Often, when companies want to work with us, they simply call us on the phone and schedule an initial consultation. This meeting comes at no cost, and carries no obligation, meaning they can get a sense of who we are, what our capabilities are like, and what will happen if we move forward together.
From time to time, however, we receive RFQs (Requests for Quotes) or RFPs (Requests for Proposals), either because the organization in question wants to hear from several different vendors, or because it’s standard practice in their industry. We are usually more than happy to respond, but it’s not always easy.
That’s because most business owners and decision makers aren’t experts in web design, and so they may not be sure what to ask for, or might fail to provide enough relevant details for us to give them the information they need.
In order to help you avoid making the same kinds of mistakes, here are a few tips you can use to create a strong web design RFP…
Send Your Request to the Right Companies
Some organizations take the view that many different proposals are better than just a few. By soliciting bids from companies that might not be a good match for your organization, though, you just increase the likelihood that you’ll choose the wrong vendor. Plus, businesses like mine can’t afford to spend a lot of time on RFPs that are too broad, so you might end up with nothing but proposals from inexperienced teams.
Be as Specific as Possible About Your Needs
How many pages will your new website need? What capabilities will it have to have? Are there certain websites you already like and admire? Do you have any particular colors, design elements, or custom programming requirements that will need to be integrated? If you want accurate proposals from the web designers that are best equipped to help you, it’s important to state these kinds of needs and preferences up front.
Be Realistic About Your Contributions
It’s not unusual to see RFQs where clients designate that they’ll be providing their own content and images. Once the websites are almost finished, though, it’s discovered that they need help in these areas after all. You can get more accurate quotes, and save yourself a bit of stress later, by being realistic about the contributions you can and can’t make your new website.
If You Have a Preliminary Budget, Feel Free to Share it
Some clients are afraid to share their preliminary budgetary thoughts or constraints for fear that a web design team is going to charge a higher price than they would have if they know what the numbers in question are like. In reality, a bigger risk is that all of your proposals are scaled down because web designers won’t know if you can afford features like custom layouts, professional copywriting, etc.
Follow these tips, and you should be able to get some quotes that help you make a good decision going forward. Ignore them, though, and you might find that even the best web design teams won’t have enough information to provide meaningful feedback and guide you towards the next step.