Whether or not you’re working for a small company or a significant advertising agency, you’re most likely ultimately going to wish to fill out a Request for Proposal, or RFP.

hand creating rfp template for project

Your organization can’t do every thing internally, and when your enterprise must buy a services or products from elsewhere, you would possibly want to buy round. An RFP lets you accumulate gives from numerous distributors and choose the seller that finest meets your standards, each with regard to talent and finances.

Download Now: Free RFP Templates

Any time you outsource work to a provider, there is a potential for points reminiscent of miscommunication across the scope of the work and the compensation. What RFP does is remove grey areas in order that each events perceive what must be delivered, when, and for the way a lot.

RFP Template

Right here, we’ve offered an RFP template you may observe for preliminary construction, in addition to a pattern RFP for additional inspiration. However it isn’t one-size-fits-all — you’ll must tailor your RFP to finest articulate your organization’s wants.

Free editable rfp request for proposal pdf template

Download a free, editable RFP template.

Not that you just’ve seen the template, how do you truly write an RFP? We’ve received you coated.

1. Outline your venture, scope, and finances.

Earlier than issuing your RFP, take the time to outline the venture you’re seeking to full, its scope, and the way a lot you may afford to spend. This info gives the framework on your RFP and helps be certain that it strikes a stability between too basic and overly detailed. Not solely that, however it’ll assist potential distributors perceive your priorities and tailor their proposals accordingly.

On this step, attempt to present a transparent and concise description. Keep away from utilizing overly technical language or trade jargon that might be complicated to potential distributors. The distinction is refined, however could make a world of a distinction in serving to you obtain better-fit proposals. Right here’s an instance:

  • Good: “Our firm is in search of a CRM system that integrates with our present advertising automation software program and gives real-time reporting. The answer ought to be simple to make use of and scalable to accommodate our rising buyer base. Our finances for this venture is $50,000.”
  • Not-so-good: “Our firm needs to implement a buyer relationship administration (CRM) system that integrates with our present advertising automation software program and gives real-time reporting capabilities for our gross sales crew to know buyer knowledge extra shortly and effectively. The answer ought to be scalable and versatile to accommodate our rising buyer base, and it ought to be simple to make use of for non-technical crew members.”

You’ll be able to see how the nice model gives a transparent and concise description of the companies wanted, finances, and key necessities, whereas avoiding overly technical language and jargon that might be complicated. This makes it simpler for distributors to know what’s required and craft a proposal that meets your wants.

2. Present background and introductory info.

With finances and scope in hand, you can begin crafting your RFP. Whereas it’s tempting to dive proper into the main points, it’s a good suggestion to supply some background and introductory knowledge about your organization. This helps set the stage for potential companions by giving them a way of your present market, enterprise objectives, and present challenges.

Listed below are three suggestions for including background and introductory info to your RFP:

  • Present an organization overview: Begin the RFP by offering a high-level overview of your organization, together with your historical past, mission, imaginative and prescient, and present market place. This info helps distributors perceive extra about your enterprise objectives and gives context for the venture. Distributors can use this info to tailor their proposals to your group’s values and goals.
  • Spotlight present challenges and alternatives: We cowl this intimately later, nevertheless it bears repeating: Listing the present challenges you’re going through, together with alternatives you’d prefer to capitalize on. This info helps distributors perceive particular areas of want and supply new or higher choices for you.
  • Present contact info: You’ll want to present an e mail tackle and telephone quantity that distributors can use to submit questions on your RFP.

By offering an outline of your organization’s historical past, highlighting present challenges and alternatives, and offering clear contact info, you may assist potential distributors craft a tailor-made proposal that aligns along with your group’s objectives.

3. Describe the companies you’re on the lookout for.

Now it’s time to get particular concerning the companies you’re on the lookout for to assist obtain your objectives. For instance, in the event you’re constructing an internet site, you would possibly look for an organization with each front-end and back-end improvement expertise. In case you’re making a cellular app, spotlight the necessity for particular expertise in that space, reminiscent of experience in responsive design and constructing functions for a number of cellular platforms.

