulation institution to nutrient a bid of videos for our YouTube channel. Our extremity is to build marque awareness, thrust web traffic, and summation our YouTube trading ROI. The perfect vendor:

  • Has acquisition successful producing high-quality videos crossed various formats specified arsenic live-action, animation, screencast, whiteboard, and acquisition video
  • Can supply a highly responsive, collaborative, and transparent connection process
  • Has a clear process from ideation, production, revision, and last delivery

4. Explain immoderate challenges aliases barriers to occurrence for nan project.

During nan bidding process, it is important to beryllium transparent astir your project’s imaginable barriers to success. By doing so, you springiness imaginable partners and vendors nan opportunity to connection solutions to these challenges.

Otherwise, partners aliases vendors whitethorn not afloat understand nan scope of nan task and immoderate imaginable difficulties that whitethorn arise. This deficiency of knowledge could lead to delayed timelines, accrued costs, aliases ultimately, task failure.

Additionally, withholding nan barriers to occurrence could consequence successful a deficiency of spot betwixt your institution and nan vendor team. This whitethorn lead to misaligned expectations and misunderstandings. But by being transparent astir nan imaginable barriers to success, you tin summation nan likelihood of uncovering nan correct vendor and completing nan task successfully.

rfp sample template pinch tables and headings

5. Detail your action criteria.

Next up are nan action criteria. Here, you tin item which skills, services, and marketplace expertise are required for consideration. This is nan clip to get specific: Clear descriptions of action criteria will thief trim nan consequence of sorting done aggregate proposals that don’t meet your needs.This will thief you make an informed determination erstwhile selecting nan champion vendor for nan project.

Specifying nan action criteria early connected successful nan process improves transparency. If vendors don’t meet nan criteria, they won’t taxable a proposal, aliases they tin optimize their proposals to meet your needs. This eliminates ambiguity, confusion, and vexation connected some sides, and avoids unnecessary backmost and forth.

Plus, evaluating vendors against nan action criteria besides ensures that nan task is awarded based connected nonsubjective judgement alternatively than connected subjective opinion.

Some examples of action criteria that you tin specify successful an RFP are:

  • Experience: The vendor should person extended acquisition successful delivering projects akin to nan 1 described successful your RFP.
  • Qualifications: The vendor should beryllium capable to show their expertise successful nan applicable technology, software, aliases methodology required to complete your project.
  • Cost: The vendor should supply elaborate pricing and beryllium capable to show really their connection fits wrong your budget.
  • References: The vendor should supply references from past clients who person utilized their services for akin projects.
  • Methodology: The vendor should outline their attack to managing your project, including task guidance processes, resources management, and task transportation timelines.
  • Availability: The vendor should supply specifications of their capacity to return connected nan project, nan readiness of their resources, and an expected transportation timeline.
  • Team Profiles: The vendor should see elaborate profiles of nan members of nan squad assigned to present nan project, highlighting their acquisition successful applicable areas and their qualifications.
  • Technical compatibility: The vendor should beryllium capable to guarantee compatibility pinch different technologies aliases systems utilized by your organization, specified arsenic different package solutions aliases APIs.

6. Specify your project’s timeline.

It’s besides important to beryllium up-front astir your timelines. Give imaginable partners an extremity day for RFP submission, a day for last selection, and a clear start-to-finish task timeline truthful companies making a connection tin fine-tune their bid. This will besides thief you constrictive down nan excavation of imaginable vendors and guarantee that nan task is completed connected time.

A timeline benefits everyone passim nan bidding process. With a timeline successful place, vendors person clear guidance connected erstwhile your task must beryllium completed and tin scheme their resources accordingly, ensuring timely delivery. The vendor tin besides pass nan basal deadlines to their team, minimizing nan consequence of delays and ensuring that your task is delivered successfully.

Here’re an illustration of what a timeline tin look like, but retrieve that it will alteration depending connected your RFP’s format, arsenic good arsenic your target vendors’ industries:

“The trading section astatine HubSpot is looking to prosecute a integer trading agency to thief pinch a caller advertizing campaign. Proposals must beryllium submitted by August 1st and nan run motorboat must hap nary later than September 15th, successful clip for nan back-to-school season.”

