Top 10 Mistakes Made When Writing an RFP

Steve Fox
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Most Common Mistakes

One of the keys to being successful in life is by learning from mistakes. In my experience it’s always better to learn from the mistakes of others when possible to avoid the pain of having to learn it the hard way. I put together a small list of the most common mistakes I see working at an agency bidding on RFP’s. This list of common mistakes will help you create a successful RFP if you take note of it. By avoiding these mistakes, you can create an RFP that is clear, comprehensive, and effective in soliciting high-quality proposals from potential vendors.

The following is a list of the ten most common errors that are made by companies while preparing an RFP (request for proposal):

  1. Failure to adequately define the scope of the project and its requirements: It's possible to end up with irrelevant or uncompetitive offers if you don't take the time to fully describe the needs and scope of the project.

  2. Failure to provide transparent evaluation criteria: It might be challenging to assess different offers and difficult to make an informed selection in the absence of specific evaluation criteria.

  3. Due to the lack of provision of sufficient information regarding the organization: If you do not offer suppliers with appropriate information about your company, such as its size, location, and the industry it operates in, it may be difficult for them to modify their proposals to meet your requirements.

  4. Not setting a timeframe that is reasonable Setting a timeline that is not realistic may deter potential vendors from submitting proposals and may result in work that is rushed or of a lower quality.

  5. Inability to provide a precise budget range: If you do not specify a precise budget range, it can be difficult for suppliers to comprehend the financial limits you have and to modify their proposals in accordance with those constraints.

  6. Giving suppliers inadequate time to prepare proposals can result in hurried or insufficient responses. Not allowing enough time for vendors to develop bids can have the same effect.

  7. Failure to give a clear point of contact When there is no clear point of contact, it can be difficult for vendors to express questions or get needs clarified.

  8. Not creating clear criteria on the format of the proposal: different vendors may submit proposals using different formats, which makes it more difficult to compare the various bids.

  9. Failure to provide sufficient information about the procurement process If you fail to provide sufficient information about the procurement process, such as the timeline for decision-making or the criteria for selecting a vendor, it can be difficult for vendors to understand the process, which may discourage them from submitting proposals. For example, the timeline for decision-making may be the criteria for selecting a vendor.

  10. Refusing to negotiate: Refusing to negotiate can make it difficult to identify the solution that is the greatest match for your business, and it can also limit the scope of the proposals that are received.

You may develop a request for proposals (RFP) that is not only clear and complete, but also effective in its mission to solicit high-quality proposals from potential vendors if you steer clear of the pitfalls listed above. These are just the most common mistakes seen from the potential vendor side of the equation. If you need help writing an RFP for software development, manufacturing technology, medical technology, or internet of things projects please reach out to me.


  1. Most Common Mistakes


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This post was last updated on: Apr 12, 2023.