Are you really saving money with RFP's?
Overall, Competitive Bids and Requests for Proposals (RFP) can be seen as a negative aspect of the sign industry because they can result in limited information, time consumption on behalf of both parties, lack of communication, and a lost opportunity for relationship building. Signage is a highly creative industry, and it’s rarely possibly to evaluate on a like-for-like basis when it comes to design and fabrication.
Consider the significant time loss involved in developing an RFP. Clients rarely factor their own time into the equation, or the lost opportunity in meeting due dates as the tendering process can be very time consuming, such as waiting for responses. Let alone the elected cost of hiring a consulting firm to act as an intermediary. Weeks and sometimes months of RFP planning could be better spent in developing a trusted relationship with a reputable company from the start.
Drawbacks of tenders, bids and RFP's:
- Time Consuming: RFP’s require a significant amount of time to prepare, taking resources away from other projects. Further time is invested spent reviewing countless pages of RFP submissions. The reality is, the significant expense of issuing an RFP rarely outweighs the time invested in developing a strategic partnership based on mutual values, goals and objectives.
- Lack of Communication: RFP’s often limit direct communication between the signage contractor and the client, making it difficult for sign companies to understand the client’s needs and goals, beyond price.
- Limited Information: RFP’s often provide limited information about the project, making it difficult for sign companies to accurately price and plan the project. This can result in companies bidding too low or agreeing to unrealistic timelines, ultimately leading to cutting corners in grey areas to meet contractual obligations, especially as unknown items come to light after the project is awarded.
- Lack of Relationship Building: RFP’s can also limit the ability of sign companies to build relationships with clients, as the focus is on price rather than quality and service. This also limits the ability to develop mutually beneficial long-term relationship.
- Lower Quality: RFP’s often result in second-grade companies offering low quality products, as they are often awarded to the lowest bidder rather than the company with the best proposal and most suitable requirements such as safety certifications and experience.
RFP’s are not great for creativity and innovation, nor are they how great relationships are born. If you’re casting a wide net for a signage provider, Hi Signs may not be the best fit for you. But, if our work catches your eye and you enjoy working with highly qualified professionals, we’d love to start a conversation and work directly with you. Ask us about our Design-Build services.