How to write a request for proposal with a template and a sample

Whether you work for a small agency or a large marketing firm, you will likely need to fill out a request for proposal or request for proposals.

Your business can’t do everything in-house, and when your business needs to purchase a product or service elsewhere, you may need to shop around. A call for tenders allows you to collect offers from different suppliers and select the supplier that best meets your criteria, both in terms of skills and budget.

Anytime you outsource work to a vendor, there is the potential for issues like poor communication around the scope of work and compensation. A good RFP removes the gray area so both parties understand what needs to be delivered, when, and for how much.

RFP model

Here we have provided an RFP template that you can follow for the initial structure, as well as a sample RFP for further inspiration. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution – you’ll need to tailor your RFP to better articulate your business needs.

Free Editable Rfp RFP PDF Template

Download a free and editable tender template.

Tenders come in all shapes, sizes, and visual formats depending on your business needs and the job at hand. At the top of a standard RFP you will find the following:

Project name or description

Company Name



: State

: Postal code

Resource person for procurement

PCP Phone Number

PCP Email Address

  1. Fax number
  2. The body of the RFP will contain additional details about the project, including:
  3. Background / Introduction
  4. Project objectives and scope of services
  5. Planned selection schedule
  6. Time and place of submission of proposals
  7. Chronology
  8. Proposal elements
  9. Evaluation criteria

Possible roadblocks


Read on to find out more about what goes into each of these sections so you can create your own RFP.

1. Background / Introduction

In your introductory paragraph, you’ll want to include useful background information about your business – who founded it, what product or service your business offers, what sets you apart from your competition, and where you are located. If a vendor is serious about working with you, they will want this information before moving forward.

2. Project objectives and scope of services

Next, you’ll want to describe the project you need and the goals you hope to accomplish from the project. It is important that you are as specific as possible – even when describing the individual tasks and the criteria involved. You will want to include phrases such as “The award will be given to company X”, with the “X” indicating how you will determine the best candidate.

3. Planned selection schedule

It is essential to include a detailed timeline so that suppliers know if they can meet your deadlines. You will also need to give suppliers a window on when they can ask questions about your project. This will limit the hassle, for you and for them.

4. Time and place of submission of proposals

Similar to paragraph 3, this is important information that you will want to present clearly, so suppliers know how and where to submit for review.

5. Chronology

By including a deadline in your RFP, you are able to eliminate any vendor who cannot work within your deadline. If you are flexible on your time, you can write something like: “Our company hopes to complete the project within six months, but we are open to negotiating for the right candidate.”

6. Proposal elements

If you don’t clearly and precisely describe what you expect bidders to include in their proposal, you can’t necessarily blame them if they don’t include it. It is essential that you outline a checklist so that suppliers know what items you expect to receive. It’s also a good test of who is capable of handling your requests – if a vendor can’t complete all of the elements of your proposal, you probably can’t trust them to complete your project either.

7. Evaluation criteria

Outlining your expectations will help weed out vendors who don’t meet them. For this section, you’ll want to brainstorm with your team to come up with a mandatory list of items that you think are the best indicators of awesome candidates. Your list may include samples of past work, proven success with companies in similar industries, the expertise and technical skills to meet your demands, and a cost of services within your price range.

8. Possible roadblocks

Here, you will want to describe any obstacles, such as limited resources or a personalized website, that might prevent some vendors from completing the project. This allows you to weed out unsatisfactory bidders, and it will also help you determine which vendors have the skills and expertise to meet these challenges.

9. Budget

Any vendor should know how much you are able to pay them for their services before proceeding with their offer.

Sample Request for ProposalsThe above elements can manifest on the page in several ways. For example, here is an example of TemplateLab tender.

rfp example template with tables and red headers

Image source

Now that you understand the elements of a RFP, you can create your own template and then fill it out so that you can start accepting offers. We’ll use a fictitious company, Caroline’s Websites, Inc., to illustrate exactly how each section should be performed, starting with the header:

Project name or description: Marketing services

Company name: Caroline’s Websites, Inc.

Address: 302 Inbound Ave.

City, State, Postal Code: Boston, MA 29814

Supply contact: Caroline Forsey

PCP Phone Number: 227-124-2481

PCP email address: [email protected]

Fax number: N / A

Next, we’ll cover each of the elements of the RFP with information using the same fictitious company.

1. Background / Introduction

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is a web design company founded by Caroline Forsey in 2010. Caroline’s Websites, Inc. prides itself on a team-driven, solution-based approach to web design. We provide our clients with web design services including coding, development and branding. Our staff is located in two offices in Massachusetts.

2. Project objectives and scope of services

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. is seeking the services of a full-service communications and marketing firm to develop and execute a comprehensive integrated marketing plan that increases our SEO presence; attracts more followers on social networks; and effectively complements a lead generation campaign. The prize will be awarded to a responsive and responsible company based on the best value and the best professional ability.

The selected company will be responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive and profitable marketing plan.

Tasks include, but are not limited to, the following criteria:

• Lead generation campaign

• Paid media strategy

• Production of creative material, including collateral and direct mail

• Online marketing campaign

• Website improvement

• Search engine optimization

• General account management

• Other communications and / or marketing assistance as required

3. Planned selection schedule

The schedule for the RFP is as follows:

[Company Name] RFP request: June 1, 2020

Deadline for bidders to submit questions: July 5, 2020

Responds to bidders’ questions: July 20, 2020

Selection of the best bidders / Notice to unsuccessful bidders: July 31, 2020

Start of negotiations: August 5, 2020

Contract award / notification to unsuccessful bidders: August 31, 2020

4. Time and place of submission of proposals

The Request for Proposals will be posted on our website,, and will be available for direct download starting at 10:00 a.m. on June 1, 2020.

Respondents to this RFP must submit one original and five copies of their proposal. Responses should be received by July 25, 2020. Responses should be clearly marked “RFP-MarketingServices” and mailed or delivered to the contact person identified above.

5. Chronology

Caroline’s Websites, Inc. needs the project to be completed within 8 months.

6. Proposal elements

A submission must, at a minimum, include the following:

• Description of the company which includes a general overview, names and references of the creation team, number of full-time employees.

• A one-page story describing the company’s strengths and distinctive skills or capabilities with respect to Caroline, Inc. websites.

• A representative selection of social media ads, direct response material, media and website development created for current and past clients.

7. Evaluation criteria

The selected respondent:

• Have functioned continuously as a Marketing Agency for at least 24 months and possess comprehensive in-house capabilities in Marketing, Creative Services, Production, Media Planning and Placement, Direct Response and Research.

• The training, experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications of the company and of the people who will be available to provide these services.

• The competitive cost of services.

• The company’s expertise in working with similar clients.

8. Possible roadblocks

Currently, Caroline’s Websites, Inc. currently has custom coding on our website which bidders should be aware of.

9. Budget Caroline’s Websites, Inc.’s budget for the project is $ 8,750.00. These materials have been written to clarify the scope of the project Caroline’s Websites, Inc. wants to accomplish so that vendors know whether to bid or not. The definition of the project allows the bidder to determine whether it is suitable and how much it is likely to charge. Being as transparent as possible serves to benefit (and even protect)


long-term parties.

To use some of these elements in your own RFQ, start with a RFQ template and adjust it to your liking.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June 2018 and has been updated for completeness. rfp model

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