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Top 5 Tips for Creating a Request for Proposal (RFP)



Often times when a company, organization, or school district approaches a design and building project they begin with a request for proposals. In order to obtain the highest quality responses and get the most out of the process, SDS Architects has created a list of top tips to help you.

1) Have some clear goals or needs identified for your project. The goals and needs can include anything from a specific budget or timeframe you will need to hit to a specific facility need such as needing space for 100 additional employees, adding a certain number of rooms to a residence hall, or creating a plan for facility repairs and replacement over a length of time. When you are clear about the goals you wish to accomplish and have some idea of the budget amount, it is easier to communicate those important points with potential service providers.

2) Wait to create a document. Nearly any service provider would prefer to have a genuine conversation with a prospective client about an upcoming project prior to receiving a formal written request for proposal. SDS Architects does not charge for an initial consultation about a project you might have in mind. Take advantage of that opportunity to talk through goals and plans and gain new ideas and be sure your group has considered the many questions you may encounter during the proposal process.

3) Create your own document. It can be tempting to want to utilize an RFP that another similar organization used to solicit proposals for a project. While it might be acceptable to utilize another group's form to ensure you are being thorough, SDS Architects highly recommends creating a clear piece of communications outlining your goals and desires for your specific project.

4) Utilize meaningful criteria. Ask for the information you will find most useful in your decision-making process. Is on time and on budget performance the highest priority? Ask for specific examples of performance. Is there a specific feature you are incorporating? Again, focus your information request on the specifics you are interested in comparing.

5) Allow for personal interactions. It can be tempting to judge proposals on the written word alone. Be sure to allow for presentations, meetings, and personal interactions with any firm you are considering hiring.

The RFP and hiring process does not have to be cumbersome or painful. Utilize our tips to be sure that you are thorough, consider all options, and review the criteria that will really matter when you judge the success of your finished project.