The first step in just about any web development project is a Request for Proposal, or RFP for short. If you’re looking to hire someone for custom application development, or to overhaul your WordPress site, you’ll need to write a web development RFP in order to get bids and choose a development partner.
But what is an RFP? What do you need to include in it – and how can you make sure you write a great RFP? In this article, we’ll examine all of these questions and more, so that you can get started and write your own web development RFP for your project.
What Is An RFP?
Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a request for proposal! An RFP is used to outline the major points of your project, and your overall requirements, including your time-frame, deliverables, and more.
Essentially, you want your RFP to be a top-level overview of your project. It should be easy to digest and understand, because you’re looking to send it to a number of design and development partners – who will bid on your project based on what’s included in the RFP.
After you send out an RFP, a potential development partner will respond with a proposal that will outline how much your project will cost, the expected timeline, the scope of work, and more – and you choose your development partner based on these proposals, as well as any interviews and Q&A sessions that you choose to set up.
What Should Be Included In A Web Development RFP?
To ensure that your potential development partners truly understand your project, and can bid accurately and in a timely fashion, there are a few things that ever RFP should include. We’ll lay them all out in this section.
- Summary – The summary should be a quick overview of your project and your organization from a high level, allowing potential partners to quickly understand the scope of your project. Here’s an example:
“AMC Corp is a private IT Managed Services Company. We are looking to develop a new billing system for our clients, to ensure automatic, timely payments, and make it easier for them to pay.”
- Company background – Write a brief overview of the history of your company, your industry, and what you do. Describe your typical audience or customer, and some of the basics about your company’s size and services.
- Core project objectives – Be clear and be concise, and describe the problems that you are facing, and how you want to solve them. Think about what your objectives are for your project – not just your deliverables.
- Scope of project and delivery requirements – At this point, you will want to take some time to think about the scope of your project. Are you just looking for a basic web redesign and SEO (search engine optimization) services? Do you need a custom web application? Specialized WordPress development? Are you redoing the backend of your website?
You should also define deliverables required – from wireframes and design mockups, to the full functionality of your website, and any content or other deliverables required for proper operation of the site.
- Sitemap – A sitemap is usually required for a web project, outlining the primary pages that will be present on the navigation bar, and your navigation and UX requirements.
If you’re not sure how your sitemap should look, that’s okay too. Your development partner can help you figure it out.
- Expected timeline and project milestones – If there is a set date by which your project must be completed, include it here. You should also include the dates by which important milestones, like initial wireframes and web prototypes, should be completed.
- Technical and functional requirements – This will be the most in-depth and detailed part of your RFP. Try to put in as much detail as you can about your website’s current functionality and architecture.
Then, once you’ve done that, outline the functional requirements for your new website. Do you need third-party integrations? Are you pulling any data from external sources? Will you need online payment systems? And so on.
This is important because it helps your potential development partners understand your current website, and what is going to be expected from your new website.
- Expected budget – You should include your expected budget for the project. This helps a potential development partner understand the proper solution based on your budget, and tailor their services accordingly.
- Criteria for partner selection – Include information about how you’ll select a partner for development, such as:
- Proposed price and timeframe
- Experience in your industry
- Past projects and portfolio
- Development capabilities
- In-house services such as SEO, content production, etc.
Think about what is the most important to you, and write your RFP accordingly. This will help your potential partners understand if they are qualified, and write their proposals accordingly.
This may seem intimidating, but writing an RFP is a pretty natural process. Do your best to keep the writing clear and concise. You don’t need to be overly verbose or technical.
Writing An RFP Isn’t Necessarily Hard – Just Take Your Time And Be Thorough
The more thorough and in-depth your RFP is, the more accurate your proposals from potential development partners will be. That’s the true power of an RFP. If you’re not exactly sure what your RFP should go over, maybe think about first starting with a discovery phase.
And don’t worry. Your RFP doesn’t have to be overly-technical or boring. Keep it brief, keep it fun, and make sure that you cover all of the basic areas listed above, and you’re already going to write a better RFP than 99% of web development clients. This will help you find a highly-qualified partner for your next project.