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How to Write an RFP for Optimal Results

Commercial real estate property managers are no doubt familiar with writing an RFP (request for proposal). It is their job not only to recognize a property’s maintenance and construction needs but also solve those issues as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. And while the RFP can be as short or long as the writer chooses to make it, the way that it is written can make a big difference in the solution that is offered.

Start by organizing your field notes. Review them carefully and highlight the items you believe deserve the highest priority.

Turn those organized notes into a more formal written proposal. Be as descriptive as possible but also concise. The recipient of the RFP wants to know:

  • What your company does
  • What the project entails
  • Requirements for project completion
  • Any technical information needed
  • The length of the project
  • Whom should be contacted for questions
  • When the contract will be awarded

The biggest challenge in writing an effective RFP is in knowing exactly what you want before the job has actually begun. A well-written RFP requires a company to consider all of a job’s “what ifs,” with a strong vision of both the outcome and adherence to the budget.

The Response 

Expect a timely turnaround on your proposal, and be wary of companies that drag their feet when responding. You should welcome questions, as they help to clarify the scope of the work before any significant financial commitment is made, but a company should emphasize problem solving, not problem creation. The way that a company responds to an RFP says a lot about that company and how they will do business with you in the future.