A request for proposal, commonly known as an RFP, is a business document that’s commonly used to announce a new project, or updates to an existing project. The RFP generally provides details about the project, and requests organizations to tender bids for it.
The purpose of an RFP is to solicit bids from interested parties. Governments commonly use RFPs to announce and launch new projects, often seeking services from private agencies and companies. RFPs are generally posted on public platforms so that they can reach wider audiences.
As an agency owner, knowing how to find the best design & development RFPs is critical for the growth of your company. It’ll help you get more projects and find clients through a formal process.
Why Agencies Should Focus on Monitoring RFP Platforms
There are a number of reasons why agencies should focus on monitoring RFP platforms, starting with the most obvious one: it can help you find more clients!
Another reason why agencies need to be serious about monitoring RFP platforms is that time is of the essence during this process. Almost all requests for proposals come with a deadline, and if you check an RFP too late, chances are it might’ve expired by then.
Many businesses also take special note of the early applicants, so responding to an RFP early could definitely improve your chances of getting a bid accepted. In an industry where competition is rife, it’s important for agencies to make sure that they regularly bid on new projects to outpace the competition.
The 8 Best Places to Find Design & Development RFPs
If you’re looking for the best places to find design and development RFPs, here are the most popular options.
1. Google Search
One of the best ways to search for RFPs online is to use Google Search. It’s the most powerful search engine in the world, and as an agency owner, you need to know how to use it effectively.
When searching for design & development RFPs, simply searching for the keyword won’t be enough. Searching for RFPs on Google is a great idea, simply because it indexes millions of sites in a day.
Here’s how you can search for RFPs on Google:
- Start by typing in the keyword for what you need. For instance, if you’re searching for design RFPS (as shown above), type that in.
- Many companies upload RFPs in PDF format, so to qualify your search, simply add “filetype: PDF” to the query.
- This’ll return all relevant RFPs uploaded recently. Of course, not all of these will be valid, but you can find some decent ones this way!
- Again, it’s important for you to make sure that you regularly check this to stand any chance of finding viable RFPs.
Another fantastic option that you would want to consider is FindRFP.com. This is an excellent platform for finding different design & development RFPs, though you’ll have to subscribe to one of their paid plans. The pricing is as follows:
- Regional plan: $19.95/month
- National plan: $29.95/month
Discounted annual plans are also available for both, so you can save money if you choose to pay annually instead of going with a monthly fee. They also have custom group plans available, though those are for larger
FindRFP has been around since 1995, and they regularly curate RFPs from a variety of different sectors. They mainly curate RFPs from local, federal, and state governments.
You can sort RFPs by industry, and they also have a fantastic newsletter that you can subscribe to. They’ll send you relevant RFPs in the design and development niche as soon as they’re published, so you could be one of the first to apply.
FindRFP sources its RFPs from corporations and governments from all over the United States & Canada, two of the biggest markets in the world. Even without a subscription, you can see a partial list of RFPs that have been recently posted. However, you will require a subscription to view these RFPs.
Another fantastic option that you can use to search for design & development RFPs is RFPdb.com. The RFP Database curates RFPs from three popular markets, including the United States, Canada, and the European Union.
The RFP Database curates RFPs from a bunch of different industries, including web development and design. This one’s different from others on this list as it allows users to submit their own RFPs, instead of curating them from different sources.
You can submit RFPs that you’ve found from other databases to earn credits. These credits can then be used to view RFPs that have been submitted by others, creating a micro-economy as a result.
This also helps foster a good balance, because you can’t just join in and start viewing all the RFPs without submitting some yourself. Since it relies primarily on user submissions, this platform doesn’t limit itself to government RFPs only.
However, the downside to this is that this database isn’t as detailed as many others. So, you can’t use this as your primary source of RFPs — you will want to use other tools as well.
There’s no subscription fee or costs associated with using the RFP Database. However, you will still have to register an account before you become eligible to use any of the features on the website.
LinkedIn is the largest professional social network in the world, making it a fantastic place to search for RFPs. Ideally, if you know your stuff, you can find anywhere between 10-15 RFPs on the platform each week.
To search for design RFPs on LinkedIn, you need to run a search. For instance, write “RFP website design” and run a search on the platform.
You can filter the results by Content to only see results from companies that have recently published a post. Then, just sort the results by Latest to get recent updates.
As you can imagine, most of the results won’t be relevant. You’ll find yourself filtering through a bunch of results before you eventually find something relevant.
Ideally, the best approach to using LinkedIn to find design and development RFPs is to search every week. Make it a habit to run a search regularly, and you’ll find relevant RFPs every now and then.
BidPrime is a fantastic platform for securing new RFPs. If you’re looking for viable government RFPs, this is a great option. BidPrime curates RFPs from the federal, local, and state governments, providing a host of contracting opportunities to agencies.
