Creating a Request for Proposal
The process of hiring the best structured cabling contractor for the job will usually involve issuing what is known as a Request for Proposal or RFP. RFP’s are simply documents that let potential bidders know exactly what you want and provide them with the chance to convince you that they are the best choice for the job. As a bonus, RFPs also help you to organize your thoughts in terms of what type of voice and data applications you want included in the cabling system.
All sorts of information can be included in an RFP. An overview of the project itself is a good idea, since bidders will want to know if the system is intended for a hospital versus an office building or school. Breaking the document down into sections with specific questions related to each communication application you need in the network will also be helpful. Make it clear you want the proposal to follow the same general format of the RFP. Doing so will make it much easier to compare each of the proposals point by point and identify who is providing answers with solid information.
A crucial element of the RFP is a breakdown of the costs associated with designing and installing the structured cabling system. Ideally, you want quotes and estimates for each of the components necessary to build the right type of system. Data cabling contractors are used to providing this type of detail, so don’t hesitate to ask for the breakdown to be included in the proposal. Keep in mind those estimates and quotes can be included as an attachment to the main proposal, or you can opt to have the costs associated with each section, with the total cost included as a final section in the document.
Always include a due date with every RFP you send to project bidders. Make it clear that any proposals received after the due date will not be considered – no exceptions. This will make it much easier for you to settle down with all the structured cabling bids at one time, go through all of them in a logical and orderly manner, and determine which proposal reflects the best combination of price and expertise.
Keep in mind that once you’ve gone through all the voice and data cabling bids and made your selection, notify your first choice and make plans to enter into a formal contract. At the same time, notify the other contractors who submitted proposals of your decision and thank them for their submissions. This will help to maintain good will and increase the chances that they will be willing to work with you if your first choice doesn’t work out for some reason.