How to Write a RFP

Includes Free RFP Template

How to write a good RFP: Request for ProposalRequest for Proposal Dos & Donts

RFPs! What are they? Proposals are inquiries / documents sent by businesses or brands seeking to determine the price of a particular service for a specific project. For example, if you were looking to rebrand, you could request a bid from potential vendors.

Okay. So what’s the issue?

Here at BrandSwan, we have a huge love/ hate relationship with RFPs. It’s a lot of work crafting a well-detailed and effective RFP, and often we get very limited information to work with. So, if you want a great response for your bid, here are our best practices…

RFP Practices that We Love 

Know Your Budget and Set Expectations

Make sure you know what you’re willing to pay. I’ve done many proposals that gave an organization sticker shock. If your branding, marketing, or web design RFP is 10 pages long but your budget is under $5,000, consider adjusting your expectations. You might have way more deliverables than you can afford at that moment. Break it down into manageable mini-projects (phases), then tackle them one at a time. 

A great starting point for budget numbers is annual reports from industry review companies like Clutch, DesignRush, and WebFX. These give you a benchmark of how much a project of your size will cost.  

Pre-screen Your Vendors

Filter your list of potential agencies to a maximum of 15 firms. It has to be said — not every agency is for you! 

Evaluate our case studies and creative process to see if that’s the kind of output you’re looking for. Things like: What design features stand out to you? Which style is similar to your brand aesthetic and voice? And what aspects didn’t you like so much? This process is super handy in clarifying your vision for your deliverables, and you’ll find it way easier to express what you’re after.


Provide Thorough Briefs

It’s quite common to end up with a solution that only addresses part of your problem. Remember, your results will only be as good as what you share with us! It takes time to write a solid brief. So, don’t leave it to the last minute and risk failing to include crucial details. Think through your core problems, goals, and expectations, and write them down. Download our Free RFP Template that covers:

  • Name of Campaign
  • Overview/Scope 
  • Goals
  • Budget
  • Target Audiences
  • Messaging
  • Specifications
  • Timeline
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Other Factors like previous projects and market insights.

Give Opportunity for Questions

After you’ve sent out your RFP, we’d love the opportunity to clear up some things before submitting a proposal. Doing this allows us to tackle any potential misunderstandings or overlooked aspects in the brief. In the end, we aim to ensure that our bid ticks all your boxes, fitting into your expectations perfectly.

Set A Reasonable Deadline for Submission

3-5 weeks gives us as agencies enough time to research and deliberate over your requirements and then compose a winning solution.

Be Openminded

Sometimes, we misjudge things and misidentify our problems because we’re just too close to our work. 

For instance, you might be thinking you need a complete brand overhaul. But hold up! Maybe, what you honestly need is a minor update so you stay relevant without pushing your customers away. Trust the feedback. Listen to proposals that can steer the project in a different; yet better and more effective direction. It’s all about refining and improving for the best outcomes.

Let’s give you a high-touch service that’s crafted with you in mind. Schedule a free consultation with me to get started on your winning brand.

Download our RFP Template

Jane Clark, Co-Founder & Brand Strategist of BrandSwan

Jane Clark, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of BrandSwan

Book a discovery call to chat with me about your branding, marketing, or web design goals.

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