Request for proposal (RFP): what is it and how to write it?

Jul 03, 2018
Request for proposal

If you are looking for a web agency for website development or support, write a request for proposal and send it out to potential contractors. 

This document will help you find the right company to work on your web project and have it successfully developed. It’s easy to write a great website RFP when you know what to include and what you want to see as a result. Defining goals, the scope of work and strict project requirements allows you to deliver your web project on time and within your budget. So find out what a request for proposal is and what information it should include.

What is a request for proposal (RFP)?

A request for proposal is a document issued by a business owner or an organisation (as a customer) to request vendor bids for services and products. The RFP contains information for vendors as potential partners about customer’s requirements and expectations towards future cooperation and the final result. In turn, a vendors’ proposals should meet the requirements outlined in the request for proposal.

What is the difference between an RFP and a technical specification?

You may confuse a request for proposal for website development with a technical specification, which is another document also containing detailed requirements and characteristics that should be accomplished as a result of work. Both of those documents are needed at a very early stage of web development process, and are really prerequisites to any work being done.

The difference between a request for proposal and a technical specification is that an RFP is aimed at receiving an offer that meets your desired time and budget boundaries and selecting a contractor, while a technical specification is aimed at outlining the set of planned work and laying out how it will be evaluated once the web project is finished.

How do you write a request for proposal for a website development project?

  • Define website goals and objectives

Every website should have a purpose. How can your website help you in particular? What goals can your business achieve with a website? What goals are measurable, so you can measure the success of this web project?

For example, for an eCommerce website, the goals can include selling products online, finding new sales markets, expanding the target audience, getting conversions and getting revenue. Among other goals, this can include business promotion, establishing brand awareness, enhancing brand recognition, metrics tracking and other goals for having a website for startups and large businesses.

  • Specify target audience

Tell potential contractors who your business is oriented towards and what kind of people are using, or are going to use, your website. This information will help developers understand how your new or renewed website has to look and function in order to satisfy the needs of your target audience. If you have already created user personas, include this data in your website request for proposal.

  • Outline the scope of work and project requirements

Set a clear guideline for what kinds of work you expect contractors to execute concerning UI or/and UX design, hosting, content migration, different systems integration, security updates, performance audit, etc. Regardless of whether you plan to have the website built from scratch, or are looking for a redesign, upgrade or replatforming, each process can be divided into small stages and steps. The more detail you can use to describe what you need, the more precise proposals web agencies can give.

  • Give examples of other websites

As they say, a picture is a worth a thousand words. Examples speak louder than words, as they help peple better understand the theory. That’s why it’s a good idea to show vivid examples taken from other websites of similar features that you want a web development company to provide on your website.

  • Provide additional information

Include in your RFP anything that you consider to be important and helpful. If you are well versed in programming languages and technologies, then describe not only how you want your website to look but also what tools you want to be used to achieve the desired result. You may include requirements for a project management style and specify whether you want Waterfall, Agile, Scrum or mixed principles to be applied. In short, mention anything that can make your web project as clear as possible to a web agency. What is obvious to you may not be to the web agency.

What to do after sending RFPs out?

Once you have distributed your request for proposal, wait for proposals to come in on the terms you have determined Be responsive and open to communication. Prepare answer the questions that you will probably receive. If a web development company asks you to specify something, it’s a sign that they are interested and are likely to work on your web project.

If you look for a web development company that is able to offer a professional team to make your web project come true, send your RFP to us. If you haven’t clearly defined yet what you want, we can advise a good web solution for your case. We are open to start negotiating and start working, so don’t delay contacting us.

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