How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP)
Learning how to write an RFP can ensure your project's success by eliminating inferior vendors before the project begins.
To get started, download our RFP template and get your project notes ready.
The first thing to address when learning how to write an RFP is to understand that there is no standardized or absolute format for an RFP. Your RFP should be structured in a manner that best conveys all aspects of your project to potential vendors.
Common elements of an RFP include the following:
- Company background
- Project description
- Design requirements
- Technical and infrastructure requirements
- Functional requirements
- Estimated project duration
- Assumptions and agreements
- Submission information
- For additional information or clarification
- Basis for award of contract
- Anticipated selection schedule
Begin by converting your project notes into formal sentences that are concise and descriptive. Avoid industry jargon and unnecessary adjectives as much as possible. This will allow you to clearly outline your project to the potential vendors.
The most important elements of the RFP are the requirements sections. Be as descriptive and detailed as possible in these sections. The requirements portion of the RFP contains most of the information that will determine the estimated cost of your project and should be well thought out by all stakeholders in your project. RFPs that have vague requirements often result in wasted interview time and high cost estimates to compensate for the unknown.
After filling in the basic elements of the RFP template, have several individuals who will be participating in the project review the RFP. The goal of this revision process is to ensure that each individual is getting a relatively equal understanding of the project. If you find inconsistencies, be sure to fill in the gaps by adding any other elements to the RFP that you feel are necessary to thoroughly outline your project.
Learning how to write an RFP can be time-consuming. However, the benefits that you and your organization will reap make this an essential tool.