Have you been asked to write an RFP? If
so, here’s an easy template to use for
almost any kind of requirement
A presentation of
Square Peg Consulting
John C. Goodpasture,
About an RFP
Have you been asked to write an RFP? If so, here’s an easy template to use for almost any kind of
Source (the audience): Sources—the people or organizations that will be receiving and responding to
the RFP—per se, are not part of the RFP, but sources are its audience. And the RFP is written for a spe-
cific audience, so sources certainly influence the RFP
Source identification, or better yet, source identification and source validation (vetting), is both a science
and an art. The science part is objective search for sources and then validation, each of which that be-
gins with an objective list of source attributes that can be used to categorize identified sources; the art
part is judgment, admittedly not objective.
Of course, there's sole source (the only one in the world who can do it) or selected source (the only one
in the world you want as your contractor), but more often an RFP regulates competition among multiple
Award criteria: How are you going to decide who wins?
Lowest cost, technically acceptable (pass/fail) is the easiest and most objective. Just open
the envelop of all those with passing technical grades and take the lowest cost -- no questions,
Best value is not easiest and not objective but it might get you the most optimum solution. Ra-
ther than pass/fail, you get to consider various innovations and quality factors, various manage-
ment possibilities, what the risk is to you, schedule, and of course cost.
Best value may not be lowest cost. That's always controversial, since cost is the one value prop-
osition everyone understands. No one wants to spend more than the value is worth.
The flexibility of best value (or, glass half empty: lack of objectivity) comes with its own risk: the
award, if in the public sector, is subject to protest about how the best value was determined.
Risk transfer: what technical, functional, and business risks are you going transfer to the contractor via
the RFP, and are you prepared to pay for that transfer? In effect, recognize that you're buying insurance
from the contractor. All other risks are yours to keep:
You can be self-insured, or
You can pass them off to an insurance company.
Here are some risk methods you can put in the RFP:
Contract incentives, penalties, cost sharing, and other contract cost-schedule-scope controls:
all are forms of risk management practices.
Liquidated damages: you get paid for your business losses if the contractor screws up
Indemnity: your contractor isolates you from liabilities if something goes wrong
Arbitration: you agree to forgo some of your legal rights for a simpler resolution of disputes
Statement of work (SoW): This is the part most PMs know something about, so a lot of words aren't
It may be the first thing an interested contractor reads.
The SoW answers this question: what is it you want the contractor to do? A top-level narrative, story,
WBS, or vision is usually included.
The SoW is where you can say how agile can the contractor can be interpreting the vision. Think about
how anchored to your story are you?
Typically, unless you are pretty confident you are right, you don't tell the contractor how to do the job, but
only what job needs to be done.
Specifications: How's and what's: Specs are where you can speak to measures of "how" insofar as you
tell the contractor how something is to be measured; or you can speak to measures of what insofar as
you tell the contractor what the metrics are and what the metric limits are
Requirements: And last but not least, the infamous Requirements backlog or matrix. Requirements
are usually made a part of the SoW as detailed "what's" or they can be a specification onto themselves.
Requirements are where problems surface on almost every project:
Are they objective, that is: having a metric for DONE
Are they unambiguous? ... Almost never is the answer here. Some interpretation required.
Are they complete? ... Almost never is the answer here also.
But, can you admit the requirements are incomplete?
In some culture and context, there can be no such admission.
Or, you may be arrogant about your ability to obtain completeness. My take: arrogant people
take risks and make mistakes...the more arrogance, the larger the risks... etc
But, where you can say: Not complete, then presumably the contractor can fill out the backlog
with new or modified requirements as information is developed
Are they valid?
Can you accept that some requirements will be abandoned before the project ends because
they've been shown to be invalid, inappropriate, or OBE (overtaken by events)?
Are they timely?
Can you buy into the idea that some requirements are best left to later? ... You really don't have
enough information at the beginning. There will be decision junctions, with probabilistic branch-
ing, the control of which you simply can't
Request for Proposal
REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP)
This RFP is issued by <…> for the competitive selection of < … > for a project at < …> .
