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What is an RFP (Request for Proposal)?

Updated on October 10, 2012

An RFP (Request for Proposal) is a document used by federal government agencies which allow prospective contractors to effectively and fairly bid for the opportunity to provide a contractual service (e.g. building a base shoppette) or product (e.g. fitness equipment).

It is a mandate for the federal government to accept and review RFPs when the purchase amount exceeds $25,000. There have to be a minimum of three bids, from three different vendors, that are accepted, reviewed and discussed by a technical committee before a binding agreement (e.g. contract) is finalized.

RFP Document Information

There is a minimum of four areas that are included in the RFP for the competitive acquisition process which include:

  • Government's Requirements
  • Contractual Terms and Conditions
  • Required Information in the Bidder's Proposal
  • Factors and Significant Subfactors

Uniform Contract Format

Contracting Officers are responsible for preparing the solitication notices (which evolves into the binding contract) using the uniform contract format that consists of four parts: (1) The Schedule, (2) Contract Clauses, (3) List of Documents, Exhibits, and Other Attachments and (4) Representations and Instructions.

Part I - The Schedule

The Schedule consists of eight sections (A-H) and contain the following information:

A. Solicitation/Contract Form

B. Supplies or services and prices

C. Description/Specs/Work Statement

D. Packaging and Marking

E. Inspection and Acceptance

F. Deliveries or Performance

G. Contract Admin Data

H. Special Contract Requirements

Part II - Contract Clauses

The Contract Clauses (I) section is required by law and simply states if there are any specific regulations or clauses which need to be adhered to by the respective vendor.

Part III - List of Documents, Exhibits, and Other Attachments

This section (J) includes any documentation, exhibits, cross references to materials or applicable sources that may need to be reviewed for the requested service or product.

Part IV - Representations and Instructions

Representations and Instructions is broken down into three sections which are as follows:

K. Includes solicitation provisions that require representations, certifications or the submission of additional information from the respective bidders.

L. Includes any information not required anywhere else in the document; it may further guidance on the organization of items such as administration, management, technical, past performance and pricing data.

M. Identifies all of the significant factors and subfactors that will be used in consideration of the contract award.

I wanted to give you a brief insight into what an RFP is utilized for and how that results into the contract phase of a binding agreement between the federal government and that respective vendor.

If you would like to find out more about this process, click here. The Federal Acquisition Regulation is a great resource for this information and is cited with providing the details about the Uniform Contract Format.

Until next time ...


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