How Do I Write a Scope of Work for an RFP? | The Bid Lab

Man looking at RFP scope of work
Man thinking about how to write his scope of work.

A Scope of Work (SOW) is a fundamental piece of a Request for Proposal (RFP) and describes what the company is looking to achieve as a result of the RFP. The SOW helps ensure that the product or service meets the company’s needs and establishes the parameters of what could be included in the resulting contract. It should also contain an overall timeline detailing any milestones, reports, deliverables and/or end products. To put it simply, a Scope of Work communicates expectations clearly between you and the client. 

If your business needs assistance in writing a Scope of Work that clearly defines your project objective, contact The Bid Lab for a free consultation today!

So, let’s break down what that looks like into sections. At a minimum, your SOW should contain the following: 


In this section, you should define any terms or acronyms used in the SOW. Clearly defining your company-specific terms helps better explain who you are and what you do. This will help reduce any ambiguity and confusion throughout the SOW.

Problem Statement

Concisely describe the problem that should be solved. Define the current state of the environment as well as any completed activities to date as part of the project. Be brief but thorough to show the client you understand the problem they are trying to solve and what is needed to provide solutions. 


Detail the end-goal of the project. Answer the question “What’s the point of this RFP?” Be brief and succinct. Keep this to a few sentences or one (1) paragraph in length. This allows the client to gain confidence that you understand the RFP and are the best option to help them achieve their desired solution. 


This section should outline the deliverables of the project and the associated tasks for each deliverable. Be as detailed as possible here so both parties understand what to do and who’s responsible. Deliverables can be outlined in an easy-to-read table to help the client understand what will be done, when and by whom. 

Communication Plan

If there are meetings, calls or reviews, they should be outlined in this section of the SOW. A regular cadence of check-ins or project status updates should always be included in any SOW to ensure that the project is moving forward in a timely manner. This assures the client that you will be in regular communication and work with them to complete the project to their satisfaction.

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This section lays out all the dates for the project. It should also cover due dates for deliverables and incorporate any dates relating to the Communication Plan. Therefore, tables can also be helpful in this section to show a clear timeline for the duration of the project and make sure everyone’s expectations are met. 

By including the above components in your RFP SOW you can avoid the main problem that plagues Scopes of Work: lack of specificity. A well-thought-out SOW tells the issuer that you have taken the time to evaluate the RFP in detail and are confident in your ability to meet their needs. 

You can also now use this SOW template as part of your outline for future bids. For example, bids often require a cover letter, technical and/or financial capabilities section(s), formatting requirements and a Scope of Work (SOW). After you create a SOW for one (1) bid, it is easy to carry over the Glossary section, any standard assigned projects of your employees from the Deliverables section, and generic timeline tables for use in future bids. Therefore, once you have created a concise and professional SOW, you can continue to use that template to save time and resources in the future. 

Want to know more? Read How The RFP Process Works – for Vendors.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to improve your response process check out our Learning Center. It’s filled with helpful resources like:

If you have never written an SOW before, or want assistance ensuring yours is up to the standards of the issuing party, check out Bid Manager, The Bid Lab’s RFP management service.

Do you have questions? The Bid Lab can help!

Now you know how important a SOW is to winning a bid. But, sometimes you may need an extra hand to see the bid successfully through to its completion. At The Bid Lab, we help businesses that are both new to, and experienced with, the bidding process. Our expert, dedicated team can manage everything. From reviewing RFP requirements with a fine-tooth comb to writing, editing and submitting a beautifully-designed proposal, we’re here to help. This takes extra work off your plate so you can focus on conveying the business solutions that will oust the incumbent and give your company the win. Find out how we can further help your team by scheduling a free consultation today! Or, give us a call at 1-844-4BIDLAB or email us at