This RFP is divided by content as follows:
● SECTION A: Description of opportunity
● SECTION B: Terms and conditions
● SECTION C: Administration
● SECTION D: Proposal instructions
● SECTION E: Draft Contract
● SECTION F: Statement of Work (SoW)
● Appendix: Specifications
DESCRIPTION OF OPPORTUNITY
INTRODUCTION TO THE OPPORTUNITY: < summary narrative, background, context, whatever is
necessary to get the reader on the same page with you >
SCOPE: <project boundaries; what’s in and by elimination, everything else is out >
PROJECT SCHEDULE <milestones with justifiable business imperatives >
< Ordinarily, you never mention your budget in the RFP. The budget is for only you to know.>
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
< All legal wording in this template may be jurisdictionally dependent for applicability and required
DATE OF THIS RFP
This RFP is dated XXXX
The offeror shall submit a draft of the final contract as part of the offeror’s proposal. < You may do this
differently and offer the final contract to the competitors with the RFP >
All terms and conditions in the final contract shall be in writing and physically made a part of the contract
document; online or referenced documents not physically made a part of the contract will not be
accepted. < This statement may or may not be legal in all jurisdictions >
Workmanship warranty: < You state your requirement >
Product warranty: < You state your requirement >
Progress payments (if applicable): < You state your terms >
FINAL PAYMENT WITHOLDING
XXX will withhold an amount for FINAL PAYMENT which is not less than 10% of the value of this
contract. Final Payment will be paid only after all conditions of the contract have been fulfilled to the sole
satisfaction of XXX
Lien releases from each subcontractor shall be submitted with each invoice. Subcontractors will be paid
by the offeror (contractor) in a timely fashion such that subcontractors are not compelled to exercise their
right to file a lien against XXX property.
Upon final payment to the offeror (contractor) by XXX, the offeror (contractor) shall provide a lien release
to XXX for all work provided by the offeror (contractor)
< Lien release conditions vary by jurisdiction >
The (offeror) contractor hereby agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless XXX and XXX’s share-
holders, directors, officers, agents and employees from and against any claim, loss, liability, damage,
charge or expense (including attorney's fees and costs), whether direct or indirect, and whether to per-
sons or to property, to which XXX or any of said parties may be put or subjected to by reason of any act,
action, neglect, omission or default on the part of Contractor, any of its subcontractors, or any of Contrac-
tor's or its subcontractor's officers, agents, servants, or employees.
The (offeror) contractor shall not, however, be responsible with respect to any damage, loss, liability, in-
jury of any kind, claim, charge or expense (including attorney's fees) which are attributable to the gross
negligence or intentional acts of XXX or its officers, agents, employees, subcontractors, licensees or in-
vitees. Contractor also agrees that it shall not be a defense to any claim for indemnification that XXX is
partially responsible for the loss or claimed damages.
Time is of the essence, and if Contractor fails to substantially complete the work defined in the Statement
of Work within the time allowed by this Contract Contractor shall pay to XXX as fixed, liquidated damages
the sum of __(to be negotiated)_______________________ Dollars
Resolution of disputes will be by binding arbitration according to the applicable rules of < STATE or
Province or Territory > Civil Procedure, but the exact provisions shall be negotiated at the time of
SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS
The (offeror) contractor and its subcontractors shall take all safety precautions and furnish and install all
guards necessary for the prevention of accidents, and shall comply with all laws and regulations.
CONTRACTOR’S LIABILITY INSURANCE
A. The Contractor shall purchase from and maintain in a company or companies lawfully authorized
to do business in the jurisdiction in which the Project is located such insurance as will protect the Con-
tractor from claims which may arise out of or result from the Contractor’s operations and completed oper-
ations under the Contract and for which the Contractor may be legally liable, whether such operations be
by the Contractor or by a subcontractor or by anyone directly or indirectly employed by any of them, or by
anyone for whose acts any of them may be liable:
B. Contractor will keep in force the insurance coverages required under Subparagraphs A. for a pe-
riod of one year after the Contractor’s completed operations or cessation of Contractor’s services.
C. Certificates of insurance acceptable to XXXX shall be filed with XXXX prior to commencement of
the Work and thereafter upon renewal or replacement of each required policy of insurance. These certifi-
cates and the insurance policies required by this Section shall contain a provision that coverages af-
forded under the policies will not be canceled or allowed to expire until at least 30 days’ prior written no-
tice has been given to XXXX. An additional certificate evidencing continuation of liability coverage, in-
cluding coverage for completed operations, shall be submitted with the final Application for Payment and
thereafter upon renewal or replacement of such coverage until the expiration of the time required by Sec-
tion B. Information concerning reduction of coverage on account of revised limits or claims paid under the
General Aggregate, or both, shall be furnished by the Contractor with reasonable promptness.
D. The Contractor shall cause the commercial liability coverage required by the Contract to include
(1) XXXX as additional insured for claims caused in whole or in part by the Contractor’s negligent acts or
omissions during the Contractor’s operations; and (2) XXXX as an additional insured for claims caused in
whole or in part by the Contractor’s negligent acts or omissions during the Contractor’s completed opera-
SUBCONTRACTOR and AGENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS
The contractor and the contractor’s subcontractors and agents shall be considered as one for purposes
of the terms and conditions of this contract.
