How to Write a Request for Bid

Potential vendors can compare their offers in a formal bid opening.
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More commonly referred to as a request for proposal, a request for bid is a formal solicitation by your business for a plan of action and pricing on goods and services your company wants to purchase. A successful RFP is broad enough to draw a number of bids but detailed enough so that you end up buying the goods and services that started the whole request-for-bid process.


Do Your Research

Before starting to piece together your request for bid, some research into the topic will help you put out a proposal request that makes sense in light of what vendors can actually provide to your company. Invite some sales people into your office and let them explain the details of the products or services they sell. Ask lots of questions, take plenty of notes and let the vendor reps know that you will be putting out a formal request for bid.

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Lay Out Your Goals for the Request

The first section of your RFP should be an overview of your business and what it does, followed by the goals you want to reach through the product proposal you are preparing. The more the vendors who bid know about your business and what you are trying to accomplish, the better they are able to match their proposals to your needs. This section also provides vendors with an opportunity to stray from the listed specifications if they see a better way to accomplish your goals.


Get Down to Specifics

The specifications section informs vendors of the criteria they are expected to meet or exceed in their bid proposals. This is the meat of your bid request and the level of detail can vary significantly. Your requirements can range from a broad outline of what tasks the product or service should cover to a detailed list of specifications that must be met for a bid to be considered. The specifications section covers the items that are necessary for the product or service to work for your business needs.



How Should Bidders Respond

Your request for bid should include the format and method for accepting the proposals. For example, you may want bids in a sealed envelope to be delivered by a certain date. You also should cover how bids will be handled. You may want to give vendors one shot at providing their best price, or you may elect to leave the awarding of the contract open, allowing you to ask a vendor for more information or to change some specifications and reprice a bid.



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