Developing an RFP (Request for Proposal)
Do Your Homework
Before you start to write an RFP, figure out what you really need, what you want, and what is possible.
Distinguish Between Needs and Wants
Things that are needed are identified in the RFP by using words like "will", "shall", and "must". These are the "requirements". Those things that are merely "wants" are identified by words like "may", "can", and "optional".
Decide What the Winner Will Look Like
You should decide the weight or importance of each criteria you have listed. What matters most: cost, fastest delivery, reputation, or proven track record on a similar project?
Organize the Document
Anything you write for business should be thought through and organized. An outline is a good place to start. You will need sections, at least, for introduction, requirements, selection criteria, timelines, and process.
This is where you explain to potential bidders why you are publishing the RFP and what you hope to achieve by doing so. The introduction may also include a summary of the key points from the other sections, including due date.
This section is one of the most important and it usually takes the most time. It is where you describe in minute detail the quantities and type of services or products you want to buy. This section also discusses the hours service providers are allowed to work on-site, parking arrangements and equipment storage and even how potential damage in work areas will be handled.
In this section you tell the bidders as much as you choose about how the winning bidder will be selected. It is a good idea to include a sentence like "The winning bidder, if any, will be selected solely by the judgment of XYZ Company."
This section tells companies who want to bid on your RFP how quickly they must act and how long the process may take. Be reasonable when you set your deadlines. Don't ask for proposals for complex systems and only give the bidders a few days to respond.
In this section you explain how the process will work - from sending out the RFP to awarding the contract and starting the work.
Decide How to Send Out The RFP
Most RFPs are mailed, but they do not have to be. You can send the RFP by email or post it on your company web site. Be sure to specify the name or number bidders should use to identify which RFP they are answering.
Decide Who to Send the RFP
You may already know who the suppliers are for what you want to purchase. Your company may even have a list of acceptable vendors.
Who to Involve
Developing a Request for Proposal requires the input of the community association board, designated board committees and your Property Manager. Your Cagan Property Manager is ready to guide you in this process.
Courtesy of F. John Rey
A published author, most recently as a contributing author to Business: The Ultimate Resource
, John has set aside time throughout his career to mentor newer managers.