You’ll be able to take numerous approaches when describing the companies you’re in search of in an RFP, however we at all times suggest incorporating bullet factors or breaking apart your info in order that it’s simple for distributors to scan. Listed below are two examples.

RFP for Content material Advertising and marketing Companies: Our firm is on the lookout for an company to develop a singular content material advertising technique tailor-made particularly to our shopper base. The aim of this venture is to draw and have interaction new prospects whereas retaining present ones. Our perfect vendor:

  • Has expertise in creating content material in numerous codecs reminiscent of weblog posts, social media, infographics, and movies
  • Has expertise in search engine optimization optimization, key phrase analysis, and content material distribution
  • Can leverage knowledge and analytics to enhance content material efficiency

RFP for Video Manufacturing Companies: Our model’s content material crew is on the lookout for a video manufacturing firm to supply a sequence of movies for our YouTube channel. Our aim is to construct model consciousness, drive net visitors, and enhance our YouTube advertising ROI. The best vendor:

  • Has expertise in producing high-quality movies throughout numerous codecs reminiscent of live-action, animation, screencast, whiteboard, and academic video
  • Can present a extremely responsive, collaborative, and clear communication course of
  • Has a transparent course of from ideation, manufacturing, revision, and remaining supply

4. Clarify any challenges or limitations to success for the venture.

Through the bidding course of, it’s essential to be clear about your venture’s potential limitations to success. By doing so, you give potential companions and distributors the chance to supply options to those challenges.

In any other case, companions or distributors could not absolutely perceive the scope of the venture and any potential difficulties that will come up. This lack of know-how may result in delayed timelines, elevated prices, or finally, venture failure.

Moreover, withholding the limitations to success may end in a scarcity of belief between your organization and the seller crew. This may increasingly result in misaligned expectations and misunderstandings. However by being clear concerning the potential limitations to success, you may enhance the chance of discovering the proper vendor and finishing the venture efficiently.

rfp sample template with tables and headings

5. Element your choice standards.

Subsequent up are the choice standards. Right here, you may spotlight which expertise, companies, and market experience are required for consideration. That is the time to get particular: Clear descriptions of choice standards will assist cut back the chance of sorting by means of a number of proposals that don’t meet your wants.This can aid you make an knowledgeable choice when selecting the right vendor for the venture.

Specifying the choice standards early on within the course of improves transparency. If distributors don’t meet the factors, they gained’t submit a proposal, or they will optimize their proposals to fulfill your wants. This eliminates ambiguity, confusion, and frustration on either side, and avoids pointless forwards and backwards.

Plus, evaluating distributors in opposition to the choice standards additionally ensures that the venture is awarded primarily based on goal judgment slightly than on subjective opinion.

Some examples of choice standards you could specify in an RFP are:

  • Expertise: The seller ought to have in depth expertise in delivering tasks much like the one described in your RFP.
  • {Qualifications}: The seller ought to have the ability to exhibit their experience within the related know-how, software program, or methodology required to finish your venture.
  • Price: The seller ought to present detailed pricing and have the ability to exhibit how their proposal suits inside your finances.
  • References: The seller ought to present references from previous purchasers who’ve used their companies for related tasks.
  • Methodology: The seller ought to define their strategy to managing your venture, together with venture administration processes, assets administration, and venture supply timelines.
  • Availability: The seller ought to present particulars of their capability to tackle the venture, the provision of their assets, and an anticipated supply timeline.
  • Group Profiles: The seller ought to embody detailed profiles of the members of the crew assigned to ship the venture, highlighting their expertise in related areas and their {qualifications}.
  • Technical compatibility: The seller ought to have the ability to guarantee compatibility with different applied sciences or methods utilized by your group, reminiscent of different software program options or APIs.

6. Specify your venture’s timeline.

It’s additionally essential to be up-front about your timelines. Give potential companions an finish date for RFP submission, a date for remaining choice, and a transparent start-to-finish venture timeline so corporations making a proposal can fine-tune their bid. This may even aid you slender down the pool of potential distributors and be certain that the venture is accomplished on time.

