A request for proposal, or RFP, is a formal document that includes an invitation, table of contents, the background and objectives of the company requesting the proposal, its work and pricing expectations for the proponent, and submission guidelines. In the invitation, the company should summarize the problem it has, such as a poorly designed website, and state its needs.
The following section should outline the values and framework of the business in order for the company to align itself with like-minded partners. The company should discuss its long term goals and detailed goals relating to the project in question. In a proposal for a website, for example, one goal might be to attract more online shoppers.
The next section discusses what the company wants from the vendor, including the company's expectations and standards. The company may ask that only employees with a certain level of experience or education work on their project. It must also propose a specific timeline and state the fees it's willing to pay for the service.
The final section of the document explains the required format of the proposal. The company can also request that the vendor provide an example of a similar project, along with client references.