Competition among design professionals can be fierce, so it is critical to be as prepared as possible when trying to win new projects, especially those that are put out for bid.  Just as you have project quality control procedures to review a design, you also should have a similar process for responding to an RFP (Request for Proposal) to assess the appropriateness of the project for your firm, to minimize risk and to insure profitability.

When first considering whether to bid on a project, ask these questions:

  • Does our firm have experience with the project type?
  • Is our staff capable of handling a project of this size and scope?
  • Do we have confidence in our design team, including sub-consultants?
  • Can we turn in a successful project and make a profit?

Once you decide to respond to the RFP, you will take many steps to ensure your firm has a good chance at being awarded the project. You will choose a project manager and team that have the most experience with the project type. You’ll take great care in selecting your sub-consultants. You’ll follow your customary quality control procedures and review every aspect of the design phase; the costs of construction, the construction schedule and most importantly, your fees.

So, what could possibly go wrong when responding to an RFP? The answer may lie within the RFP itself.

Project Owners and Project Expectations

When you assemble your project team, you need to call upon the staff members who are best suited to understand the project and the terms spelled out in the RFP.  Your team should be asking the following questions.  Who is the project owner? Is it a government entity? A school district? Is the project publicly funded? Is the project owner a developer? If it is an LLC, who are the parties that comprise it?  Understanding who the project owner is as well as the expectations set forth in the RFP is as important as delivering the winning bid. Continue reading “Responding to an RFP: Risk Management Tools to Guide the Bidding Process”