If the offeror (contractor) subcontracts any of the work, the provisions of these terms and conditions shall
be enforced by the contractor on the subcontractor.
WAIVER TO BE PRESENT ON THE PROPERTY
< Provision applies only if contractor is to enter your property or a third party’s property as your agent >
XXXX requires that a waiver be signed by every contractor, subcontractor, or agent absolving XXXX of
liability for contractor’s, subcontractors’, or agent’s injury before contractor, subcontractor, or agent and
enter onto the property.
CHANGE OF SCOPE OR SCHEDULE
During the course of the contract, if there arises a need to change the scope or schedule of the contract,
a written change order will be submitted and negotiated as amendment to the contract before work
Overtime: an allowance for overtime can be included in the proposal. However, overtime can only be
scheduled outside the hours and days given herein with the advance permission of XXXX
LICENSES, PERMITS, INSPECTION
The offeror (contractor) is responsible for all licenses, permits, and inspections required of this Project.
QUALITY ASSURANCE (QA)
The offeror (contractor) shall implement a program of quality assurance that is in accord with the
customary and reasonable standards of the industry.
All persons employed by the Contractor or their subcontractors who will do work at the XXXX facility shall
meet the requirements of the U.S. Government employment eligibility verification, Form I-9 and E-Verify,
from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
PARKING, STORAGE, AND STAGING: < You state your requirement >
RESTROOMS: < You state your requirement, but if this is a construction site, then the restroom
requirements are likely covered by permitting regulations>
DUE DATE, TIME, AND LOCATION
The proposal is due XXX, not later than XXX at the offices of XXX
SCHEDULE BY WHICH TO PRICE. < Over what period of performance is the pricing to be valid? >
WHAT IS TO BE PROVIDED
The offeror shall provide a proposal and a draft contract < see above about who provides the contract >.
The draft contract is described in Section E.
The proposal shall be presented in two parts: Part I Technical Proposal; Part II Price Proposal
Part I Technical Proposal
The offeror shall provide a written proposal that is responsive to the Statement of Work (SoW),
Section D, of this RFP, and the specifications given in the RFP Appendices.
The proposal shall clearly explain how the contractor will fulfill the requirements of the SoW,
identify likely subcontractors and/or agents, and generally describe the sequence of work
The proposal should be submitted in two formats: (1) in hard copy as single sided text, 10pt or
12pt Arial font, 8 ½ x 11 inch white paper; and (2) as an electronic file in pdf format, either on a
CD or by email.
Exclusive of any accompanying engineering calculations, figures, illustrations, photographs, or
commercially produced material about the product or the offeror, the technical proposal is
limited to XXX text pages
All such non-text material should be placed at the end of the proposal and properly referenced
within the text. These non-text materials are not limited to or constrained by the page size for
Part II Price Proposal
The price proposal shall be comprised of the following priced constituents:
The price proposal has no page limitation.
XXX copies of the proposal and the draft contract shall be submitted to XXX. Each copy of the proposal
and draft contract shall be submitted in its own 3-ring binder (preferred) or as a package of pages clipped
together (but not stapled or otherwise bound)
The offeror may, at their own discretion, offer both a baseline proposal that meets all of the requirements
of this RFP and one alternative that the offeror deems in the best interests of XXX. Alternatives may
include, but are not exclusively limited to:
XXX is under no obligation to evaluate or respond to an alternative, but if offered
Telephone: < You state your information >
Email: < You state your information >
Mailing address: < You state your information >
< This section is not needed if contractor is not to provide a contract draft >
The offeror shall provide a draft contract for subsequent negotiation and finalization.
DUE DATE, TIME, AND LOCATION
< You state your information >
References to online materials or provisions, or referenced materials or provisions, are not acceptable.
The draft contract shall be complete in all respects.
The draft contract shall be responsive to Sections B, C, and F of this RFP, incorporating those sections
which are to be contractually binding in the offeror’s contractual format.
There is no page limitation or format specification for the draft contract. However, both a hard copy and
an electronic file copy in pdf format, either on a CD or submitted by email, are required.
STATEMENT OF WORK
The offeror (contractor) shall be responsible for the scope of work set forth in this section:
< You state your information >
QUALITY CONTROL. < You state your requirements >
SAFE WORKING CONDITIONS
Safety of workers shall be paramount. All applicable law and regulation shall be enforced.
Appendix 1, Specification
< You state your information >