What Is a Request for Proposal?

A request for proposal or also referred to as RFP is a request from the buyer and distributed to different sellers or vendors. Creating this type of document can be considered as a part of the business and marketing plan.

This will be beneficial for both parties. For the side of the buyer, this will allow them to convey the objectives of the organization as well as the specific goal of the mentioned project. For the side of the vendors, this will allow them to assess whether the client that they will be working with is reliable and professional. For both parties, this will give them the means to assess the other party and know if they are the best fit to work with.

Key Elements Included in a Request for Proposal

The overview of the organization: The overview of your organization will be the introductory paragraph of the document. This will provide a background of your company. It is a must to include the mission statement as well as the vision statement of the organization in the first paragraph. The introductory paragraph must provide your advantage over other competitors. In some cases, the physical address of the main office of the organization is also stated here. It is crucial as well to state the product or services that your organization has to offer, this will lead to a better and easier understanding of your project goals.The goals of the project: The next section of the document should clearly state and describe the project that is needed to be performed. In line with identifying the project, it is also crucial to explain the specific goal of the said project. This will lead to a better understanding of how they are of significant importance to the overall goal of the organization. Defining the specific goals of the project will also make it easier for the breakdown and identification of the scope of services or scope of work.The scope of services or the scope of work: After identifying the bigger picture or the finished output that was conveyed by the specific goals of the project, the scope of work in turn will outline the different individual activities that are required in order to accomplish the project. This will also outline the set of roles and responsibilities that is needed to be observed and performed by the independent contractor. By breaking down the goals into smaller manageable tasks, the contractor will have the means to assess the project as well as himself or herself. This is a means to assess himself or herself whether he or she is capable enough to administer the project.The requirements of the project: The section for the project requirements will take on different subsections or key components. The first one that is needed to be included here is the timeline of the project. This must clearly identify and state the expected date of the turnover of the project deliverable. The next key component to be included in this section is the details about the budget of the project. It is important that the contractors know how much budget will be allocated for the project and how much their compensation will be. The last key component of this section is the possible obstacle that may hinder the project. It is important to be able to provide important documents such as risk management plan. This will show the contractors that they will be working with a professional.The format of the proposal: This section will provide the instructions on how the proposal should be formatted. This will include the size of the font as well as the style of the font. This will also state the minimum and maximum number of pages that the proposal should contain. The most important factor to state here is the core elements that should be included in the proposal that the potential candidates should include in their response. Having a set of instructions that is to be strictly followed will lead to easier and faster evaluation.The delivery details of the proposal: The details on the independent contractors will be sending their bid or response to the request for proposal should also be outlined and discussed. This will state the different specific details on how they will respond. This will state the name, contact information as well as the address of the one in charge of receiving, compiling and evaluating the sent proposals.The criteria for the evaluation: The last core element to include in the request for proposal is the guidelines on how it will be checked and graded. It is important for potential contractors to know and understand how their proposals will be evaluated. This will lead to a better formulation of the project proposal. This should outline the different criteria that the evaluator will be taking a look at.

Step by Step Process in Creating a Request for Proposal

Step 1: Select a Template

First and foremost, in order to get a lot of bids for the project, it is important that the request for proposal is clear and organized. It is crucial that the document will contain all the necessary pieces of information. This will lead to a better understanding in the part of the independent contractors. Look for a template that will best fit the key elements that you will input in the RFP.

Step 2: Input the Key Details

After knowing the different key elements of a RFP, you should state and describe them in the document. The first step here is to dig up the essential documents of the organization. This means that you should review and identify the mission statement and vision statement of your organization. 

Next thing to do is to state and describe the project that you will be implementing. Along with identifying the project and its goals, break it down into doable plans of action and identify the different scope of work that is to be performed. This will lead to the identification of the different roles and responsibilities of the potential contractor. It is also important to identify the schedule of the project. This will include the starting date and the expected finish date of the project. Lastly, it is also a must to include the intended budget for the overall project. This is important as this will identify the compensation of the contractor as well as give the means to properly allocate budget to every resource. A key document that may help in making this step easier and faster to identify is by making use of a work breakdown structure.

Lastly, in this step it is also crucial to state the required format for the proposal. This is important as this will give the specific instructions to strictly follow for the aspiring contractors. This is also the step where you will identify the delivery deadlines and details. This means that you should set a specific due date for the submission of proposals. This will also identify the person who is responsible for receiving and checking the proposals.

Step 3: Identify the Different Criteria

It is important for the organization that they know how they will evaluate and rank the proposals they will be receiving and checking. This will make it easier for them to sort out worthy proposals from rushed proposals. As for the side of the aspiring contractors who will be sending the proposals, this step is also important as this will give them the visual and the means to understand what will weigh the most for the organization. This will give them enough details on what to focus on. Knowing and understanding the criteria for evaluation will no doubt lead to better proposals. Make use of evaluation forms to properly indicate the different criteria.

Step 4: Choose to Consult

It is not a bad thing to ask for help and opinions from others. Opting to consult for professional advice will help you see the organization from a new perspective. This will lead to a better understanding of the strength of the organization as well as what it lacks in order to move forward.

Step 5: Proofread the Proposal

Before printing out the proposal or distributing them through emails, it is important to thoroughly check the document for any errors and corrections. A well-written RFP will lead to more vendors fighting for the project. It is important that everything that is written here is accurate and true. The reason for this is that this can serve as a point of reference as the project undergoes the process.

Key Persons in the Process of a Request for Proposal

The chief financial officer

One of the most important factors or resources to be utilized in conducting a project is the budget. This will identify whether the project is of reasonable amount. This will also identify if the project is of significant importance for that amount of money to be allocated for it.

The person who will be in charge of the evaluation of the total cost of the project will be the chief financial officer. He or she is in this list because all decisions that will be evaluated and made during the duration of the project will come through him or her. They are also the ones in charge of identifying and evaluating the financial health of the project as well as the organization as a whole.

The stakeholder of the business

In any business organization, it is important to include the stakeholders or the investors in the making of decisions. The stakeholders of the business organization may also help in creating a request for proposal. Their opinions are a valid matter to include in the document. They can help in identifying the goal statement of the project as well as identify the possible roadblocks that it will encounter. In order to understand  the importance of stakeholders of the business take a look at and make use of a professional balanced scorecard.

The procurement professional

The procurement professional is the one who will do the most work in a request for process. They are the ones in charge of identifying the different problems the organization is experiencing as well as analyzing future risks that the organization may encounter. This will lead to the formulation of a risk response plan or a project that may solve the aforementioned risks. They are the ones who will handle communicating with various departments within the organization.

Another important role and responsibility of the procurement professional is looking for potential vendors. They will be the ones sending the initial request as well as catering to numerous inquiries about the document. Lastly, they are in charge of closely monitoring and evaluating the proposals that will be sent.

The consultant

In a request for proposal, it is important to look at the business organization from a different point of view. This will lead to a better understanding of what the organization needs to do in order to grow and improve. Creating a consulting contract in order to have expert and professional advice will help in the growth and success of the organization.

Overall, the consultant will give you their inputs about what the company needs. They can also help in assessing the different strengths and weaknesses of the vendors.

A request for proposal is an effective tool in advertising your business organization. This is also a high quality instrument in looking for the best contractor to execute and accomplish the project you have in line. Opting to create a RFP will result in numerous benefits. The first is that it will strengthen the commitment of both the buyer and the vendor. It also helps in omitting confusions and disputes from both parties. Lastly, this will set up the financial expectations of the project.