BidPrime offers three payment plans, namely Enhanced, Expert, and Enterprise. You can request a demo or ask for a quote from the company since flat-rate pricing is not available.
However, BidPrime does have a 30-day free trial (doesn’t require a credit card), so you can really see whether the platform is a good choice for you or not.
This gives you access to bids covered from the US and Canada, including military contracts. If you have a subscription to BidPrime, you can also get RFPs delivered straight to your inbox.
With over 110,000 entities covered across North America, this is definitely one of the more comprehensive resources for finding RFPs to bid on.
OpenMinds describes itself as an award-winning “information source,” and a business intelligence firm that caters to clientele across the globe. And, if you’re looking for RFPs, this is definitely a good option to consider.
Open Minds has more than 175 team members spread throughout the United States, with the company headquartered in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. With a reach of more than 150,000 industry professionals, and with participants in more than 50 industries, including advocacy groups and committees, this is definitely a good place to find those hard-to-find RFPs.
The company claims that they manage the largest proprietary archive of market intelligence research and data. However, they mainly focus on specific niches, including:
- Mental health
- Addiction treatment
- Child & family services
- I/DD & LTSS
- Social services
- Chronic disease management
So, most of the projects you’re going to find will be related to these niches only.
Governmentbids.com, powered by mdf commerce, is another excellent resource for finding government RFPs and bids.
They have a dedicated research team that tracks RFPs from a variety of different industries, sending daily notifications to users. There are plenty of RFPs in the IT sector, so that’s definitely good value for money.
There’s no free trial for this one, so you’ll have to shell out at least $44/month for the basic package. That gives you access to state and local RFPs. The most expensive package costs $131/month, offering access to awards, advance, and federal bids too.
To make sure you never miss a bid, you can always subscribe to their free email alerts. It’s an excellent portal if you’re looking for RFPs exclusively from North America.
Another excellent option is Deltek. GovWin IQ is one of their business development solutions, and it’s a leading platform that offers comprehensive market intelligence for those who’re looking for federal, state, and local RFPs.
It’s available in Canada too, giving you access to a variety of RFPs across multiple verticals. There are thousands of procurement contracts available, and applicants can tap into the entire GovWin network to find exclusive teaming partners as well.
Again, this is a subscription-based product, with prices varying depending upon the package you choose and the extent of market intelligence data that you require.
How To Win More RFPs
Now that you know the best places to search for RFPs, here are some tips on how you can win more RFPs and make your proposal stand out.
Bid on RFPs You Qualify For
Most RFPs are incredibly detailed and spell out the requirements before one applies. Remember, since you’ll be paying a fee each month just to find relevant RFPs, it’s imperative that you go through the requirements before preparing a proposal.
The proposal is obviously going to be incredibly detailed, so you need to make sure that you meet the minimum requirements. Otherwise, there’s a firm chance that your proposal will be rejected, no matter how good it is.
Comprehensively Research Your Prospects
If you want to win an RFP, you need to make your proposal stand out. And, the best way to do that is by conducting comprehensive research to find out everything you can about the company.
By researching a prospect, you can find out more details about their pain points, and structure proposals to really hit the mark. If it gets shortlisted, you can then negotiate in more detail with the company.
Go Through the Requirements Carefully Before Submitting a Proposal
A lot of RFPs require applicants to submit their proposals by following specific structural and formatting requirements. Before you start preparing your proposal, make sure you check whether the RFP has any such requirements or not.
These are tiny details, but overlooking them could mean that your proposal ends up in the rejection pile. It’s important to carefully go through the requirements first and note them down carefully before you start writing up the proposal.
Revise the Tone and Messaging in Your Proposal
Before you submit your proposal, it’s important that you carefully revise the tone and messaging. It’s important that you remove any redundancy from your proposal, and more importantly, highlight the value that you bring to the table.
The proposal needs to be carefully reviewed by an editor to stamp out any grammatical issues as well. The tone, ideally, should be upbeat and confident throughout.
Always Ask Questions Before Submitting a Proposal
Don’t think that the RFP is the only thing you have to go on when preparing a proposal. Many companies have a dedicated point of contact that you can approach in case you have questions.
This is incredibly important, especially if you’re not clear about anything. It’s generally a wise idea to ask any questions you have before you start preparing the proposal. It’ll help you prepare a more comprehensive and detailed proposal that better caters to the needs of the issuing company.
Creative agency owners are always on the lookout for new RFPs and upcoming projects. These are some of the best options available to you if you’re hunting for RFPs. It’s not necessary that you subscribe to all of these services, though.
Find a few that work for you, and stick with them. It’s also a wise idea to grow your referral network, as that’ll help you find more projects! And, it’s important to note that since RFPs on such platforms are available to the general public, there will be a lot of competition.
When submitting RFPs, companies more than likely don’t know you, so they will be judging you by your proposal. So be sure to pay close attention to detail and ensure it showcases you, your business & what you’re capable of in addition to what you’ve achieved with other clients.