A timeline advantages everybody all through the bidding course of. With a timeline in place, distributors obtain clear steering on when your venture have to be accomplished and may plan their assets accordingly, guaranteeing well timed supply. The seller may talk the mandatory deadlines to their crew, minimizing the chance of delays and guaranteeing that your venture is delivered efficiently.

Right here’re an instance of what a timeline can seem like, however keep in mind that it’ll differ relying in your RFP’s format, in addition to your goal distributors’ industries:

“The advertising division at HubSpot is seeking to rent a digital advertising company to assist with a brand new promoting marketing campaign. Proposals have to be submitted by August 1st and the marketing campaign launch should happen no later than September fifteenth, in time for the back-to-school season.”

7. Proofread your RFP and go reside.

Final however by no means least? Proofread your RFP — then proofread it once more. Why? As a result of even small errors may derail venture timelines. Contemplate a zero lacking in your finances particulars, or a miscommunication concerning the dates that proposals are due and choices are made; each may power a restart of your entire RFP course of and waste valuable time.

Keep in mind that your aim is to ask as many proposals as attainable, and to make it easy for distributors to reply. An unintended typo, reminiscent of a venture title that you just forgot to interchange or incorrect contact info, could make it that a lot more durable to extend your response charge.

When you’re glad that every thing in your RFP is correct and full, it’s time to go reside. Ship out emails and publish hyperlinks in your web site to begin the method of discovering your best-fit supplier. To streamline this course of, think about proposal software to publish and handle responses to your RFP.

Now that you just perceive the fundamentals of writing an RFP, you may construct your personal template after which fill it out in an effort to begin accepting bids. We’ll use a fictitious firm, Caroline’s Web sites, Inc., as an example precisely how every part ought to be executed.

RFP Pattern

rfp sample template with tables and headingsChallenge Identify or Description: Advertising and marketing Companies

Firm Identify: Caroline’s Web sites, Inc.

Deal with: 302 Inbound Ave.

Metropolis, State, Zip Code: Boston, MA 29814

Procurement Contact Particular person: Caroline Forsey

Phone Variety of PCP: 227-124-2481

Electronic mail Deal with of PCP: cforsey@consulting.com

Fax Quantity: N/A

Subsequent, we’ll go into every of the weather of the RFP with info utilizing the identical fictitious firm.

1. Write your background and introduction.

In your introductory paragraph, you’ll need to embody helpful background details about your organization — who based it, what services or products your organization gives, what units you other than rivals, and the place you’re positioned. If any vendor is critical about working with you, they’ll need this info earlier than shifting ahead.


Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. is an online design agency created by Caroline Forsey in 2010. Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. prides itself on a team-oriented, solutions-based strategy to net design. We offer our purchasers with net design companies together with coding, improvement, and branding. Our employees is positioned in two workplaces in Massachusetts.

2. Outline your venture objectives and scope of companies.

Subsequent, you’ll need to define the venture you want accomplished, and the objectives you count on to perform from the venture. It’s essential you get as particular as attainable — even outlining particular person duties and standards concerned. You’ll need to embody phrases reminiscent of “The award will probably be given to X agency,” with the “X” establishing the way you’ll decide one of the best candidate.


Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. is in search of the companies of a full-service communications and advertising agency to develop and execute a complete built-in advertising plan that will increase our search engine optimization presence; attracts extra social media followers; and successfully completes a lead era marketing campaign. The award will probably be made to a responsive and accountable agency primarily based on one of the best worth {and professional} functionality.

The chosen agency will probably be accountable for the event and implementation of a complete and cost-effective advertising plan.

Duties embody however might not be restricted to the next standards:

  • Lead era marketing campaign
  • Paid media technique
  • Manufacturing of inventive materials together with collateral and unsolicited mail
  • On-line advertising marketing campaign
  • Web site enhancement
  • Search engine marketing
  • Common account administration
  • Different communications and/or marketing-related help as required

3. Element your anticipated choice schedule.

It’s essential you embody an in depth schedule so distributors know if they will meet your deadlines. You’ll additionally want to present distributors a window for after they can ask questions relating to your venture.


