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  1. #1
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    proposal wording question

    Hi all,
    I'm working on an RFP. Part of it says:
    "All material submitted in response to the RFP become the property of the XXXXXX. Proposals and supporting material will not be returned to bidders."
    so...what I'm wondering is if they can take the design, which they do ask for, and use it without me getting the bid? And furthermore, am I allowed to use that material submitted on another project if I don't get the bid?
    your thought please
    thank you
    Marie

  2. #2
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    They want you to design the site for the RFP?? I don't like RFP's because they're often ill prepared and don't have enough information to accurately quote a project. There's no one-on-one interaction with the decision makers and it often just comes down to who the lowest bidder is.

    If, on top of all the drawbacks to an RFP listed above, they asked me to design the site before winning the job I'd have to tell them where to shove it.

    I don't work for free.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley
    They want you to design the site for the RFP?? I don't like RFP's because they're often ill prepared and don't have enough information to accurately quote a project. There's no one-on-one interaction with the decision makers and it often just comes down to who the lowest bidder is.

    If, on top of all the drawbacks to an RFP listed above, they asked me to design the site before winning the job I'd have to tell them where to shove it.

    I don't work for free.
    Umm, ditto to the above.

    One additional drawback to an RFP is that you just might be a throw-away bid. Oftentimes, a buyer may already have a preferred vendor, but company policy requires them to get multiple bids. In some cases, the RFP may have actually been written by the preferred vendor, in which case, the requirements are stacked in their favor.

    What you want to do is get in contact with the buyer and see if you can engage him in a conversation. As beley said, get one-on-one interaction with the decision-maker; that way, you can clarify the design issue. Additionally, I'd suggest asking point-blank whether you have a chance of winning this bid or if you're a throw-away. If you can get him to talk, then that's a good opportunity to discuss anything that might be missing from the RFP, for two reasons: [1] It gives you more information to provide an accurate bid, should you still choose to do so, and [2] It will set you apart from all the others who just mindlessly submit a bid.

    Here's some more info on the topic: Strategies for Winning The RFP Game

  4. #4
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Agreed.. A client who asks for a design as part of a proposal is probably not a good client to have.

    Another thought: I have noticed that when I get an RFP from someone who obivously doesn't understand the web development process, I can usually violate most of the 'rules' in their RFP and get away with it. In other words, you can sometimes make your own rules, and still make a good impression. You can send a very nice generic document with information about your company, and mention that you dont provide free mockups with proposals but you would be interested in discussing the project further. You can take it a step further and caution them against vendors that DO provide free work, if you are so inclined.

    Regardless, so many RFP's contain arbitrary rules - if you dont think the rules are worth following, just make a VALUE PROPOSITION to the client and invite them to learn more. At least you will appear to be more professional as you lose business your probalby dont want anyways.

    They might remember you after they choose a cheap-*** provider who gives them a free mockup then screws up the rest of the project
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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    RFPs? I bin them the moment they arrive. Most of them are hilarious, what with them expecting me to spend days creating a proposal for some company I've never met, usually for some unknown budget, up against unknown numbers of other companies, without knowing if the job has already been given to a preferred vendor, and the classic 'We're looking for a company to suggest ideas' - yeah, I bet you are, lots of ideas that you get for free from dozens of companies trying to impress. Waste of time and resources.

    Seriously, 'All material submitted in response to the RFP become the property of the XXXXXX' - who do they think they are and who do they think they are dealing with? That line suggests they are paying you for your time and energy - instead they have god knows how many companies slaving away creating proposals and drafts for them with no outlay on their part. What a great blag!

  6. #6
    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    Then again, the biggest and best jobs frequently go out via RFP. One of the biggest clients I ever won was via an RFP process. I think it's just amateur RFP's that go in the bin
    The fewer our wants, the nearer we resemble the gods. Socrates

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  7. #7
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    Hi,
    thanks everyone for weighing in.
    I wish I'd asked the question earlier. You all have given me a lot to think about. I'm pretty committed for the amount of time I have spent and they asked me about submitting the proposal. I think what I'll do is give them the proposal and a wireframe layout. And I'll suggest we get together to flesh things out if they have more questions. I'll be back in touch in a week or so regardless.
    thanks again
    Marie

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sagewing
    Then again, the biggest and best jobs frequently go out via RFP. One of the biggest clients I ever won was via an RFP process. I think it's just amateur RFP's that go in the bin
    I think it's just pot luck, sometimes you get lucky and win a bid, but generally speaking the RFP process is quite a low probability method of getting business and a big drain of resources for all companies involved in bidding.

    Of course, some industries refuse to do it any other way, so if you want to work with these companies you have to play the RFP game. That said, it can't hurt to ring the company up and ask if you can 'bypass' the process somewhat and get to meet with the decision makers personally and pitch yourself face to face rather than via a proposal.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    It's a tough call. Some companies play the RPF game and seem to be quite successful. But like anything else, it's important to consider the return on investment, and the only way to do that is to track of your close rate and the amount of time invested in each RPF.

    The problem is that people get stuck or comfortable doing whatever seems to work, without considering any alternatives. I know someone who's been very successful getting customers by cold-canvassing, but it takes up a lot of his time. I've tried to suggest that he join some networking groups to see if he can get the same amount of customers with less effort, or a better calibre of customer, but he won't do it.

  10. #10
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Oh I feel so left out! What is an RFP?
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  11. #11
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    A request for a proposal.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower
    Oh I feel so left out! What is an RFP?
    Request For Proposal...A good one is a multi-page document outlining exactly what the client wants.


    I'd have to say that with that line in there, technically they probably could use your design, however it'd probably be unlikely.

    But I do agree with everyone else, creating mock up designs before getting the job is a waste of time. In order for it to be a proper representation of your design skills you really have to spend a few days working on it which most companies don't want to do with out a deal.

    Another reason design before contract isn't a good idea is because if they haven't really guided you as to what direction they are looking for and you move in a different direction (because you have no idea what they want) even if you're proposal is great you probably aren't getting the job.

  13. #13
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Oh thanks. I never do those anymore. They are a waste of time and since my business is mostly focused on content, well... of course I never send out original content without an agreement in place.

    When someone requests a proposal, I generally send them my portfolio, information about the non-refundable deposit I need from all new customers and then oddly enough, I don't hear from them again.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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