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Learn the Basics of Creating a Request for Proposal (RFP)

If you're responsible for creating an RFP but don't know where to begin, this guide is for you! We'll cover everything you need to know about RFPs - why they're necessary, how to create an effective one, and more. Before diving in, let's define what an RFP is exactly.

What is an RFP?

An RFP, or request for proposal, is a document that companies use to request bids from potential vendors or service providers. It outlines project specifics such as scope and price and asks vendors to submit a bid for the work. The company then compares multiple bids to determine the best choice.

An RFP is a valuable tool for large and complex projects that require outsourcing, as it allows companies to quickly evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of potential vendors without spending too much time searching for them.


Although RFPs and RFQs (request for quotation) are similar, an RFQ includes only the price quote. Companies use an RFQ to compare prices from various vendors, while an RFP includes other important details in addition to the price quote.

In marketing, an RFP is commonly used to outsource activities that can help a brand increase its reach. This could include anything related to marketing that cannot be done internally, such as creating an integrated marketing plan.

Similarly, in sales, an RFP is often used when a business is looking to purchase a product or service to meet its needs.

The RFP Process

The first step in the RFP process is for the requesting company to draft the document. This gives potential contractors a better understanding of the company's needs. Once the RFP is sent out, contractors can review it and submit their bids.

When submitting their proposals, vendors typically include an action plan outlining how they will solve the issue, a timeline, any necessary background information, and the total cost of the project.

Why Issue an RFP?

Now, you may be wondering why you should bother creating an RFP when you can simply find a vendor on your own. Consider these two scenarios:

  • Option 1: Spend time searching for a vendor on your own, utilizing referrals, networking, and online research.
  • Option 2: Use an RFP to attract potential vendors to come to you.

By choosing the first route, you may spend countless hours reaching out to potential vendors and explaining your project. With an RFP, vendors already have the project specifics and can provide their best plan of action and bid, saving you time and effort.

  • No more repeating your needs to every potential vendor.
  • No more spending hours searching for the perfect vendor.

In conclusion, while creating an RFP may require some time upfront, the benefits outweigh the effort. These include:

  • Saving time by attracting vendors to come to you.
  • Eliminating repetition by outlining your needs in one document.

So, next time you need to find a vendor for a project, consider using an RFP to streamline the process and save yourself time and energy.

Don't limit yourself to your own network and rely solely on referrals when searching for a vendor. Increase your reach by publishing a Request for Proposal (RFP) to connect with a wider range of potential vendors.

One of the major advantages of using an RFP is the opportunity to see a vendor's actual plan of action, instead of just what they tell you over the phone or in person. With a formal bid, vendors must take the time to outline their solution and carefully consider the problem at hand.

The RFP process also makes it easier to weed out unqualified vendors and quickly narrow down your options. However, it's crucial to avoid one major mistake during this process.

What Not to Do with an RFP

To find the perfect vendor, make sure your RFP is specific and avoid asking only "yes" or "no" questions. Instead, ask open-ended questions that require thoughtful answers and allow vendors to explain their problem-solving approach. For example, ask for an example of a similar problem they have solved for another company or if they have encountered any unexpected challenges.

Another essential aspect of a successful RFP is including questions that address your specific project needs.

Maximize Your RFP Process with These Top 10 Proposal Software Tools

Are you tired of spending endless hours creating professional RFPs? Look no further � we have compiled a list of 10 time-saving software tools to help you effectively manage your RFPs and create impressive proposals.

The following five tools are highly recommended for beginners:

  • Responsive

Simplify your RFP response process with Responsive � a comprehensive solution that includes project management, collaboration, and integration with other software. With features such as reporting dashboards, auto-response capabilities, and an intelligent answer library, streamline your RFP process with ease.

  • PandaDoc

Create polished RFPs with your own branding using PandaDoc. Their user-friendly platform allows you to set up your first RFP in minutes and collaborate with team members in real-time within the document itself.

  • Nusii

Effortlessly build professional RFPs with Nusii's drag-and-drop editor. Their sleek and modern design makes it simple for beginners to use. Plus, their unique feature allows you to revamp existing RFPs by copying and editing existing content.

  • Loopio

Easily organize your RFP responses with Loopio's response library, providing instant access to past answers. Their "magic feature" even populates responses for you, saving time and effort. Manage your entire RFP process and collaborate with your team in one convenient location through their intuitive dashboard.

Now that you have the necessary tools, here are some helpful tips for crafting a strong RFP.

What is an RFP?

RFP stands for "Request for Proposal," which is a formal document outlining project requirements and inviting vendors to submit proposals for fulfilling those requirements.

How to Write an RFP for Grants

Grant proposals require a specific format and approach. Follow these steps for a successful grant proposal:

  • Define Your Project Goals: Clearly state the objectives of your project, ensuring all parties have a clear understanding of what success looks like.
  • Provide an Overview of Your Company: Give vendors a brief description of your company to help them understand your business and target market.
  • Outline Project Goals: Clearly define the goals of your project to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the desired outcome.
  • Specify Project Scope: Be detailed and specific when outlining the scope of your project. Vague descriptions will not lead to finding the right vendor.
  • Set Target Deliverable Schedule: Even if you have flexible deadlines, provide a target schedule to give vendors an understanding of your timeline and availability.

By following these steps and utilizing the recommended software tools, you can efficiently manage your RFP process and find the perfect partner for your project. Let's work together to help your company achieve its goals and overcome any challenges.

How to Write a Winning Project Proposal: Tips and Tools

Are you looking to secure funding for your project? It's important to clearly state your project's purpose and desired outcomes. Here's how you can increase your chances of success:

  • Research potential funders. Start by identifying funders that align with your project's goals. This will help you target your proposal to the right audience.
  • Follow the funder's guidelines. Before submitting your proposal, make sure to carefully review and adhere to the funder's specific requirements and instructions.
  • Outline your proposal. Use a clear and concise format to present your project idea, budget, and timeline. This will make it easier for funders to understand and assess your proposal.
  • Include supporting materials. Provide any necessary documents, such as financial statements or resumes, to support your proposal. These can help validate the feasibility and credibility of your project.
  • Proofread. Double check for any errors or typos before submitting your proposal. A polished and error-free proposal can make a good impression and increase your chances of success.

RFQ vs. RFP: What's the Difference?

When it comes to securing funding, it's important to understand the differences between an RFQ (request for quotation) and an RFP (request for proposal). An RFQ is used when the project's requirements are already clearly defined and the organization is simply requesting a price quote from potential vendors. On the other hand, an RFP is used for more complex projects, where the requirements may not be fully defined, and the organization is seeking creative solutions and proposals from vendors.

Now that you have a better understanding of RFPs and how they differ from RFQs, use these software tools and tips to streamline your proposal process and increase your chances of success.

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