What are the important things that freelancers should know about RFPs?
Imagine a scenario. You are running a business. A former employee of yours tells you that a local university wishes to upgrade their IT department’s internal ticketing tool. The person was a member of the development team that made version 1.0 of this ticketing tool. You are definite that you're going to get the work. There are several reasons for this belief. Firstly, you know the person who was on the team that made the original app. You are in the same locality as the university. You are familiar with several high-ranking authorities of the university. However, you don’t get the work. You are at a loss. You attended the Q&A meetings where you came across the companies contending for the contract. They’re non-technical salesmen!
You are totally stunned at how the university could be so stupid.
Later, you understand where you went wrong. You considered this RFP as an old project request. You did not realize that a procurement officer is going to read your proposal. You had thought that the IT side backing the project would do it.
RFPs should not be treated as standard project proposals
Some corporations, particularly larger firms and govt. agencies want to recruit an outside vendor through a free RFP process. The reason for this practice is keeping low costs. A mistake that several consultants make while doing a response is treating it like a standard proposal. Thus, they don’t follow the rules.
Usually, an RFP gets several responses. Thus, they’re often structured and necessitate responses to follow the listed structure. The folks inspecting these proposals are keen on shortening the load of proposals. They will discard solid proposals based on technicalities.
The folks who require the task don’t always pen down the RFP
At large-scale organizations, a procurement team writes RFPs. The result is some apparently odd wordings in an RFP. These can confuse a company that is inexperienced in writing responses to RFPs.
A company proposing should propose a solution
Freelancers who wish to win RFPs should think like a solution provider rather than a freelancer. They should ignore that they can do anything for practically any industry if they get their rates. They should propose a solution custom-made to the specific needs of the project. They can engage the services of a consultant that specializes in making an rfp response in their business niche.
RFPs do not suit all and sundry. They could take a lot of time and produce few results. There are also officially mandated RFPs that are phrased in a way so that one provider can totally fulfill the project. A wise thing to do is to take the help of a consultant while responding to an RFP request.