RFP Writer – RFPs, RFQs and RFIs – A guide to requests

7th June 2019

A Guide to Requests – RFP Writer

Last updated: Dec 17, 2021 @ 12:21 pm

Tendering often comes with many different acronyms and terminologies that can often be difficult to understand when new to tendering. Click here for our Tender VLE video on terminology. Buyers can often request that suppliers provide their tender submission in many different formats. RF stands for ‘request for’, and forms part of many different types of proposals. Now, this may seem confusing but understanding the basics before you tackle buyer’s requests will allow you to become a successful RFI, RFQ or RFP writer.

Below is a guide to requests and how your business can tackle them effectively.

Requests for information (RFI):

A request for information, or commonly shortened to RFI, usually consists of a document which is sent out by buyers to gather information from potential suppliers. This also shares the name of ‘Soft Market Testing’. This is usually sent out in the early stages and allows buyers to gather a pool of information regarding supplier capability to better refine the buying/procurement process. Think of it like the buyer having a need, and you, as the supplier, are helping define that need further.

Some examples of requests for information and how they may apply to your industry are as follows:

Technology

  • A buyer will often have a need, and usually, given that they are tendering for external help, they may not fully know the approach they are wanting to take. For example, we often come across a buyer wanting software solutions to deal with internal problems.
  • A buyer may be looking for software to help them keep track of their customers and supply chains. In becoming a successful RFI writer you must showcase that you have a definitive solution to a problem or need that the buyer has.
  • A way of approaching this will be to showcase past experience. For example, how you have previously provided solutions to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the transferable skills that can be brought over to this project.

FIND TECHNOLOGY TENDERS

Construction

  • Large scale construction projects are often costly, complex and time-consuming. For this reason, RFIs are not uncommon.
  • Buyers will often have an idea in their head but will require further technical clarification.
  • For example, let’s say you are submitting an RFI for project management on a construction site. Due to the multiple different teams needed in large-scale construction projects, buyers may be looking for information on your proposed team and how you will bring the team together and successfully manage it.
  • This may involve the buyer streamlining the team they need for the project, allowing them to build a more definitive specification.

FIND CONSTRUCTION TENDERS

Facilities  

  • This could be an RFI for a cleaning contract. Often times buyers may have a particular issue to their property but without a specific approach of what it is they are needing.
  • For example, a buyer may require external cleaning with elements of grounds maintenance, but they are not quite sure what type of contractor they would require for this.
  • Responding to an RFI like this will form part of the buyer understanding further what types of suppliers they will need, allowing them to develop a more detailed specification.

FIND FACILITIES TENDERS

 Responding to RFIs can be an important part of getting your foot in the ladder and shaping the tender process. This is not to be overlooked and becoming a successful RFI writer is about showing you have definitive approaches to buyer’s solutions.

Requests for quotations (RFQs):

Request for quotations (RFQs) are a way for businesses and organisations to ask suppliers to provide them with a quote. This quote may consist of how much a particular item will cost, which may be a particular service, project or product. Buyers will usually provide a list of products or services they require costing for, and suppliers must respond accordingly. Examples of RFQs and how they may relate to your specific industries are listed below:

 Logistics

  • You may be a haulage company who collect and deliver timber. Buyers may be looking for how much you would charge per weight of product and distance of delivery.
  • Or, you might be a removals company and you may be asked to cost for a total number of moves over a certain period. For example, you might be asked to cost for 300 furniture removals from offices over 3 years, and the price you provide must be an offer reflecting the buyer’s requests. 

FIND LOGISTICS TENDERS

Hospitality 

  • Catering can be big here. As well as showcasing your ability to provide good quality products, you may be specifically asked about costs.
  • For example, let’s say you are a catering company and a School is looking for a new company to provide their services, costing of bulk products will play a large factor here.
  • Buyers may ask you for your costing of breakfast and lunch items over a certain period and will play an important part in you being considered as a supplier.

FIND HOSPITALITY TENDERS

Requests for proposals (RFPs):

Request for proposals (RFPs) can often be much larger and complex than RFIs and RFQs. RFPs usually encompass the entirety of the project and companies will be required to complete often long and complex answers, so becoming a successful RFP writer can often be challenging.

Requests will often include a statement of work including the tasks to be performed, along with a specified timescale for completion. This may include a specific format that the buyer is looking for and you must ensure you understand the buying organisation and reflect this in your proposal.

Examples of RFPs and how they may relate to your industry are located below:

Creative

  • The buyer may be looking for website design, providing you with a particular theme and areas that they are looking to enhance and focus on.
  • You may be provided timescales and formatting that they are looking for your proposal to take.
  • For example, you may be required to complete quality questions which outline your approach to things like quality management, your team’s expertise and reducing your carbon footprint.
    As well as this, you may be required to submit a ten-page document which is designed and showcases your proposal for the contract, outlining how each element will be designed and created.
  • It is key in becoming a successful RFP writer that you ensure all elements of what the buyer is looking for are covered and that you provide a well-designed and clear proposal, especially in the creative sector.

FIND CREATIVE TENDERS

Construction

  • You might be an Architectural firm submitting a response to the design of a hospital.
  • In this, the buyer will likely have a firm idea of the remits of the design and will be looking for a proposal that combines both creative elements with technical expertise and regulatory adherence.
  • It will be likely that the buyer will ask for a designed proposal of your ideas for the design of the building, backed up by quality responses explaining your approach.
  • Having success as an RFP writer involves striking the balance between both creative and design elements of your project and your ability to explain these in clear language.
  • Remember, although you are experts in your field and it is often difficult to not use industry-specific and expert language, the person evaluating your response might not have the knowledge to understand what you are saying.

To conclude, becoming a successful RFI, RFQ or RFP writer can be a difficult process when you are new to tendering for contracts. Understanding the basics as outlined above will allow you to understand what type of approach you should take when submitting responses to buyers. This can help you write a winning bid.

For further information, head on over to our Tender VLE platform, the first of its kind to provide expert hints and tips regarding all things tendering. We also have an internal team of Bid Writers who can provide expert assistance and help with any tender related queries. Click here for further information.

Searching for new tendering opportunities? Discover our ten sector-specific portals HERE.

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