Lesson 1: What Is An RFP?

"What is an RFP?" This is something I often hear. In particular, when I introduce my company: Once Upon an RFP. I first started working with RFPs more than 20 years ago.

RFP is the acronym for Request for Proposal. Additionally, you might see the initialisms RFI, RFQ, or RFB. The “I” stands for Information and often comes before an RFP. The “Q” stands for quote and the “B” stands for bid. Furthermore, some agencies use the acronym ITB, or Invitation to Bid. Collectively, we like to call these bid documents “RFx” documents.

Government agencies and private corporations use RFx documents to invite suppliers and service providers to participate in a competitive bidding process. 

Government purchasing generally has a value threshold mandating a competitive bidding process. For example, any purchase equal to or greater than $10,000. Thus, the competitive process enables transparency and allows public access to the related proposals that vendors submit.

RFPs contain all or a selection the following information:

  • Scope and details about the commodities and services sought
  • Important dates including:
    • Date and time of the bidders conference, if there is one
    • Deadline for submitting questions
    • Due date and time
    • Date for vendor presentations
    • Anticipated award date
  • With whom you are allowed to communicate regarding the RFP in the client’s organization
  • The process for asking questions
  • How to submit proposals, including whether via a procurement portal, email or physically in the form of hard copies or electronic copies on USB or CD
  • Terms and Conditions of the RFP process and the related contract
  • What sections you should include in your proposal, such as:
  • Cover Letter
    • Executive Summary
    • Company background, stability, capabilities and references
    • Solution Summary and answers to questions around the solution
    • Project Team and resumes
    • Pricing
    • Acceptance of or exceptions to the RFP terms and conditions
    • Forms you must complete, sign, sometimes have notarized, and include

Corporations also use RFPs for purchasing. Most often, they are large and publicly traded corporations. In other cases, they are subject to government compliance such as organizations in the financial and health care industries.

Welcome to RFPs 101

So, have we piqued your interest in RFPs? This is the first our series, RFPs 101. Keep an eye out for our next article: RFPs 101, Lesson 2: What products and services are contracted through RFPS?

Are you already working with RFPs, but unaware that there are specialists in this writing niche? Once Upon an RFP exists for the professionals and organizations like you who depend upon RFPs as an avenue of business development.

Unfortunately, many struggle because their day jobs are C-Suite, Client Relationship Management, Service Delivery or New Business Development, but they don’t have dedicated support within their organizations.

Would you like to explore what it would be like to have Proposal Professionals to support your RFP response and proposal development efforts? Reach out today to chat.

Click here to schedule your consultation. We can’t wait to meet you!

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