What does a Request for Proposal Look Like?

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Pin It Share 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×

A Request for Proposal, or an RFP for short, is usually requested by customers looking for the right business to provide a service or sometimes a product to them.Contract

I would describe an RFP as a cross between a resume you would submit for a job and a quote.  Now that you understand what an RFP is, what does it look like and what should it contain?

I generally start with a template which has my logo, company name and contact information in a “footer”  and then tailor the content to the service description that has been submitted just as it is necessary in the current job market to tailor each and every resume you submit along with the covering letter, whether it be by email or post.

When you send this RFP, include a covering letter or email that states you are submitting your RFP per the description of their request and I strongly suggest you start your second paragraph with “Of particular note….” and copy and paste  the paragraph you have provided in your RFP so it will be highlighted in your cover page document. 

Make your Proposal look professional, such as:

XXXYY Company
Attention:  John Smith, Vice President

I would like to take this opportunity to submit this proposal in response to your request for a “event planner”.

Further to the Job Description for this position which you included in your request, I will herewith outline my qualifications, education, knowledge, skills and abilities.

Education:                Diploma or Certificate, University or College Degrees

Additional Training: A list of any additional training courses taken.

Knowledge:              Your skillset, e.g. Expert Level of experience in Microsoft Office.

Skills & Abilities:   A point form list of your experience, e.g                  

                                   o  Successfully supervised and ran the operations of a small business company.

Experience of particular note, I ……… (this is the section where you address the services that are in the post and you can illustrate what experience you have had in performing this particular service(s)  and how you have done it.  “I have had several years of experience in sales and marketing environments, where I have organized events like sales conferences and product launches from conception to completion – researching hotels and conference rooms, making booking arrangements along with audio/visual, meals, special seating or lighting, contacting prospective attendees and providing the details of the event, registration forms, making reservations for travel and hotels for attendees, creating agendas, powerpoint or video presentations,  feedback forms, etc.”

Another paragraph on your associations, affiliations, volunteer work.

Working Conditions:   If you are a Virtual Assistant, you might want to stipulate that you have a fully equipped small home office and the equipment and software you use along with what security practices you have and what communication conveniences for your customers such as a toll free # or faxing.

Compensation:  This is your quotation for pricing for the services requested, such as an hourly rate, a project rate, a retainer package, etc.

Mention that you can provide references, if necessary.

A closeout paragraph about how you provide a free consultation to discuss the clients needs and how you would be happy to partner with them.

I have experienced about a 90% respond rate to the RFP’s I have sent so far.  Don’t forget that if you are unclear about what the prospective client requires, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification from them before you submit your RFP.  Almost all clients are happy to provide that information and appreciate your interest in submitting an accurate RFP.  I usually wait about 2 weeks, and do a follow-up email or phone call to make sure that they have received my proposal and whether they have chosen someone else or haven’t sifted through the proposals yet.  And if they have chosen someone else, ask if you might enquire about why you were unsuitable for the this work or whether there was something you could have added to your proposal.

If anyone else has suggestions to add to this post, please feel free to contribute.

 Diane L. Coville




0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 StumbleUpon 0 Pin It Share 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×


  1. Thank you for this information, Diane. Would you say the use of the RFP is somewhat of a two-way street? Can it also be a response to a client who sought out the services?

    • RFP’s are usually submitted to a project or assignment that has been posted for anyone who wants to respond. However if, for instance, a prospective client contacts you to ask for a quote on products/services, you could use this format but refer to it as a quote.