How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP) with Template & Sample

How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP) with Template & Sample

Whether you’re working for a small company or a main advertising agency, you’re most likely ultimately going to want to fill out a Request for Proposal, or RFP.

hand creating rfp template for project

Your firm can’t do the whole lot internally, and when what you are promoting wants to buy a services or products from elsewhere, you would possibly want to store round. An RFP permits you to acquire gives from numerous distributors and choose the seller that finest meets your standards, each with reference to talent and finances.

Download Now: Free RFP Templates

Any time you outsource work to a provider, there’s a potential for points corresponding to miscommunication across the scope of the work and the compensation. What a good RFP does is eradicate grey areas in order that each events perceive what wants to be delivered, when, and for how a lot.

RFP Template

Here, we’ve offered an RFP template you’ll be able to comply with for preliminary construction, in addition to a pattern RFP for additional inspiration. But it isn’t one-size-fits-all — you’ll want to 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 simply’ve seen the template, how do you truly write an RFP? We’ve obtained you lined.

How to Write an RFP

  1. Define your mission, scope, and finances.
  2. Provide background and introductory info.
  3. Describe the providers you’re trying for.
  4. Explain any challenges or obstacles to success for the mission.
  5. Detail your choice standards.
  6. Specify your mission’s timeline.
  7. Proofread your RFP and go reside.

1. Define your mission, scope, and finances.

Before issuing your RFP, take the time to outline the mission you’re trying to full, its scope, and the way a lot you’ll be able to afford to spend. This info offers the framework for your RFP and helps be sure that it strikes a steadiness between too normal and overly detailed. Not solely that, however it should assist potential distributors perceive your priorities and tailor their proposals accordingly.

In this step, attempt to present a clear and concise description. Avoid utilizing overly technical language or business 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. Here’s an instance:

  • Good: “Our company is seeking a CRM system that integrates with our existing marketing automation software and provides real-time reporting. The solution should be easy to use and scalable to accommodate our growing customer base. Our budget for this project is $50,000.”
  • Not-so-good: “Our company wants to implement a customer relationship management (CRM) system that integrates with our existing marketing automation software and provides real-time reporting capabilities for our sales team to understand customer data more quickly and efficiently. The solution should be scalable and flexible to accommodate our growing customer base, and it should be easy to use for non-technical team members.”

You can see how the nice model offers a clear and concise description of the providers wanted, finances, and key necessities, whereas avoiding overly technical language and jargon that might be complicated. This makes it simpler for distributors to perceive what’s required and craft a proposal that meets your wants.

2. Provide background and introductory info.

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

Here are three ideas for including background and introductory info to your RFP:

  • Provide a firm overview: Start 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 what you are promoting objectives and offers context for the mission. Vendors can use this info to tailor their proposals to your group’s values and goals.
  • Highlight present challenges and alternatives: We cowl this intimately later, but it surely bears repeating: List the present challenges you’re going through, alongside with alternatives you’d like to capitalize on. This info helps distributors perceive particular areas of want and supply new or higher choices for you.
  • Provide contact info: Be positive to present an electronic mail deal with and cellphone quantity that distributors can use to submit questions on your RFP.

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

3. Describe the providers you’re trying for.

Now it’s time to get particular in regards to the providers you’re trying for to assist obtain your objectives. For instance, if you happen to’re constructing a web site, you would possibly look for a firm with each front-end and back-end improvement expertise. If you’re creating a cellular app, spotlight the necessity for particular expertise in that space, corresponding to experience in responsive design and constructing functions for a number of cellular platforms.

You can take numerous approaches when describing the providers you’re looking for in an RFP, however we all the time advocate incorporating bullet factors or breaking apart your info in order that it’s straightforward for distributors to scan. Here are two examples.

RFP for Content Marketing Services: Our firm is trying for an company to develop a distinctive content material advertising technique tailor-made particularly to our shopper base. The purpose of this mission is to entice and interact new clients whereas retaining present ones. Our best vendor:

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

RFP for Video Production Services: Our model’s content material workforce is trying for a video manufacturing firm to produce a sequence of movies for our YouTube channel. Our purpose is to construct model consciousness, drive internet visitors, and improve our YouTube advertising ROI. The best vendor:

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

4. Explain any challenges or obstacles to success for the mission.

During the bidding course of, it’s essential to be clear about your mission’s potential obstacles to success. By doing so, you give potential companions and distributors the chance to provide options to these challenges.

