Vendors: Part 2 – The RFP Process

Hi guys! Sorry for the delay in posting. I got the flu last week, we moved this weekend, AND I managed a birthday party for a sweet little boy on Saturday, so things have been a little hectic. But I’ve been working on some goodies in the meantime. Promise!

This post is Part 2 in a three-part series on vendors. Once you’ve finished Step 1, you’re ready to send out some RFPs (Request for Proposals), but where do you begin and how many vendors is too many? This week I discuss the RFP process.

How to Write a Request for Proposals |

The Request for Proposals is your tool to help you 1) solicit vendors and 2) make a decision. It can be as simple or complicated as you like; however, the more detail you provide, the more accurate the proposals you receive will be. It can be as easy as using copy/paste or putting together a more formal document. Remember, it’s a tool to HELP you. Below are the key details you want to include.

Contact Information

  • Name of Host
  • Key Contact(s) and Title / Relationship to Host
  • Email Address
  • Phone Number
  • Contact for Questions regarding the RFP
  • Proposal Submission Deadline

Event Profile

  • Event Name
  • Date(s)
  • Time(s)
  • Location
  • Type of Event
  • Event Frequency/History (if recurring)
  • Event Goals/Objectives
  • Event Background


  • What exactly are you requesting?  If it’s easier, this can have multiple sections for different categories or types of needs.
  • Schedule of needs (e.g. different types of vehicles at certain times, different courses for a catered function, different types of flower arrangements).
  • If possible, prioritize your “needs” versus “wants.”

Evaluation Criteria

  • Include any specific details that must be included for the proposal to be considered.


  • Be as honest as you can regarding the budget. Don’t give a lower number solely to get a cheaper deal or else you run the risk of being disappointed with what they offer based on your real budget.
  • Ask for taxes, surcharges, and gratuity to be included in the proposal so that you are comparing apples to apples when looking at each proposal.


  • RFP Distribution Date
  • Deadline for Proposals to Arrive
  • Decision-making Deadline/Timeframe


  • Finally, include any information that the vendor can reference to help inform their proposal. Do you have a Pinterest board already created for this event? Show them the pictures or invite them to the Board! Do you have pictures of the space or a color scheme in place? Share them here!

Now that you have your RFP, it’s up to you how many vendors to send it to, but I recommend soliciting no more than 3-5 vendors for each category. This is for multiple reasons:

  1. E F F I C I E N C Y. It takes a lot of time to review each vendor’s proposal. Don’t waste your time (or the vendor’s, please!) if you aren’t really considering them. Streamline your process wherever possible.
  2. C O N S I D E R A T I O N. It takes a while to review the proposal, but it takes even longer to put the proposal together.
  3. V E N D O R  F A T I G U E. If you are contacting multiple vendors multiple times but never choose them, they’re going to stop bidding on your events. Again, be considerate 🙂

And, because I love you all so much, below is a link to an example RFP template to help you get started. You’re welcome!

Stay tuned for the final installment of this series on working with vendors. As always, let me know in the comments if there’s a question or category you’d like me to tackle in the future or you want to know something specific regarding working with vendors. Happy to help!

Also, make sure you’re following Preperie on Twitter and Like the Facebook page for the upcoming #FridayFreebie this week!! Yay for free stuff!

Download the Request for Proposals Template Here.


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