Request For Proposals: How to Write the Format section

Every Request For Proposal includes a Format section which explains to the bidder how the Business Proposal should be written.

After you have written the Request For Proposal and published it, the next step is to wait for contractors to submit bids. If you’re working on a large tender, you can get many bids for suppliers. One way to evaluate these bids quickly is to include a “Format of Proposal” section at the end of the Request for Proposal and use this when evaluating the bids.

Business Proposal Template
Business Proposal Template

Request For Proposals: How to Write the Format section

Remind the bidders that they must follow the “Format of Proposal” criteria as otherwise they risk disqualification. In general, the criteria will mirror the main sections of the Request For Proposal itself.

The following section provides a suggested “Format of Proposal” outline:

General Information

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone
  • Fax
  • Email

Terms and Conditions

  • Acceptance of the Terms and Conditions as described in the request for proposal by the bidder and third parties.
  • A statement from the bidder that none of the excluding circumstances listed in section <> are applicable.
  • Confirmation that the bidder understands the requirements and scope of the project
  • Recommendation that the bidder should provide any other information that may be relevant to the proposal.

Required Format

Proposals should respond under the headings set out in “Section X” of the main RFP:

  • Details of Tendering Company
  • Details of Key Personnel
  • Overview of Solution
  • Understanding of requirements
  • Scalability & Performance
  • Deliverables
    • Audit Requirements
    • Testing
    • Skills Transfer
    • User Training
    • Reporting Requirements
    • Development Environment
    • Testing Environments
  • Maintainability
  • Development Support
  • Project Management
  • Quality Management


The costs section should provide the following:

  • Total Costs
  • Consulting costs
  • Software costs
  • Training costs
  • Implementation costs
  • Indicative costs (e.g. hardware)
  • Schedule of costs (costs associated with deliverables)
  • Validity period of costs

By mandating that these criteria need to be followed, your Evaluation Team will be able to review the responses much quicker and, in turn, speed up the procurement process.

About the Author: Ivan Walsh is a Business Proposal Consultant who has worked for IBM, Intel and NEC in the US, UK and China. Get his Free Proposal Writing newsletter and read his Business Proposal Blog here.

2 thoughts on “Request For Proposals: How to Write the Format section

  1. Steve Price says:

    Hi Ivan,

    A good summary checklist for an RFP response. I think I would add compliance matrices for both the commercial and technical elements and request that supporting evidence be detailed. That way if the RFP is being issued by you as part of a submission (again by you) to your customer then you will be able to complete your compliance statements easily, by dropping their proposal response into yours, and you would be certain of being commercially “back-to-back” with your suppliers.

    The other way I’ve seen compliance treated is by exception – where there is an onus on the proposer to highlight aspects with which they are not prepared to be compliant.



    • Ivan Walsh says:

      Thanks Steve,

      ….add compliance matrices for both the commercial and technical elements and request that supporting evidence be detailed.

      That’s a very good point and something I had overlooked.

      You’ve got me thinking about a new post now 🙂


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