Otherwise, companions or distributors could not totally perceive the scope of the mission and any potential difficulties that will come up. This lack of know-how may lead to delayed timelines, elevated prices, or finally, mission failure.

Additionally, withholding the obstacles to success might lead to a lack of belief between your organization and the seller workforce. This could lead to misaligned expectations and misunderstandings. But by being clear in regards to the potential obstacles to success, you’ll be able to improve the probability of discovering the precise vendor and finishing the mission efficiently.

rfp sample template with tables and headings

5. Detail your choice standards.

Next up are the choice standards. Here, you’ll be able to spotlight which expertise, providers, and market experience are required for consideration. This is the time to get particular: Clear descriptions of choice standards will assist cut back the chance of sorting via a number of proposals that don’t meet your wants.This will aid you make an knowledgeable choice when selecting the right vendor for the mission.

Specifying the choice standards early on within the course of improves transparency. If distributors don’t meet the standards, they gained’t submit a proposal, or they will optimize their proposals to meet 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 mission is awarded primarily based on goal judgment moderately than on subjective opinion.

Some examples of choice standards that you would be able to specify in an RFP are:

  • Experience: The vendor ought to have in depth expertise in delivering initiatives related to the one described in your RFP.
  • Qualifications: The vendor ought to have the ability to exhibit their experience within the related know-how, software program, or methodology required to full your mission.
  • Cost: The vendor ought to present detailed pricing and have the ability to exhibit how their proposal suits inside your finances.
  • References: The vendor ought to present references from previous purchasers who’ve used their providers for related initiatives.
  • Methodology: The vendor ought to define their method to managing your mission, together with mission administration processes, assets administration, and mission supply timelines.
  • Availability: The vendor ought to present particulars of their capability to tackle the mission, the provision of their assets, and an anticipated supply timeline.
  • Team Profiles: The vendor ought to embody detailed profiles of the members of the workforce assigned to ship the mission, highlighting their expertise in related areas and their {qualifications}.
  • Technical compatibility: The vendor ought to have the ability to guarantee compatibility with different applied sciences or methods utilized by your group, corresponding to different software program options or APIs.

6. Specify your mission’s timeline.

It’s additionally necessary to be up-front about your timelines. Give potential companions an finish date for RFP submission, a date for ultimate choice, and a clear start-to-finish mission timeline so firms making a proposal can fine-tune their bid. This will even aid you slim down the pool of potential distributors and be sure that the mission 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 mission have to be accomplished and may plan their assets accordingly, guaranteeing well timed supply. The vendor may talk the required deadlines to their workforce, minimizing the chance of delays and guaranteeing that your mission is delivered efficiently.

Here’re an instance of what a timeline can appear to be, however bear in mind that it’ll range relying in your RFP’s format, in addition to your goal distributors’ industries:

“The marketing department at HubSpot is looking to hire a digital marketing agency to help with a new advertising campaign. Proposals must be submitted by August 1st and the campaign launch must occur no later than September 15th, in time for the back-to-school season.”

7. Proofread your RFP and go reside.

Last however by no means least? Proofread your RFP — then proofread it once more. Why? Because even small errors might derail mission timelines. Consider a zero lacking in your finances particulars, or a miscommunication in regards to the dates that proposals are due and alternatives are made; each might pressure a restart of the complete RFP course of and waste treasured time.

Remember that your purpose is to invite as many proposals as attainable, and to make it easy for distributors to reply. An unintentional typo, corresponding to a mission identify that you simply forgot to change or incorrect contact info, could make it that a lot more durable to improve your response fee.

Once you’re happy that the whole lot in your RFP is correct and full, it’s time to go reside. Send out emails and put up hyperlinks in your web site to begin the method of discovering your best-fit supplier. To streamline this course of, contemplate proposal software program to publish and handle responses to your RFP.

Now that you simply perceive the fundamentals of writing an RFP, you’ll be able to construct your personal template after which fill it out so as to begin accepting bids. We’ll use a fictitious firm, Caroline’s Websites, Inc., to illustrate precisely how every part needs to be executed.

