Request For Proposals: Writing the Format Section

What’s the quickest way to evaluate responses to your Request For Proposals? One way to speed up the evaluation and award process is to create a Format section in your RFP document.

RFP Template – Sample Costs Format

Understanding the RFP Format section

Most format Request For Proposals (RFP) 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.

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.

Note: an Request For Proposal is also called an Invitation To Tender or ITT.

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.
  • 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.

samples Format For Bids

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


  • Details of Bidding Company
  • Details of Key Personnel

Proposed 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 provides business proposal writing tips, tutorials, and templates on the Proposal Writing Course every week. Get his free proposal writing newsletter here.