Responding to RFPs. What is an RFP?

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RFP

Let’s talk about Request for Proposals (RFPs).

Hey, let’s talk about RFPs. RFP stands for request for proposal. The term refers to the hiring process used by government institutions or larger corporations wherein small business or companies are required to participate in a bidding process to be selected for contracted work.

The RFP process is meant to make the hiring process equitable and prevent government institutions and corporations.

Instead of just hiring someone to do work, they put out what’s called RFP requests for proposals, and it’s basically a bidding process to win contracts for work.

In my web development work, I have been invited to submit many proposals. Over the years, I have decided to no longer participate in the RFP process. But why?

I’ve been on the winning side of an RFP, and also walked away from the process feeling kind of used.

The RFP process is designed to make the bidding and award process as fair as possible, but it does not always work.

In some instances, I’ve been told by those in charge of the RFP process: “We really want to work with you. You’re the person– you’re the company– that we want to work with. But we have to go through the RFP process because we’re a government agency. It’s our policy.” They already knew that they wanted to work with my company but they still had to go through the RFP process.

Think about that. What does that mean for the other companies participating in the RFP process?

My competitors were submitting proposals and they didn’t even have a chance. Their time and energy was being wasted. And this has happened more than once.

I have also been on the other side of this situation where it became clear to me that I was just being used to meet the RFP quota for an agency or company looking to hire.

At some point in the process, it became really obvious to me that I was never being taken seriously. At any point, during this process, I never had a chance.

Whether you win or lose the proposal, sometimes hiring agencies and companies have already made up their mind before the RFP process even begins.

This experience created hesitancy on my part to say yes, when I was invited to complete an RFP.

You could end up putting a lot of time into trying to win a bid when you never had a chance.

Whenever you’re asked to submit an RFP, consider whether or not it is worth your time.

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Hi, I’m Emily Journey. I founded and lead a website consulting agency with six coworkers. This blog is where I write about the things I’ve learned at my real job.
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