The Purpose of a Request for Proposal

by Neil Kokemuller - Updated September 26, 2017
Use a request for proposal to solicit a proposed solution from a vendor.

A request for proposal is a solicitation from a business to a vendor or provider asking for a proposed solution to help the business complete a project. The proposal generally covers the components of the solution and the costs.

General Goals and Information

General goals and useful information about your project are a starting point for a request for proposal or RFP. You must convey your intent and vital aspects of your project plan so that vendors understand how to tailor their responses.

Project Details

The details portion of your RFP breaks down specific tasks that must be completed and a timeline for deliverables required of the vendor. You would also address any specifics related to working relationships, development processes, and other factors the vendor must respond to within the solution.

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Budget and Resources

You must include your budget and resources in a request for a proposal.

Vendors must know what funding and resources you have available as they prepare a solution. Along with a total cost for the project, you might give them a breakdown for components of the project and an overview of other available resources at your disposal.

Selection and Evaluation Criteria

Convey your criteria for selecting the preferred vendor after you have received all requests for proposals. Also identify for vendors how you will determine success after completion of the project so they understand fully what is expected.

Vendor Creativity

If desired, include a section of the request for proposal that asks for project-related ideas from the vendors. Encourage creativity in this section; recommendations can address project design, execution or use.

About the Author

Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.

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