The Request for Proposal timeline is as follows:

Request for RFP: June 1, 20XX

Deadline for Bidders to Submit Questions: July 5, 20XX

[Company Name] Responds to Bidder Questions: July 20, 20XX

Number of High Bidders / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: July 31, 20XX

Begin of Negotiation: August 5, 20XX

Contract Award / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: August 31, 20XX

4. Describe the time and place for the submission of proposals.

Just like paragraph #3, that is essential info you’ll need to clearly current, so distributors know the way and the place to submit themselves for consideration.


The RFP will probably be posted on our web site, Carolinewebsites.com, and might be downloaded from there instantly as of 10 a.m. on June 1, 20XX.

Respondents to this RFP should submit one unique and 5 copies of their proposal. Responses have to be obtained no later than July 25, 20XX. Responses ought to be clearly marked “RFP-MarketingServices” and mailed or delivered to the contact particular person listed above.

5. Clearly outline your timeline.

By together with a timeframe in your RFP, you’re capable of remove any vendor who can’t work inside your time constraints. In case you’re versatile in your time, you may write one thing like, “Our firm hopes to complete the venture inside six months, however we’re open to negotiation for the proper candidate.”


Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. wants the venture accomplished inside 8 months.

6. Specify the important thing components of a proposal.

In case you don’t define clearly and particularly what you count on bidders to incorporate of their proposal, you may’t essentially fault them in the event that they don’t embody it. It’s essential you define a guidelines so distributors know which components you’re anticipating to obtain. It’s additionally check for who’s able to dealing with your calls for — if a vendor can’t full all components of your proposal, you most likely can’t belief them to complete your venture, both.


A submission should, at a minimal, embody the next components:

  • Description of the agency that features a basic overview, names and credentials of inventive crew, variety of full-time workers.
  • A one-page narrative outlining the agency’s strengths and distinguishing expertise or capabilities as they could relate to Caroline’s Web sites, Inc.
  • A consultant choice of social media adverts, direct response materials, collateral, and web site improvement created for present and previous purchasers.

7. Make your analysis standards clear.

Outlining your expectations will assist remove distributors who don’t meet them. For this part, you’ll need to do some brainstorming along with your crew to provide you with a compulsory record of things you’re feeling are one of the best indicators of spectacular candidates. Your record may embody samples of previous work, a confirmed success document with corporations in related industries, the experience and technical expertise to fulfill your calls for, and a price of companies inside your value vary.


The profitable respondent could have:

  • Expertise working as a advertising company for no less than 24 months and possess full-service, in-house capabilities for advertising, inventive companies, manufacturing, media planning and placement, direct response, and analysis.
  • The schooling, expertise, information, expertise, and {qualifications} of the agency and the people who will probably be obtainable to supply these companies.
  • The aggressive price of companies.
  • The experience of the agency in working with related prospects.

8. Describe any attainable roadblocks.

Right here, you’ll need to define any roadblocks, reminiscent of restricted assets or a customized web site, which may forestall sure distributors from efficiently finishing the venture. This lets you remove unsatisfactory bidders, and it’ll additionally aid you decide which distributors have the abilities and experience to sort out these challenges.


Presently, Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. at the moment has customized coding on our web site, of which bidders ought to be conscious.

9. State your finances for the venture.

Any vendor must know the way a lot you’re capable of pay them for his or her companies earlier than they’ll transfer ahead with their bid.


Caroline’s Web sites, Inc.’s finances for the venture is $8,750.00.

These components have been written in a solution to make clear the scope of the venture that Caroline’s Web sites, Inc. needs accomplished in order that suppliers know whether or not or to not make a bid. Defining the venture permits the bidder to find out if they are a good match and the way a lot they’d doubtless cost. Being as clear as attainable serves to profit (and even shield) each events in the long term.

