The Request for Proposal (RFP)
A typical RFP for web site development is a 20-30 page document describing the company's future online presence. This document should include project description, a list of deliverables, and protocols for submission.
Building a web site or a web application is a lot like building a house. If you want a house built, you interview architects. You check with the owners of the houses they've designed, compare notes, and rank them according to your own criteria. Then you go to the top firm on the list and talk price. If they can do the job within your budget, you sign an agreement to begin work. You trust the architect to take you through the process of designing a house together
, and the architect's personal impressions have a strong influence on your relationship. You want to go through the process with someone who makes you feel comfortable. In the end, a combination of personality, track record, and recommendations guides your decision.
How to use a Request for Proposal?
You're looking for people who can do your project. People you can trust. The goal of a search is not to design a web site or gather ideas, it's to find the right web site developer so you can find solutions together. Use the RFP to narrow the field to a small number of candidates, any one of whom could do the job. RFPs are really designed to choose one firm among several firms that you'd be happy doing business with.
What to include in RFP?
As much detail as you can. Again, thinking about contracting an architect to build your house. An architect you trust will build a house based on your
specifications and expressed desires. You can control the layout, the look, and the functionality of your house with detailed specifications. Equally you can control the budget with detailed specifications. An architect will itemize the cost for each function and design element. The same rule applies to building web sites and web applications.
Can you get a good bid without sending an RFP?
The answer is simple: don't try to get a good bid
. If you choose the right web development group, that group will work with you and your budget. If you focus on getting the right price, your chances of ending up with the right group are slim, and your chances of wasting money are great.
Tell us what your budget is. We qualify any potential client, and it will make it easier if you give us a range up front or explain how much you'd be willing to pay. If we don't know your budget we'd be asking about the "scope" of your project, which is just another way to uncover your budget. We explain to our clients in great detail how much bang you can get for your buck.
The Project Brief
You need to think about your company's needs very specifically, and the web developer needs to evaluate whether he can provide that service. Finding the right contractor for your job means walking around and sitting on the same side of the table as the contractor looking at the relationship, not the price.
The Project Brief can help both you and web developer focus their needs and the scope of the project. Use this general Project Brief as a starting point of your web project.