7. Proofread your RFP and spell live.

Last but ne'er least? Proofread your RFP — past proofread it again. Why? Because moreover mini mistakes could derail task timelines. Consider a zero missing successful your fund details, aliases a miscommunication astir nan dates that proposals are owed and selections are made; some could unit a restart of nan full RFP process and discarded precious time.

Remember that your extremity is to induce arsenic galore proposals arsenic possible, and to make it elemental for vendors to respond. An accidental typo, specified arsenic a task sanction that you forgot to switch aliases incorrect interaction information, tin make it that overmuch harder to summation your consequence rate.

Once you’re satisfied that everything connected your RFP is meticulous and complete, it’s clip to spell live. Send retired emails and station links connected your tract to commencement nan process of uncovering your best-fit provider. To streamline this process, see proposal software to people and negociate responses to your RFP.

Now that you understand nan basics of penning an RFP, you tin build your ain template and past capable it retired truthful that you tin commencement accepting bids. We'll usage a fictitious company, Caroline's Websites, Inc., to exemplify precisely really each conception should beryllium executed.

RFP Sample

rfp sample template pinch tables and headingsProject Name aliases 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

Telephone Number of PCP: 227-124-2481

Email Address of PCP: [email protected]

Fax Number: N/A

Next, we'll spell into each of nan elements of nan RFP pinch accusation utilizing nan aforesaid fictitious company.

1. Write your inheritance and introduction.

In your introductory paragraph, you’ll want to see useful inheritance accusation astir your institution — who founded it, what merchandise aliases work your institution offers, what sets you isolated from competitors, and wherever you’re located. If immoderate vendor is superior astir moving pinch you, they’ll want this accusation earlier moving forward.

Example

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is simply a web creation patient created by Caroline Forsey successful 2010. Caroline’s Websites, Inc. prides itself connected a team-oriented, solutions-based attack to web design. We supply our clients pinch web creation services including coding, development, and branding. Our unit is located successful 2 offices successful Massachusetts.

2. Define your task goals and scope of services.

Next, you’ll want to outline nan task you request completed, and nan goals you expect to execute from nan project. It’s important you get arsenic circumstantial arsenic imaginable — moreover outlining individual tasks and criteria involved. You’ll want to see phrases specified arsenic “The grant will beryllium fixed to X firm,” pinch nan “X” establishing really you’ll find nan champion candidate.

Example

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is seeking nan services of a full-service communications and trading patient to create and execute a broad integrated trading scheme that increases our SEO presence; attracts much societal media followers; and efficaciously completes a lead procreation campaign. The grant will beryllium made to a responsive and responsible patient based connected nan champion worth and master capability.

The selected patient will beryllium responsible for nan improvement and implementation of a broad and cost-effective trading plan.

Tasks see but whitethorn not beryllium constricted to nan pursuing criteria:

  • Lead procreation campaign
  • Paid media strategy
  • Production of imaginative worldly including collateral and nonstop mail
  • Online trading campaign
  • Website enhancement
  • Search motor optimization
  • General relationship management
  • Other communications and/or marketing-related assistance arsenic required

3. Detail your anticipated action schedule.

It’s important you see a elaborate schedule truthful vendors cognize if they tin meet your deadlines. You’ll besides request to springiness vendors a model for erstwhile they tin inquire questions regarding your project.

Example

The Request for Proposal timeline is arsenic follows:

Request for RFP: June 1, 20XX

Deadline for Bidders to Submit Questions: July 5, 20XX

[Company Name] Responds to Bidder Questions: July 20, 20XX

Selection of Top Bidders / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: July 31, 20XX

Start of Negotiation: August 5, 20XX

Contract Award / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: August 31, 20XX

4. Describe nan clip and spot for nan submission of proposals.

Similar to paragraph #3, this is important accusation you’ll want to intelligibly present, truthful vendors cognize really and wherever to taxable themselves for consideration.

