In my experience of receiving RFPs and creating proposals, I tend to err on the side of caution and prefer to deliver proposals that detail exactly what is included in the estimated price, while unforeseen requests will incur additional costs. Most often, an RFP will likely be vague and all encompassing, simply because a client wants to cover all their bases without actually doing their work and finding out what they need. In response, as a service provider, the onus is on me to make sense of it and solidify it into a tangible deliverables.
“There is little that’s more frustrating than receiving a request for proposal (RFP) written by an individual who doesn’t know what he’s doing–especially when it’s a company you really want as a client. You know what I’m talking about–the RFP unexpectedly shows up in your inbox offering a moment of excitement, but your deflation follows as you start to read and realize this person doesn’t know what he wants in a creative firm, isn’t asking the right questions or is simply casting as wide a net as possible, creating untold hours of work for a multitude of firms, many of which should not even be under consideration.”
After reading the article, the advice given in creating a brief to be used as guide in conversations with firms and then proceeding with creation of contracts, makes all kinds of sense to me. Both parties will get a better understanding of what is wanted, what will be delivered, and how they can come to a mutual partnership.
“Cal Harrison advises buyers and sellers of professional services on how to improve the procurement process and he puts the effect of these two cases into layman’s terms. “The RFP process as it is typically constructed now has all kinds of flaws that can be challenged by bidders. Both parties are better off if they have conversations that lead to contracts and not contracts that lead to contracts.” ”
“The test of a well-considered RFP, in my opinion, is whether the document can be used as a guide for the buyer rather than a to-do list for the seller.”
I highly recommend you read this, wether you’re an author or recipient of an RFP.