RFPs: Everything You Need to Know About the RFP Process

If you’re unsure how long your project should take a team of professionals to complete, it’s okay to leave the completion deadline flexible. In the early stages of the project, ask your vendor or bidder for their own estimates, and set your intended deadlines accordingly.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about this process. The specifics of the aforementioned timeline seem as detailed as a newborn’s feeding schedule, and almost as important to get right. But with a competent and knowledgeable team at the helm of this ship, it won’t be as challenging as you think to formulate a reasonable timeline.

Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. After determining a start date, you can take it a step at a time, reasonably considering how long each part of the process should take.

The good news is you’re not the first organization to complete a request for proposal. If you’re truly struggling to confidently come up with a timeline, reach out to other teams or organizations and inquire how they determined their dates, and whether their dates were reasonable. Everyone’s process will differ, but asking around can’t hurt!

Budget:  This is not a mandatory element to include right away, but could be helpful in speeding up processes. You shouldn’t necessarily include your budget for the project, but instead ask bidders to include an itemized estimation of what their services would cost. What services would the bidder be expecting payment for? Are costs a one-time payment, or do they recur every week, two weeks, or month?

Because the budget is such a determining factor in which bidder your team or organization chooses, make it clear that you wish to understand every piece of the cost. If price is important to you – and to the majority, it is – communicate the first time around that you need to know every related expense.

Examples:  This step is pretty self-explanatory. Before deciding on a team or company to help you achieve your goals, it’s reasonable to want to know what work they’ve done in the past. This section of the RFP, although optional, is an opportunity to request inclusion of examples and success stories in proposals that are turned in. Seeing diverse examples could help you get a feel for whether a certain company can deliver the style or quality of work you’re looking for.

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