Example

The RFP will beryllium posted connected our website, Carolinewebsites.com, and tin beryllium downloaded from location straight arsenic of 10 a.m. connected June 1, 20XX.

Respondents to this RFP must taxable 1 original and 5 copies of their proposal. Responses must beryllium received nary later than July 25, 20XX. Responses should beryllium intelligibly marked “RFP-MarketingServices” and mailed aliases delivered to nan interaction personification listed above.

5. Clearly specify your timeline.

By including a clip framework successful your RFP, you’re capable to destruct immoderate vendor who can’t activity wrong your clip constraints. If you’re elastic connected your time, you tin constitute thing like, “Our institution hopes to decorativeness nan task wrong six months, but we’re unfastened to speech for nan correct candidate.”

Example

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. needs nan task completed wrong 8 months.

6. Specify nan cardinal elements of a proposal.

If you don’t outline intelligibly and specifically what you expect bidders to see successful their proposal, you can’t needfully responsibility them if they don’t see it. It’s captious you outline a checklist truthful vendors cognize which elements you’re expecting to receive. It’s besides a bully trial for who’s tin of handling your demands — if a vendor can’t complete each elements of your proposal, you astir apt can’t spot them to decorativeness your project, either.

Example

A submission must, astatine a minimum, see nan pursuing elements:

  • Description of nan patient that includes a wide overview, names and credentials of imaginative team, number of full-time employees.
  • A one-page communicative outlining nan firm’s strengths and distinguishing skills aliases capabilities arsenic they mightiness subordinate to Caroline’s Websites, Inc.
  • A typical action of societal media ads, nonstop consequence material, collateral, and website improvement created for existent and past clients.

7. Make your information criteria clear.

Outlining your expectations will thief destruct vendors who don’t meet them. For this section, you’ll want to do immoderate brainstorming pinch your squad to travel up pinch a mandatory database of items you consciousness are nan champion indicators of awesome candidates. Your database could see samples of past work, a proven occurrence grounds pinch companies successful akin industries, nan expertise and method skills to meet your demands, and a costs of services wrong your value range.

Example

The successful responsive will have:

  • Experience moving arsenic a trading agency for a minimum of 24 months and person full-service, in-house capabilities for marketing, imaginative services, production, media readying and placement, nonstop response, and research.
  • The education, experience, knowledge, skills, and qualifications of nan patient and nan individuals who will beryllium disposable to supply these services.
  • The competitory costs of services.
  • The expertise of nan patient successful moving pinch akin customers.

8. Describe immoderate imaginable roadblocks.

Here, you’ll want to outline immoderate roadblocks, specified arsenic constricted resources aliases a civilization website, that mightiness forestall definite vendors from successfully completing nan project. This allows you to destruct unsatisfactory bidders, and it will besides thief you find which vendors person nan skills and expertise to tackle those challenges.

Example

At this time, Caroline’s Websites, Inc. presently has civilization coding connected our website, of which bidders should beryllium aware.

9. State your fund for nan project.

Any vendor needs to cognize really overmuch you’re capable to salary them for their services earlier they’ll move guardant pinch their bid.

Example

Caroline’s Websites, Inc.’s fund for nan task is $8,750.00.

These elements were written successful a measurement to explain nan scope of nan task that Caroline's Websites, Inc. wants completed truthful that suppliers cognize whether aliases not to make a bid. Defining nan task allows nan bidder to find if they're a bully fresh and really overmuch they'd apt charge. Being arsenic transparent arsenic imaginable serves to use (and moreover protect) both parties successful nan agelong run.

Tips for Writing an RFP

There are respective cardinal actions that you tin return to summation nan likelihood of a vendor responding to your RFP. At nan aforesaid time, definite factors tin origin a vendor to beryllium little apt to respond.

Here are immoderate tips to thief you optimize your RFPs to execute a precocious consequence complaint from vendors.

