Easy Tips for Writing a Great Vendor Proposal

A request for proposals on top of a computer keyboard and how to compose a winning proposal

An RFP is a way to help the client understand the value of your partnership

Small to medium-sized businesses offering residential services such as landscaping, maintenance, or electrical services will likely be familiar with the proposal process. Property managers and HOAs will send out a request for proposal (RFP), and this is your chance to show them how your business can serve them.

The purpose of an RFP is for clients to examine a potential vendor’s services and offerings. The proposal you submit is an opportunity for you to share your company’s unique benefits and show potential clients how you can meet their needs or solve their particular problem. Here are some simple tips for writing a great vendor proposal. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Prepare for an RFP by using the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timing) method.
  • Examine a client’s RFP; it should include a background, purpose, goal, and evaluation criteria.
  • Once you understand the client’s needs, craft a proposal showing information about your company, your value, project timeline, and more. 
  • Use VendorSmart to engage with potential new clients. 

Preparing for the RFP process: ask questions

Once you’ve received an RFP from a potential client, there are a few things you should consider before you dive into creating your response. 

You should first take stock of whether your services would be a good fit for the potential client. You can do this by asking a series of questions using the acronym BANT to help you remember what to ask.

  • Budget: What is the client willing to pay for services rendered?
  • Authority: Will the recipient of the proposal have a say in the final vendor decision?
  • Need: What problem is the client trying to solve? What are the client’s goals?
  • Timing: How long does the client expect to take to choose a vendor?

Ask the potential client for clarification if there is anything in the RFP that’s unclear. The more you understand what the client is looking for, the better chance you have at convincing them your services are the best option.

Elements of the RFP

Forbes reports that a successful RFP hinges on clarity. It is important to carefully examine the RFP to be sure you understand the company, the project, and the services that would be required.

A successful RFP should include the following elements:

1. Background

The RFP should provide background on the potential client and their HOA association or property. 

2. Purpose

The RFP should clearly describe the project or problem and the reasons for undertaking the project or addressing the problem at this time. 

3. Goals

Potential clients should also outline their goals and what they hope to achieve through the use of a vendor’s services. 

4. Evaluation Criteria

Clients should explain how they will evaluate the responses they receive and what criteria they will use to select the winning vendor. 

Each of these elements will help you, the vendor, better understand the project or problem at hand, as well as how the RFP process will unfold. 

Writing the proposal: what to include 

Now that you understand the client’s needs expressed through the RFP, it is time to begin writing your proposal. It is important to be as specific as possible in your response. For example, instead of a general timeline, try to include specific completion dates. Specificity is not only helpful for the person reading the proposal, but also for you and your organization to think through how services will be rendered and according to what timeline and budget. Be realistic about what you can deliver and when.

The client may request a response in a specific format, but ultimately your response should include the following data points:

  • General information about your company
  • Why your company is a better choice than your competitors
  • An outline of deliverables or services rendered
  • Timeline for deliverables and/or completion of service
  • An explanation of the pricing structure 
  • References

It might seem as though an HOA or property manager should understand your business as a landscaper, electrician, or other residential contractor, but this is usually not the case. Take the time to explain what services you can provide and how they help the HOA or property reach its goals.

Final Tips

You’ve written a winning proposal for your potential client. Now be sure to include an agreement or contract with your response so that the property manager or HOA representative can sign it should they chose to work with your company.

After you’ve submitted your RFP response, schedule a follow-up phone call to go through your response with the potential client. This will give you an opportunity to address any questions or concerns. 

These tips will help you write proposals that generate business. Writing an RFP response takes time, so make sure you yield a return on your investment. If you can demonstrate an understanding of the property or HOA, the potential client will likely have more confidence in your ability to assist them with their project. 

VendorSmart for Vendors

Engaging with potential new clients is the first step to getting RFPs and subsequent business. VendorSmart’s innovative platform connects vendors with property and HOA managers in their area. Through a blend of technology and real estate expertise, VendorSmart has helped vendors across the country grow their business. Contact us today to discuss your business needs.