Ideas for Writing an RFP

There are a number of key actions you could take to extend the chance of a vendor responding to your RFP. On the identical time, sure elements may cause a vendor to be much less more likely to reply.

Listed below are some suggestions that can assist you optimize your RFPs to realize a excessive response charge from distributors.

1. Present open strains of communication.

In case you set up open communication strains with distributors in the course of the bidding course of, you’re extra more likely to see the next response charge. Why? Offering entry to some extent of contact — or establishing a schedule for convention calls or in-person conferences — can present that your organization is invested within the vendor response course of.

We additionally suggest purposefully asking your potential distributors to hunt clarification. Encourage them to ask questions concerning the RFP and the venture itself. The extra they perceive your wants, the higher their proposals will probably be, and the better it will likely be so that you can make an knowledgeable choice.

2. Don’t skimp on venture particulars, however maintain it temporary and scannable.

Distributors are much less doubtless to reply to RFPs if the venture particulars are inadequate or unclear. In case you don’t present detailed directions and necessities on your venture, distributors could interpret the venture scope in a different way, inflicting them to submit proposals that don’t particularly tackle your wants.

Conversely, distributors are extra doubtless to reply to RFPs that present well-defined venture objectives and timelines, as a result of that permits them to raised consider their skills and supply knowledgeable proposals.

That mentioned, you need to maintain your info as scannable as attainable. Reap the benefits of formatting choices reminiscent of bullet factors and headings. A vendor is probably going flipping by means of many RFPs in a day, so that you need them to get the data they want after a quick scan of your doc.

3. Set up a aggressive finances and ample deadline.

Distributors usually tend to be eager about responding to your RFP in the event that they really feel that their pricing is aggressive, and in the event that they really feel that your deadline and timeline is cheap for the venture’s specs.

However, distributors could also be hesitant to ship you a proposal if there’s a brief deadline, or if the timeline is especially compressed. This might point out that your organization is just not permitting sufficient time for distributors to conduct analysis and submit correct proposals.

4. Analysis your goal vendor’s trade and market.

Have you ever ever purchased a chunk of software program that you understand nothing about? Us, both, and we wouldn’t suggest you do the identical when contemplating submitted proposals to your RFPs.

Researching the seller market beforehand might help you develop extra sensible budgets, timelines, and objectives. You’ll be able to create extremely particular choice standards and higher establish which distributors will almost definitely meet your finances and time constraints. 

With inadequate information concerning the market, you possibly can by accident underestimate the assets required on your venture, or set unrealistic timelines and expectations. This miscommunication can misguide distributors, main them to both submit a proposal that isn’t match or totally decide out of bidding.

Because the title makes clear, RFIs are about amassing info. They’re utilized by corporations to get a way of what options are available on the market and the way the businesses that supply these options may assist remedy a key drawback or full a key job. RFIs ask corporations to submit knowledge about what they do, what they provide, and the way they might help obtain particular objectives.

RFPs, in the meantime, observe RFIs. Utilizing the data obtained from RFIs, corporations construct RFPs that element precisely what they’re on the lookout for, how a lot they’re planning to spend, and the way distributors will probably be chosen. In impact, RFIs assist slender the scope of RFPs to assist streamline the choice course of.

Price noting? There’s additionally another choice if you understand precisely what services or products you’re on the lookout for: Request for quote (RFQ). Not like an RFP, which asks potential companions to submit a proposal primarily based on their experience and expertise, an RFQ is about price: You’re asking a selected vendor what it could price to ship “X” service or resolution in “Y” timeframe below “Z” circumstances.

Realizing Greatest Outcomes for Your RFP

Your RFP units the stage for corporations to bid on tasks which are outdoors the scope of your inside experience — however are nonetheless essential for your enterprise to succeed.

Because of this, it’s value ensuring your RFP is evident, concise, and captures the important thing particulars about your wants to assist discover the best-fit accomplice on your venture. Undecided the place to begin? Seize a replica of HubSpot’s free RFP template, observe the steps above, and get your tasks underway.

Editor’s observe: This publish was initially revealed in June 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

rfp templates

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