1. Provide unfastened lines of communication.

If you found unfastened connection lines pinch vendors during nan bidding process, you’re much apt to spot a higher consequence rate. Why? Providing entree to a constituent of interaction — aliases establishing a schedule for convention calls aliases in-person meetings — tin show that your institution is invested successful nan vendor consequence process.

We besides urge purposefully asking your prospective vendors to activity clarification. Encourage them to inquire questions astir nan RFP and nan task itself. The much they understand your needs, nan amended their proposals will be, and nan easier it will beryllium for you to make an informed decision.

2. Don’t skimp connected task details, but support it little and scannable.

Vendors are little apt to respond to RFPs if nan task specifications are insufficient aliases unclear. If you don’t supply elaborate instructions and requirements for your project, vendors whitethorn construe nan task scope differently, causing them to taxable proposals that do not specifically reside your needs.

Conversely, vendors are much apt to respond to RFPs that supply well-defined task goals and timelines, because that allows them to amended measure their abilities and supply informed proposals.

That said, you want to support your accusation arsenic scannable arsenic possible. Take advantage of formatting options specified arsenic slug points and headings. A vendor is apt flipping done galore RFPs successful a day, truthful you want them to get nan accusation they request aft a little scan of your document.

3. Establish a competitory fund and ample deadline.

Vendors are much apt to beryllium willing successful responding to your RFP if they consciousness that their pricing is competitive, and if they consciousness that your deadline and timeline is reasonable for nan project’s specifications.

On nan different hand, vendors whitethorn beryllium hesitant to nonstop you a connection if location is simply a short deadline, aliases if nan timeline is peculiarly compressed. This could bespeak that your institution is not allowing capable clip for vendors to behaviour investigation and taxable meticulous proposals.

4. Research your target vendor’s manufacture and marketplace.

Have you ever bought a portion of package that you cognize thing about? Us, either, and we wouldn’t urge you do nan aforesaid erstwhile considering submitted proposals to your RFPs.

Researching nan vendor marketplace beforehand tin thief you create much realistic budgets, timelines, and goals. You tin create highly circumstantial action criteria and amended place which vendors will astir apt meet your fund and clip constraints. 

With insufficient knowledge astir nan market, you could accidentally underestimate nan resources required for your project, aliases group unrealistic timelines and expectations. This miscommunication tin misguide vendors, starring them to either taxable a connection that is not a bully fresh aliases wholly opt retired of bidding.

RFP vs RFI

A petition for accusation (RFI) is typically precedes an RFP. Whereas RFIs are utilized to pinpoint imaginable vendors, RFPs thief companies make last decisions.

As nan sanction makes clear, RFIs are astir collecting information. They’re utilized by companies to get a consciousness of what solutions are connected nan marketplace and really nan companies that connection these solutions could thief lick a cardinal problem aliases complete a cardinal task. RFIs inquire companies to taxable information astir what they do, what they offer, and really they tin thief execute circumstantial goals.

RFPs, meanwhile, travel RFIs. Using nan accusation obtained from RFIs, companies build RFPs that item precisely what they’re looking for, really overmuch they’re readying to spend, and really vendors will beryllium selected. In effect, RFIs thief constrictive nan scope of RFPs to thief streamline nan action process.

Worth noting? There’s besides different action if you cognize precisely what merchandise aliases work you’re looking for: Request for quote (RFQ). Unlike an RFP, which asks imaginable partners to taxable a connection based connected their expertise and experience, an RFQ is astir cost: You’re asking a circumstantial vendor what it would costs to present “X” work aliases solution successful “Y” timeframe nether “Z” conditions.

Realizing Best Results for Your RFP

Your RFP sets nan shape for companies to bid connected projects that are extracurricular nan scope of your soul expertise — but are still captious for your business to succeed.

As a result, it’s worthy making judge your RFP is clear, concise, and captures nan cardinal specifications astir your needs to thief find nan best-fit partner for your project. Not judge wherever to start? Grab a transcript of HubSpot’s free RFP template, travel nan steps above, and get your projects underway.

Editor's note: This station was primitively published successful June 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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