So, you are looking for a great company to help you with your mobile application.

One way to do that is writing an RFP, Request For Proposal, for a mobile application.

Let’s talk about what an RFP is first.

An RFP is a document you create to “Request for a proposal” from other businesses, offering a service you want to buy.

Let’s for example say, You are looking to build a mobile application. You would create a document asking other mobile application development companies if they would be interested in solving your problem.

Now, notice that I said ‘companies’, plural. That means you will get more than one response (if you did a good job writing your RFP).

To make the choice easy for you, companies will bid on your project.

So, in a single sentence, an RFP is: “A document that acts as an invite to suppliers (companies) to submit their proposals for a given particular service or product, generally through a process of bidding.”

The question arises, why do you need to do an amazing job writing an RFP?

When you are sending out your RFP to vendors, it’s not just you picking the best company to work with, you are also communicating who you are and why should they choose you among other RFPs they receive.

Your RFP needs to clearly communicate your project goals, criteria for vendor selection, desired functionality, deadlines, selection process and contact info.

Because the RFP process helps to identify the “goods” and “bads” upfront, for both you and the vendors, and tightens the procurement decision’s structure as well.

The quality of your RFP has a significant bearing on the quality of proposals (and the companies behind them) you’ll receive. Many companies do not like responding to RFPs and will simply pan a project because of a poorly written RFP.

That’s bad for you because you could be missing out on great talent.

That said, Let’s now look at what makes a great RFP.


How to Write an Amazing RFP?

There is no standard format for an RFP document. Every company might have it’s own preference but for every kind of document you create, incorporate these basic points in your RFP and things will run smoothly for you.

1: Project Purpose/ Executive Summary

It can have various titles. Go with what suits your needs best. This section should start with providing a short summary of your company, the business problem, the solution you desire to achieve and the proposed project description.

Things to remember:

Write the summary clear enough to enable the vendors to draw up a base line solution to the problem.

2: Company Overview

Write up a brief but clear overview of your company. This is where you introduce yourself, so be sure to mention what makes you the better choice not by plain words, but by showing how your company works, your core values and your company goals.

You can use these points for motivation:

  • What problem does your company solve (or is trying to solve)
  • The products or services you provide
  • Your targeted Industry and market
  • Lastly but most importantly, the Leadership behind your company

3: Targeted Audience

Companies who do not clearly identify their target audience are red flags for vendors. Be sure to give this one extensive amount of thought.

From here on starts the second part of your RFP, where you talk about what exactly is it that you are looking for.

4: Functionality Requirements

Here you give a detailed description of the desired solution you need developed, with emphasis on the required core functionalities.

Clearly explain:

The kind of features required.

The necessary functions the app must perform.

Is there any existing solution or app the vendors can relate with to better understand your requirement of features?

If you have preference for devices or operating systems, mention that here.

Mention any functionality that is not core to the app but rather as an optional feature as well.

The more clearly you write this section, the more helpful it will be for suppliers to sketch up a price, and that will make it easier for you to identify which items cost what.

5: Use Cases

Use cases will be the second important in telling your vendors what you want with your app.

Give a good and concise example of a use case to help the vendors understand how your users will interact with the app.

6: Budget Details

Your budget range will dictate the kind of responses you get. If you pose a too open of a budget you will be successful in gathering up a lot of responses BUT then you will have trouble choosing from them. Too open of a budget will get you very varied responses. You need to have a loosely calculated, but precise to some extent, budget that would best cover up the entire project costs.

The budget you decide should be based on two factors:

  • How complex your problem solution is
  • The quality/experience you are looking for in the solution providing companies

A pointer: Providing a budget range will better serve you than a rounded up number. You can elicit great offers by mentioning that solutions offered near the lower/higher range will have better chances of selection.

7: Proposal Requirements

This is where you tell your corresponding vendors what you require of them. Every company you reach will have their own process and procedures. If you mention your desired proposal responses in a focused and articulate manner, not only will it help companies adhere to your requirements easily but you will be able to get standardized responses and make cross comparisons with other proposals more efficiently.

8: RFP and Project Timeline details

Most of us make the mistake of just mentioning the project timeline. Yea, mentioning the launch date and everything related is important but you need to mention the RFP deadline as well. That way, your vendors will know when they will be hearing from you. For every milestone you decide on, make sure you choose realistic dates.

Final Thoughts:

Remember: if you find yourself struggling with a long-winded RFP, chances are that other companies will hate reading it. It takes up a lot of time and effort to review and respond to an RFP, especially if it is not well constructed.

If you want quality responses then you need to come up with a quality document. Follow through on these tips and you will do just fine. At CitrusBits, we take time to provide feedback on every RFP we receive, even when we decide not to bid on a project.