How to Write a Flooring Installation RFP
Understand the who, what, when, where and why of developing an excellent RFP so you can be sure to hire the right team for the job.
Writing a Request for Proposal (RFP) can be tricky, if not done effectively the outcome will not provide you with the intended result. The goal for an RFP is to find a partner that can provide you the level of service that you need at the value you are willing to pay.
There are many considerations: who needs to be involved, how detailed should it be, how long will this whole process take, and what information should be included to ensure that you accurately comparing proposals between companies? Whether you are filling out an RFP for the first time or you’re an experienced veteran, a flooring RFP can still be daunting. This blog was written to answer the who, what, when, where, and why of developing an excellent RFP so you can be sure to hire the right team for the job.
From beginning to end, it is important to make sure the right people are involved with making large decisions like flooring.
Invite too many people into a decision and the options can get complicated, but invite too few people to the table and details can get missed. Executives redesigning their buildings all the way to location managers will be affected in one way or another. It is important to make sure that all the key stakeholders are involved to ensure the most beneficial decision is made.
It is easy to stay with a company that you have been doing business with, relationships and trust are built, and jobs are completed without a very detailed review. As a company, Inside Edge Commercial Interior Services believes in always getting better. That’s why it is so important to always send out RFPs to multiple companies and constantly review the quality of the tasks being finished.
So now that the team is assembled, and several potential companies are selected, what needs to go into an RFP? Simply put: detail.
As companies go to bid jobs they need as much information as possible, and any information that is not included makes things complicated. Exact square footage requirements, remodel or new construction installation, even little things like if a dumpster will be provided or the number of mobilizations, all can make a huge difference in the price and accuracy of a bid. A great way to get accurate and consistent bids from several potential vendors is by creating a prototype project. This will allow for very accurate pricing and for a reduction in discrepancies.
It is important to note, however, that there can still be large differences even when using a prototype project style of bidding. It is critical to understand where they come from. For example: The cost for labor is lower or higher depending on the location of the project. If this is not properly factored in, then two bids can be very different.
A major question that should be asked of any potential contractor is to see examples of previous and related work. This includes case studies, pictures and references. All of these resources will allow you to see if the company can really stamp their name on a quality job.
When assembling multiple people and a large amount of information, it is helpful to begin the planning process early. It is often observed that the internal lead time for development and decision-making takes roughly three months for large projects. Once the RFP is developed it is usually necessary for it to be sent out three months before the scheduled start of the project. This will allow time for companies to accurately bid the project, for your decision making and for the selected vendor to mobilize their team.
One way to avoid a large mistake is to test a flooring installer on a small scale before deciding to use them on a national level. By signing a company to complete a few projects first and then inspecting their work you’ll be able to see the level of quality that you can expect nationwide. This is a much safer way to move to new and better suppliers instead of signing everything over at once.
A very important thing with any RFP is project scope and scale; what is required to be completed, and at how many locations. Answering these questions can be daunting, due to how big these projects seem, but it is important for proper material pricing and labor estimates.
On the surface, the purpose of an RFP is to get pricing information from several companies in order to make an informed decision on who to employ. The need for RFPs, however, goes much deeper. An RFP is an opportunity to select a strategic partner. It is an opportunity to ask detailed questions and dive deep into the background of a company. It is important to make sure that not just the job, but the business objectives are clear and stable. If a company is truly the right fit for the project, they won’t seem like just another contract, but rather a trusted ally.
At Inside Edge Commercial Interior Services, we have a dedicated estimating team that is here for you. They have the ability to answer the above questions and to help guide you through a process that can be very complicated.