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Understanding request for proposals

What is a RFP? A RFP is a request for proposal and should not be confused with a RFI (request for information) or RFQ (request for quotation). A request for proposal is submitted by a business who has a problem and wants a supplier to solve it. The organization will review a set of business proposals based on quality, service, and reputation. The organisation may not necessarily look at pricing. The RFP will also outline the procedures and specifications of the organisations. When reviewing an RFP, there are certain questions which needed to be answered:

Are you eligible?

The first item to check on the RFP is if you are eligible to apply. Do they have special requirements which you need to compile with when you send in your business proposal? Are there any specific certificates that you need to have? By doing this at the beginning you will make sure you don’t waste your time by apply for an opportunity you aren’t eligible for.

What is the budget?

You need to assess whether the budget which the company proposes is viable for you. By knowing the cost parameters and what your minimum price is for your service you will be able to assess if you would like to bid for the job.

Do you have the capacity?

Many small- and medium-sized business are eager to win the contract but sometimes have unrealistic views of their ability to complete the contract. It is important to know the type, number and frequency of deliverables over the full contract period and make sure you can fill these deliverables over the entire time. It is also important to know the time for the contract to ensure you won’t be too busy with other contracts over this period. If you can’t complete the deliverables on time you could be in breach of the contract and incur great cost because of disputes.

What are the requirements for the RFP?

It is important to know what the specific requirements are of the RFP. How do they want you to submit your documents? Do they want you to post or hand deliver the documents? Are there any special meetings you need to attend to submit a proposal for the RFP? You must also check which date they need the proposal submitted on.

What level of effort will be required?

It is important to understand how much time and resources will be dedicated to this contract. You should examine your busy periods and see if you will be able to continue with the production or service as required or if not, will you be able to upgrade your resources so that you will be able to fulfil the contract.

By answer these for questions, you will be well on your way to winning the RFP.

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