You’re in need of geotechnical services and it’s time to write the RFP – where do you start? If you’re like many of us these days, you may be pressed for time and everything on your list needed to be done yesterday. So that RFP you have to write, with the fast-approaching deadline, may not get the full attention it needs – a copy-paste here, a few details there, and it’s out the door to your potential Bidders. But wait, is that RFP the best representation of the services you need? Does it set you up for selecting the most qualified firm? Often what we think are the minute details within an RFP, can play a big role in how we perceive and select the most qualified Bidder.
Often what we think are the minute details within an RFP, can play a big role in how we perceive and select the most qualified Bidder.
As Geotechnical Engineers, on the other side of the table, RFPs are constantly run across our desk – we have seen the good, the not-so-good, and on occasion the very bad. Using this insider knowledge, we would like to discuss how the development of an RFP can make or break the quality of responses you will receive in turn. In an ideal scenario, the RFP should ensure your Bidders’ responses are on a level playing field, giving you the opportunity to make a more accurate and informed decision when selecting the best-fit firm for your geotechnical needs. Think “apples to apples,” not “apples to oranges.”
Throughout this series, we’ll discuss five ways you can boost your RFP to ensure you are getting responses that are in fact “apples to apples.”
- Understand site parameters. Understand and describe the project site parameters from a geotechnical perspective.
- Clearly define your scope. Explain the geotechnical services being requested in as much detail and specificity as possible.
- Request detailed deliverables. Include exactly what you expect in terms of geotechnical deliverables and ask for examples in the Bidders’ submissions.
- Be transparent in budget and schedule. Be transparent about your budget and schedule, even if you don’t have one.
- Communicate selection factors and compare responses. Communicate your selection-factors and dissect your Bidders’ responses. Be wary of any short-cuts presented.
You may be thinking, “Well, of course I consider these items in my RFPs.” But, we’d like to challenge you to dig a bit deeper. As we go further into each of these topics over the next few weeks, think about how you could improve your current M.O. for writing RFPs.
On the next edition of this series, we’ll dive into our first topic – Understanding site parameters and topographic elements to consider.
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Download a PDF copy of The Geotechnical RFP in it’s entirety.