How to write an rfp

How to write an RFP request for proposal? Process and Examples

How to write an rfp

How to write an RFP request for proposal? Process and Examples

How to write an RFP request for proposal?

Request for proposal are simplified by sending them by e-mail and allow for quick responses from suppliers. However, these require to be sent with rigor so as not to find themselves overwhelmed by the proposals or to obtain responses that are poorly adapted to the request and therefore waste precious time. How to write an RFP request for proposal?

Knowing how to find good suppliers is essential when you are an entrepreneur. In order to master this art, you must carefully conduct your tenders so that they are effective. Their effectiveness is all the more important as they will determine the quality of the answers obtained.

Read also: Calls for tenders

Businesses use an RFQ (Request for Quote) when they already know the exact product or service they need, and all they are looking for is the price. An RFP may be used when a business isn’t entirely sure what they need. 

What is RFP?

From a general angle, RFP (Request for Proposal) refers to a procedure which allows a sponsor, says the project owner, in other words, you, to make the choice of the company, c i.e. the bidder or the supplier. This choice must result from the company most able to carry out a provision of works, supplies or services. Following receipt of the RFP, several companies will make you offers. Normally at a competitive price, this is all the more an advantage for you.

More specifically, the RFP is by definition a document that is sent to suppliers with the idea of asking them to quote a business need. It can be raw materials, components, subcontracting or services). To prepare this document properly, it is necessary to first carry out several key, strategic steps for the company.

Read also: Shareholder and Investor Relations Checklist | Sample Document (Questionnaire: Is My Annual Report Easy to Use?)

What is a proposal in business world?

The proposals are of a commercial nature and are costed in response to the detailed formulation (specifications) of your need (product or service). Hence the importance of writing such a document. This requires a rigorous methodology in order to correctly assess the needs of the company in relation to the profiles of the suppliers likely to correspond to your expectations. The document must not contain any inaccuracies or be of an incomplete presentation. A detailed analysis of its requirements generates a qualitative RFP.

The goal is to put several companies in competition to provide a product or service. And to get the best deal.

1. Write a clear introduction

Purpose of the RFP, summary of the main points of the other sections, statement including the due date and terms.

Communicate accurate information about your business

You must define yourself precisely so that your future suppliers can identify the nature of your services. Clearly explain who you are as a buyer:

  • Your status and your leaders,
  • Your capacity to carry out the project,
  • Your achievements,
  • Your finances,
  • Your payment terms.

You are looking for a supplier who will also become your partner in your project, it is up to you to reassure him.

Be professional! Define your criteria precisely: quality, marketing, research and development, production, etc. This will help you when negotiating with the supplier.

2. Requirements

Mention of the specific needs for the product (size, capacity and other functions).

Selection criteria: your supllier know how you would choose the highest bidder; mention that the decision belongs exclusively to your company; scoring criteria on which the tender will be scored can also be added.

Define the subject of your request

What is your business document about? Summarize in a few lines the essential characteristics of your request and its deadline. The more transparent you are about your request, the more offers you will receive that meet your expectations.

Our advice: specify the deadlines for responding and the date on which your choice will be made.

Explain your requirements in detail

The more specific you are about your requirements, the more targeted responses you will receive from suppliers.

These details allow you to sort more quickly and not waste precious time answering all the possible answers:

Specify the reasons for this RFP
  • Explain the conditions
  • The price
  • Volume and quantities

Contractors or suplliers need to know what budget you are working with to determine if they are wasting their time submitting a proposal for a contract that does not have the financial backing they need. If you want to be detailed in this section by breaking down your assigned budget, that’s fine. Otherwise, giving contractors a general idea of what you can afford is usually enough to present the right RFP.

3. Process

Describe the flow of the entire work process, from sending out the RFP to your chosen bidder to the timeframe by which the work must be completed.

Establish selection criteria

Sometimes, it is important to specify the criteria for your selection: geographical area (region, country, Europe, international), size, social or ideological criteria, etc.

Also be practical and explain how the process will unfold. Conversely, be careful not to have criteria that are too difficult, which could discourage potential good suppliers.

4. Deadlines

Contractors or supllier need to know when proposals or bids are expected; Bidders should know how long your company needs to evaluate each bid, and then give a response date (favorable or unfavorable); include a sentence specifying delivery times in the event that their company is chosen.

Your decision date

Make sure that you write your decision date, so that your supllier will understand when you will give them an answer (yes or no). Let your supllier know when you expect to make your selection and how they will be contacted. It also helps your company and your contractors juggle multiple bids for multiple projects.

Delivery date

Make sure you put the delivery date. Don’t waste your time to ask en RFP if your supllier cannot respect or can’t make the deliveray date.

5. Send your RFP

You can launch your call for tenders using two methods:

Address your RFP directly to companies that are registered in a specific list or via professional links. To do this, you can opt for email.

As you can see, writing an RFP is a process that requires some preparation. Now you know how to write an RFP.

Examples Request for Proposal (RFP)

Say, for example, the Federal Railroad Administration issues a request for proposals to fund, design, build, operate, and maintain a high-speed rail system.

Interested parties submit proposals that meet the requirements described in the document. Based on the proposals received by the deadline, the Ministry of Transport establishes commissions for further review and development of the proposals.

The Ministry of Transport chooses the proposal that most encompasses its objectives and hires the company to carry out the work.

Request for Proposal for services: small works


We would be grateful if you could send us a proposal for the following:

  • Trimming of hedges and trees.
  • Lawn mowing and clearing.
  • The cleaning of the waste caused by these activities is also included in the service.

For more information, you can contact us by phone at ……… or by email at …………..

Thank you for your kind attention and looking forward to receiving your proposal.

Best regrds,

[Your Name]

Subject: Quote request


Following our [telephone interview, visit to your shop, meeting at my home, at our company’s premises…], we confirm our interest in [indicate the desired service or goods].

We would like to obtain a detailed quote from you as soon as possible.

We remain at your disposal if you need additional information in order to establish it.

Best regards,

[Company Name]
[Title] [Contact name] [Function]

Tips for getting a good quote

It is interesting to define what a good quote is, because many readers would think that it is a return from a web agency accepting the mission, carrying it out in a rather short time and of course for cheap. Like in a restaurant in a way: good, cheap and plentiful.

Let’s be realistic, a good quote is a document that reports a concrete analysis of your need as you have expressed it, and which precisely defines the creation time and the price to deliver it to you functionally. Note that to get the right feedback, he still has the right elements presented. It seems logical to you, however, it is not always what a developer encounters.

To do this, the your RFP must be explicit by being simple to read and easy to understand, without forgetting that it must reflect a certain professionalism. Compliance with this procedure aims to limit the risk of receiving proposals deemed uninteresting from the point of view of your entrepreneurial expectations. You would waste time and would also cause the purchasing department and its suppliers to lose time.

Photo credit: jarmoluk via Pixabay

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