Five essential questions to ask in a commercial contractor RFP

When developing a commercial contractor RFP for your organization’s needs, it’s essential to gather comprehensive information from each potential contractor so you can make the most informed decision possible. To do so, you must ask the right questions; otherwise, you risk being left to make a decision with insufficient details or a field of bidders who lack any apparent differentiation.

Before developing your RFP, you should have a good idea of the scope of the project as well as a mental picture of who the perfect contractor would be. As you develop your RFP, keep those factors in mind and develop your questions to determine whether each bidder fits that picture. To get the most useful information, you’ll want to drill down, past the standard company background and history, though they are vitally important considerations as well.

Here are five essential questions to include in your RFP:

#1 Describe your company’s services and capabilities. The answer to this question will help you determine whether the company is capable of taking on a project of this size and scope and complete it successfully within the parameters you’ve defined.

#2 Introduce us to your company leadership/key personnel and the proposed team that will be working on this project. If you intend to use subcontractors, provide details regarding your subcontractor prequalification process. The so-called c-suite can tell you much about a company and its culture, as can the team designated for your project. This question will also help you determine whether the company is capable of retaining external vendors or subcontractors that fit your standards for expertise and excellence.

#3 Provide three client references for whom you have provided services similar to those described in this RFP. Provide each name, company name, project scope, relationship length and name and contact information for each principal contact. This proof of performance will enable you to determine if the company is a suitable choice for your particular project. In addition, you will be able to follow up with their references to verify the quality and value of their work.

#4 Describe how your company distinguishes itself from others and why you would be the best selection for our project. This portion of the proposal will enable you to differentiate between contractors, their skills and the services they provide. This information will be particularly useful when the contractor selection is a close decision.

#5 Develop a management plan for the work including a detailed project schedule, schedule management plan, safety plan, quality assurance plan and anticipated communication protocol with the client. It goes without saying the schedule should work within timeframes you have specified in the RFP.

With this information at your fingertips, you’ll be able to make the most informed decision possible when selecting a contractor, increasing the likelihood that your project will be completed on budget, within your timeframe, and above and beyond your expectations.