RFP Sample

rfp sample template with tables and headingsProject Name or Description: Marketing Services

Company Name: Caroline’s Websites, Inc.

Address: 302 Inbound Ave.

City, State, Zip Code: Boston, MA 29814

Procurement Contact Person: Caroline Forsey

Telephone Number of PCP: 227-124-2481

Email Address of PCP: [email protected]

Fax Number: N/A

Next, 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 opponents, and the place you’re situated. If any vendor is critical about working with you, they’ll need this info earlier than transferring ahead.


Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is a internet design agency created by Caroline Forsey in 2010. Caroline’s Websites, Inc. prides itself on a team-oriented, solutions-based method to internet design. We present our purchasers with internet design providers together with coding, improvement, and branding. Our workers is situated in two workplaces in Massachusetts.

2. Define your mission objectives and scope of providers.

Next, you’ll need to define the mission you want accomplished, and the objectives you anticipate to accomplish from the mission. It’s necessary you get as particular as attainable — even outlining particular person duties and standards concerned. You’ll need to embody phrases corresponding to “The award will be given to X firm,” with the “X” establishing the way you’ll decide the most effective candidate.


Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is looking for the providers of a full-service communications and advertising agency to develop and execute a complete built-in advertising plan that will increase our search engine optimisation 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 the most effective worth {and professional} functionality.

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

Tasks embody however will not be restricted to the next standards:

  • Lead era marketing campaign
  • Paid media technique
  • Production of artistic materials together with collateral and junk mail
  • Online advertising marketing campaign
  • Website enhancement
  • Search engine optimization
  • General account administration
  • Other communications and/or marketing-related help as required

3. Detail your anticipated choice schedule.

It’s essential you embody a detailed schedule so distributors know if they will meet your deadlines. You’ll additionally want to give distributors a window for once they can ask questions relating to your mission.


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

Selection of Top Bidders / Notification to Unsuccessful Bidders: July 31, 20XX

Start 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.

Similar to paragraph #3, that is necessary 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,, and may be downloaded from there straight as of 10 a.m. on June 1, 20XX.

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

5. Clearly outline your timeline.

By together with a timeframe in your RFP, you’re in a position to eradicate any vendor who can’t work inside your time constraints. If you’re versatile in your time, you’ll be able to write one thing like, “Our company hopes to finish the project within six months, but we’re open to negotiation for the right candidate.”


Caroline’s Websites, Inc. wants the mission accomplished inside 8 months.

6. Specify the important thing components of a proposal.

If you don’t define clearly and particularly what you anticipate bidders to embody of their proposal, you’ll be able to’t essentially fault them in the event that they don’t embody it. It’s vital you define a guidelines so distributors know which components you’re anticipating to obtain. It’s additionally a good take a look at 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 end your mission, both.


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

  • Description of the agency that features a normal overview, names and credentials of artistic workforce, variety of full-time workers.
  • A one-page narrative outlining the agency’s strengths and distinguishing expertise or capabilities as they may relate to Caroline’s Websites, Inc.
  • A consultant number 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 eradicate distributors who don’t meet them. For this part, you’ll need to do some brainstorming with your workforce to come up with a obligatory checklist of things you’re feeling are the most effective indicators of spectacular candidates. Your checklist might embody samples of previous work, a confirmed success file with firms in related industries, the experience and technical expertise to meet your calls for, and a price of providers inside your value vary.


The profitable respondent may have:

  • Experience working as a advertising company for a minimal of 24 months and possess full-service, in-house capabilities for advertising, artistic providers, manufacturing, media planning and placement, direct response, and analysis.
  • The training, expertise, information, expertise, and {qualifications} of the agency and the people who will probably be out there to present these providers.
  • The aggressive price of providers.
  • The experience of the agency in working with related clients.

8. Describe any attainable roadblocks.

Here, you’ll need to define any roadblocks, corresponding to restricted assets or a customized web site, that may stop sure distributors from efficiently finishing the mission. This permits you to eradicate unsatisfactory bidders, and it’ll additionally aid you decide which distributors have the talents and experience to deal with these challenges.


At this time, Caroline’s Websites, Inc. at present has customized coding on our web site, of which bidders needs to be conscious.

