Handex Insights

4 Steps to Responding to a Request For Proposal (RFP)

Written by John Baeringer | April 14, 2016


Responding to an RFP may seem overwhelming when dealing with potential clients who don’t know exactly what they need, or even what their problems are. Part of your job in responding to RFPs is to not only sell yourself, but to also explain why only you can provide the right solution.  

RFP responses have a broad range in requirements, size and complexity. Depending on the client’s requirements, your response can range from one copy of a simple ten page letter format to ten copies of several hundred pages prepared in multiple bound volumes divided into many separate sections. Here are a few simple suggestions to keep in mind to simplify this potentially stressful process.

1. Review the Package

All RFPs are different, no matter how many you respond to. A complete review of the proposal request must be the first stage or there will be no hope for a successful outcome. The RFP should contain all of the vital elements you require to provide a response; i.e. schedule, scope of work, selection criteria, response criteria, points of contact, etc.

2. Plan a Workable Schedule

If you can’t deliver it on time, all of your efforts will be wasted. Once the package is reviewed, create a schedule. Start from the due date and work backwards setting reasonable and practical expectations. When possible, build in a buffer for critical items to help ensure timely completion.  Do not miss your clients’ established deadlines.

3. Communicate

RFPs are not created or responded to in a vacuum. Keep the lines of communication open at all times. It is essential to properly ask questions of the client issuing the RFP. For example, in the public sector, the “Cone of Silence” must be respected and a specific method identified for asking questions, as well as how the answers will be provided. Communication is also essential to coordinate the technical and administrative elements of your RFP.

4. Formulate Backup Plans

The only thing you can count on is that no matter how well organized you might be, something will not go as planned. For each critical step, have at least one backup plan. For example, have several delivery options available so that you don’t miss that last critical deadline.

Working With Handex

Handex Consulting & Remediation, LLC is a full turnkey environmental solutions provider where our clients’ needs and expectations mirror Handex’s expectations. From the science behind the approach to the business economics, Handex will solve your problems and provide the return on your investment. We enter contracts and engagements as a partner and explore alternate funding options. The Handex team will expedite a solution within budget and on time.


Author Avatar
Written by John Baeringer
John Baeringer, P.G., is a Senior Relationship Manager for Handex. He is responsible for developing and maintaining Handex’s client base while consistently reaching business and revenue objectives. John came to Handex in 2000 and has over 30 years of experience.

Topics: Request for Proposal (RFP)