Answering Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
At The Bid Lab, we’re committed to serving as your go-to resource for all things RFPs. To that end, we compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions from both prospects and current clients. In this two-part series, we answer all of your most pressing questions about the RFP process and The Bid Lab.
What are “Pre-Submittal Processes”?
As part of the RFP process, agencies provide all vendors access to the same information to allow for fairness in the evaluation process. Pre-submittal processes may include Q&A periods, online or in-person conference meetings, site walks (especially in development or redevelopment RFPs) and so on.
Why pre-submittal processes are important:
- For bidders, this opens the opportunity to:
- show an active interest in the project,
- ask specific questions that might be left unclear within the RFP
- allow your business to gauge the level of interest of competitors also vying for the bid.
- For the agency, this process allows them to:
- gain an understanding of the level of interest in their project
- familiarize themselves with vendors in that industry.
Can The Bid Lab act on my behalf as part of the pre-submittal process?
We sure can! When signing on with The Bid Lab, you gain an extension of your team. If there are mandatory pre-submittal processes, we’ll make sure to guide you every step of the way.
❄ Even if we need to drive through the night during a snowstorm to a maximum security federal prison so your business is represented at an in-person conference pre-proposal meeting, The Bid Lab will be there (true story!).
Other Pre-Submittal Processes
Prior to issuing an RFP, agencies may issue a Request for Information (RFI). As part of an information-gathering phase, agencies will request that vendors submit responses to questions that help them:
- gauge vendor interest in fulfilling their project,
- reduce the number of ambiguities that an agency faces prior to contracting with a vendor, and
- define a project’s scope of work.
Check out these articles to understand more about pre-submittal processes:
RFIs: When Agencies Need More Information
RFPs vs. RFIs: What’s the Difference?
For Bid Issuers: How the RFP Process Works
What if I’m going after an RFP with a partnering agency? Can your team still help with my response?
Yes, of course! The Bid Lab will service our full spectrum of end-to-end practices within your section of the bid response. Alternatively, we can serve as your quarterback for the entire RFP response, managing both your team’s and your partner team’s schedules.
Please note: The Bid Lab will not assist two (2) competing firms on a singular RFP. We work on a first-come, first-served basis to protect the privacy and confidentiality of our clients. If you’re partnering with another firm, we’ll absolutely help you both submit a response. We cannot, however, help two (2) different firms submit two (2) different responses to the same bid. Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss details of your partner agency agreement, and how we can help you with your bid.
Can you leverage my existing content?
The Bid Lab can, and will, leverage your existing content to meet the requirements outlined in the RFP. In fact, after your first bid, our bid management team will leverage that first RFP response for each subsequent bid to streamline our management process. This reduces the overall time required to respond to each RFP; for many of our clients, an initial RFP took nearly 40 hours, whereas subsequent bids take less than 10.
The caveat is, in order to write winning bids, responses must be crafted directly in response to that client and their project’s scope of work. So, while your existing marketing content is great to help fill in many of the blanks, it’s not a replacement for writing original RFP content. We also don’t suggest filling in blanks by “copying and pasting” previously submitted bid responses. The Bid Lab takes the time to individualize each response while utilizing existing information to meet that specific client’s need.
In this article, we describe the Ways Proposal Writing Differs From Technical Writing and why it matters for your RFP.
Will my project manager be the same person if I get help from your company on a subsequent bid?
From the moment you sign on with The Bid Lab, you’ll be assigned a project manager who will see your response through to completion. Afterward, they’ll continue to be your go-to person for each subsequent project.
In the instance that our RFP expert is on vacation or out of the office (we all need a break every now and then!), we’ll team you up with another bid expert who will ensure continuity with your RFP and service.
Do I have access to my content after it has been created?
Yes, from the onset of your project, you have editing access to all documents created for you. Once your RFP is complete and your invoices are closed out, you own all content that The Bid Lab has curated on your behalf.
Can you teach our own team how to respond to bids?
The Bid Lab works with small to medium-sized businesses to navigate the complexities of responding to RFPs. We work as an extension of your team and serve as your RFP SME. To this end, your team will learn about the process of submitting bids, and find relief in the tools we provide to make bid writing easier in the future.
Given the unique needs of your business, we’ve developed our services to be all-inclusive as well as offering flexibility with à la carte pricing options. This flexibility allows us to take over for clients who are overburdened with other work and also to supplement expertise for clients who solely need assistance with shell document creation. Learn more about our Bid Manager services here or schedule a free consultation with one of our bid experts.
We break down how outsourcing can benefit your company in Hiring an RFP writer, Is it worth it?
How long does it take to find out if I was awarded the contract?
As a rule of thumb, RFPs almost always indicate when the contract will be awarded. Similar to the detailed requirements the RFP requested of you, oftentimes the RFP will include detailed evaluation criteria. After the bid submission date closes, the procurement department evaluates each response per their specified guidelines. Once the scores are tallied, respondents are notified of their award status by a specified date.
There are very few instances when RFPs don’t include information about the award date. This could be for an array of reasons, but typically it’s because it allows the issuing entity more flexibility in their response time.
In situations where our clients haven’t heard back from the procurement department by a specified, or even unspecified date, our team will follow up directly with the RFP’s contacts to ensure a response is received. In fact, our team will follow up on each and every bid we help submit to ensure our clients have the information they need to move forward. We also review all evaluation criteria to identify room for improvement in future bidding opportunities.
Check in next week when we’re answering more of your most Frequently Asked Questions!
The Bid Lab Services
Bid Finder: Let our team of dedicated experts actively search, find, and present bidding opportunities to make your business grow. With extensive experience navigating public bid databases, we find strategic RFPs to expand your pipeline.
Bid Manager: Whether you’re in need of qualification assessment, writing and formatting or the whole gamut, The Bid Lab’s RFP consultants assist with proposals of all kinds, lengths, scopes, and formats.
Bid Builder: We procure the best vendors, minimizing risk and costs for our clients, through pre-planning, RFI issuing, RFP building and response evaluation. Our team will help you identify the best partner for your project. If you have questions about RFPs – or anything related to RFPs – schedule a free consultation with us today or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.