Critical Questions to Ask When Reviewing an RFP

A civil engineering proposal is a formal document created by a civil engineering firm or professional engineer in response to a request for proposal (RFP). The proposal aims to inform potential clients about the engineering services that they can offer and convince them to choose the proposing firm for the project. It outlines a proposed project, its objectives, scope, methodology, timeline, and estimated costs.

Proposals are important to win work and keep your team busy and billable. However, it takes a lot of time to craft a winning proposal that is both client and project specific. Civil engineers must be intentional with their time, meaning they cannot go after every Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Qualification (RFQ) out there. But how do you decide what RFPs and RFQs to respond to?

Before even filling out an RFP checklist and generating a civil engineering proposal, you must read through the RFP or RFQ, and ask yourself these four critical questions:

Question 1: Is this a real opportunity?

Sometimes RFPs are released for research purposes only and the client is trying to figure out how much a job will actually take or if what they are asking is actually possible. Is this one of those situations or is it a real opportunity?

Question 2: Is this something that you and your team want to go after?

Does this project and client align with your company and team vision and goals? Is it a project that you and your team would be excited to work on? Do you like working with this client? These are all questions to think about when trying to decide if you want to go after the project.

Question 3: Do you have the team and resources to complete the work adequately?

Can you complete the work at this time? Does your team have availability to meet the milestones laid out in the project? Have you completed similar work to this in the past? Does your team have the expertise to complete this work? These are all questions to think about when trying to decide if you can do the project or not.

Question 4: Do you have a chance of winning this proposal?

How is the evaluation laid out? Is the evaluation heavily price based? Does this client have a preferred engineer that they typically work with? Have you worked with this client before? Does this client know you and your team? Think about how the proposal is written, how it will be evaluated, and if you have a chance at winning the project. If you do, go for it!

The answers to these questions, as well as completing a go/no-go form or go/no-go decision making tool will help you decide whether you are going to move forward with responding to the RFP/RFQ. If the answer to all of these questions is yes, and the go/no-go form resulted in a “go”, then you can start going through an RFP checklist and gathering all the information needed to create a great response to the RFP/RFQ.

Need help writing a Civil Engineering Proposal? Check out our previous post titled How to Write a Civil Engineering Proposal.

Looking for a Proposal Template? We’ve got you covered! Download yours for free here.

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