professional.Yet an RFP that is govern-ment issued often requires theinclusion of a fee; requestingthat the fee be sealed in a sep-arate envelope will remove theinitial subjectivity of hiring based on price. Although feesare often a factor in the awardof a project, they should not bethe sole factor for hiring adesign consultant.
Points to keep in mind
Prior planning pays off. Theeffort put into the initial prepa-ration of the RFQ will deter-mine the quality of both thedocument and the responsesthat you receive. It is neces-sary to identify the goals of the project, understand and com-municate what services are being requested, and establishselection criteria and submittalrequirements before puttingyour pen to paper (or fingersto the keyboard.)When hiring a design con-sultant, follow these 5 home-work assignments for bestresults:
Make sure that you under-stand the services you arerequesting.Perform researchinto what services your suc-cessful counterparts have pro-cured, and ask questions of potential consultants.Understanding the processwill help you to solicit experi-enced consultants.
Allow time for the entire process. Issuing a request toolate in the game can set back the eventual grand opening of your project.Allocate enoughtime for the development andissuance of the request, pre- proposal meetings with poten-tial respondents, consultantresponse time, and evaluationand selection procedures.
Be concise and well organ-ized.A request that is vaguewill leave the interpretationopen to your respondents, andyou will not get comparablereplies. An RFQ that asks for too many particulars andunnecessary data could resultin a low response rate. If your potential consultants areworking from the samerequirements, you will have aneasier time identifying the dif-ferences in their qualificationsand proposed solutions.
Make sure all of the stake-holders in the project areinvolved in the scope of serv-ices you establish for therequest.This will eliminateconfusion after you receivethe submittals or hire the con-sultant.
Although guidelines areimportant for consistency,focus also on the results youwant from the consultant, not just the procedures.Communicate the project’sultimate goal and let your respondents tell you how andwhy they are qualified to helpyou meet these aspirations.
Anatomy of the request
A well-organized RFQshould be broken down intoseveral easy-to-interpret sec-tions including a cover page,introduction, project descrip-tion, submittal guidelines andresponse criteria. Remember tokeep it simple and to the point.
A cover pagewith the name and address of your organization, location andname of the project, date of issuance and due date are allthat is necessary. If your organ-ization is required to work through the city or county’s purchasing department, con-firm that all of their applicablerequirements are also includedon the cover page.
Introduction and background.
In this section it is crucial toconvey the famous four W’s--who, what, when and where.Include a summary about your community, your organizationand a background of the project.It is important to communicateif prior study work has been per-formed for the project. Also addinformation about the commu-nity’s consensus, funding for the project and a description of the project goals.In addition, inform your respondents if further referen-dums or services will berequired. This will help youdetermine if your consultantcan assist you throughout theentire process.
Description of requestedservices.
This area of therequest should be a statementof your organization’s needs.How can the consultant helpyou through your process?The narrative can be assimple as a description of what you want accomplishedor a detailed scope of serv-ices. Make sure to include a project budget and any tech-nical requirements necessaryto perform the project. Beassured that if these techni-calities are not included, youwill receive telephone or email solicitations from your potential respondentsrequesting this information.
“The effort putinto the intialpreparation of the RFQ willdetermine thequality and theresponses that you receive.”