9. State your finances for the mission.

Any vendor wants to know the way a lot you’re in a position to pay them for their providers earlier than they’ll transfer ahead with their bid.


Caroline’s Websites, Inc.’s finances for the mission is $8,750.00.

These components had been written in a approach to make clear the scope of the mission that Caroline’s Websites, Inc. desires accomplished in order that suppliers know whether or not or not to make a bid. Defining the mission permits the bidder to decide in the event that they’re a good match and the way a lot they’d possible cost. Being as clear as attainable serves to profit (and even shield) each events in the long term.

Tips for Writing an RFP

There are a number of key actions that you would be able to take to improve the probability of a vendor responding to your RFP. At the identical time, sure components could cause a vendor to be much less possible to reply.

Here are some ideas to aid you optimize your RFPs to obtain a excessive response fee from distributors.

1. Provide open strains of communication.

If you determine open communication strains with distributors throughout the bidding course of, you’re extra possible to see a larger response fee. Why? Providing entry to a level 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 advocate purposefully asking your potential distributors to search clarification. Encourage them to ask questions in regards to the RFP and the mission itself. The extra they perceive your wants, the higher their proposals will probably be, and the better will probably be for you to make an knowledgeable choice.

2. Don’t skimp on mission particulars, however hold it transient and scannable.

Vendors are much less possible to reply to RFPs if the mission particulars are inadequate or unclear. If you don’t present detailed directions and necessities for your mission, distributors could interpret the mission scope in a different way, inflicting them to submit proposals that don’t particularly deal with your wants.

Conversely, distributors are extra possible to reply to RFPs that present well-defined mission objectives and timelines, as a result of that enables them to higher consider their talents and supply knowledgeable proposals.

That stated, you need to hold your info as scannable as attainable. Take benefit of formatting choices corresponding to bullet factors and headings. A vendor is probably going flipping via many RFPs in a day, so that you need them to get the knowledge they want after a transient scan of your doc.

3. Establish a aggressive finances and ample deadline.

Vendors are extra possible to be involved in 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 mission’s specs.

On the opposite hand, distributors could also be hesitant to ship you a proposal if there may be a quick deadline, or if the timeline is especially compressed. This might point out that your organization will not be permitting sufficient time for distributors to conduct analysis and submit correct proposals.

4. Research your goal vendor’s business and market.

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

Researching the seller market beforehand may also help you develop extra reasonable budgets, timelines, and objectives. You can create extremely particular choice standards and higher determine which distributors will almost certainly meet your finances and time constraints. 

With inadequate information in regards to the market, you might by chance underestimate the assets required for your mission, or set unrealistic timelines and expectations. This miscommunication can misguide distributors, main them to both submit a proposal that isn’t a good match or completely choose out of bidding.


A request for info (RFI) is usually precedes an RFP. Whereas RFIs are used to pinpoint potential distributors, RFPs assist firms make ultimate choices.

As the identify makes clear, RFIs are about accumulating info. They’re utilized by firms to get a sense of what options are available on the market and the way the businesses that provide these options might assist clear up a key drawback or full a key activity. RFIs ask firms to submit knowledge about what they do, what they provide, and the way they may also help obtain particular objectives.

RFPs, in the meantime, comply with RFIs. Using the knowledge obtained from RFIs, firms construct RFPs that element precisely what they’re trying for, how a lot they’re planning to spend, and the way distributors will probably be chosen. In impact, RFIs assist slim the scope of RFPs to assist streamline the choice course of.

Worth noting? There’s additionally an alternative choice if you recognize precisely what services or products you’re trying for: Request for quote (RFQ). Unlike 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 particular vendor what it will price to ship “X” service or answer in “Y” timeframe below “Z” situations.

Realizing Best Results for Your RFP

Your RFP units the stage for firms to bid on initiatives which might be exterior the scope of your inner experience — however are nonetheless vital for what you are promoting to succeed.

As a outcome, it’s price ensuring your RFP is obvious, concise, and captures the important thing particulars about your wants to assist discover the best-fit accomplice for your mission. Not positive the place to begin? Grab a copy of HubSpot’s free RFP template, comply with the steps above, and get your initiatives underway.

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

rfp templates

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