Request for Proposal: Sample and Tips for Writing One

request for proposal

When you are looking to contract outside work for your company, regardless of the industry that you are in or what it is that you are in need of, a Request for Proposal can be absolutely crucial in ensuring that you are able to find the right vendor to provide the good or the service that you need. While it might seem like a lot of trouble, knowing how to write an RFP is essential for any young entrepreneur. Check out our Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting and Growing a Business course to learn more.

A Request for Proposal is essentially a way of letting a large number of potential vendors know what it is that you are looking for, as well as the particular terms that you are seeking in order to enter into a business arrangement. While it is not a contract in and of itself, it must be clearly written in order to let vendors know what it is that you’re seeking, even down to the legal details of the arrangement.

Udemy’s business writing course can be helping in allowing you to clearly communicate this information trough the Request for Proposal that you write. Consider checking it out in order to boost your skills. Meanwhile, read on right now for more tips on writing a Request for Proposal, and for a sample template that you can use when you’re ready to get started.

The Sections of a Request for Proposal 

A Request for Proposal will contain numerous different sections that will outline different aspects of the business arrangement that you are looking for and that you plan to make. Depending on the product or service you are in need of and the industry you are in, the details that you actually write into the Request for Proposal can vary greatly. Remember that in the Request for Proposal you should also detail that the proposal process is competitive. Be sure to specify if there are any restrictions on the vendors you are allowing to send in proposals.

The basic sections that you will be writing about will cover the following:

  • Why are these services needed?

No vendor will be able to write a business proposal for you if they do not know why their services are needed. If they know why it is that your business is looking to outsource a solution for a problem that they are having, then they will be better able to know whether they can really deliver what it is that you need.

  • Who are you and what do you do?

While you don’t have to lay out every detail about your organization, knowing what your business is, what it is that you do, and what your core values are will also help ensure that they know they are really able to serve you and to meet your needs with the products or services that they have to offer.

  • What is it that you need?

Here is where you must be specific about exactly what it is that you are seeking. Be sure to detail the amount of work that you expect, what the vendor you choose must be able to provide and any other details about the project you have that are important for them to know.

  • How will the work be carried out?

Here is where you will get to the nitty-gritty of detailing the terms of the arrangement that you would like to make. For example, in this section you might clarify that any work produced through the agreement you make will be the sole property of your business. You will also need to detail in this section the information that you will need from vendors, and the criteria that you will use to evaluate proposals, as well as the criteria you will use when awarding work to the vendors you choose.

  • What is the timeframe for the project?

Be sure that you give vendors a reasonable and accurate timeframe for your decision making process. This is for your protection as well as for the vendor’s, as it will ensure everybody is on the right page and nobody gets overbooked. You should also let them know the time frame in which you expect the work you hire them for to be completed, or the product you have paid for to be delivered.

Be sure that you end the Request for Proposal that you have created with all pertinent contact information necessary for allowing them to get in touch with you, whether that is to ask questions, to get clarification on any details within the Request for Proposal, or to submit the Request for Proposal.

A Request for Proposal Sample 

E-publisher Blammo! is accepting proposals to design and develop a mobile app. This production will entail work from conception to completion. This RFP has been written to provide a fair evaluation for all interested candidates and to provide them with the criteria upon which they will be evaluated.  This will be an open and competitive proposal process. 

Blammo! prides themselves on being the premier provider of children’s and young adult literature online. Our easy-to-use interface and fun, exciting online experience is key to our business plan, and should be taken into consideration with all work provided to us.  

Vendors are expected to provide an inclusive price in their proposal for a mobile app across all platforms that will be the intellectual property of Blammo! upon delivery. This price should include all fees related to the conception, design, and development of the mobile app. The use of subcontractors must be clearly noted in your proposal. These subcontractors and the work that they will provide must be identified to us prior to the acceptance of your proposal. Blammo! reserves the right to refuse any and all subcontractors that you have identified in your proposal.  

Blammo! will negotiate the terms of the contract upon acceptance of a proposal. All contracts are subject to review by our company’s legal counsel, and a project will only begin upon the acceptance and signing of said contract.  

Blammo! seeks to remove their current app from all existing markets in order to provide a new app to customers to give them access to the e-publisher’s catalogue of online publications. This app should be optimized for use on all existing mobile devices, and should feature integration into the e-publisher’s existing website. The existing mobile app no longer meets the needs of our growing e-publishing house, and has lost functionality across more recent mobile devices.  

The new mobile app to be developed must maintain the unique aesthetic of Blammo!, and should be optimized for ease of use for both subscribers and non-subscribers. Factors that must be included are: 

  • An easy-to-use interface
  • A visually appealing design
  • Safe and secure payment processing
  • Parental locks and passwords 

This Request for Proposal is dated 23 May, 2014. All proposals received after 12 AM CST on 23 June, 2014 will be discarded unread. Proposals will be evaluated immediately upon submission, with our initial decisions being made no later than 1 July, 2014.  

Negotiations with the candidate that we have chosen will begin immediately once the decision has been made. If that candidate is unable to complete the work as required, other candidates will be notified. All decisions shall be finalized and all candidates notified by 1 August, 2014.  

Preliminary work on the project is to be completed by 1 October, with all work being completed by 15 December, 2014.  

A total of $20,000 has currently been allocated for this project. Proposals for greater amounts may be accepted under some circumstances.  

For more information, vendors may contact Admin@BlammoPublisher.com.

Wrapping Things Up 

It may seem like a lot of work, but once you have the basic ideas down on paper, writing the Request for Proposal actually does not have to be that difficult. Do remember that it’s up to you to decide how much information you should put in the Request for Proposal, but that the more information you include, the better able your potential vendors will be able to tell you what it is that they have to offer.

Udemy offers a course specifically for web developers when it comes to dealing with RFPs, proposals and contracts, so be sure to check out this course if you’re in the tech industry and you need to learn more. If you’re on the other side of the process, be sure to check out The Art of Winning RFPs, which can help you get better-paying work in larger quantities than ever before.