If you want to become a service provider, such as an electrician, plumber, HVAC, handyman or other trade company, you have to get customers in the door first. While marketing your business to let potential customers know you exist is priority one, once they make contact you have to earn their business with competitive pricing, excellent service, and timely follow-ups. A request for proposal (RFP) software solution can automate much of this process, letting you focus on what matters: growing your service business.
What Is RFP Software & Why You Need It
When a business needs work done, especially large jobs, they will send a request for proposal (RFP) to local service providers. Instead of making multiple calls, this document contains the full scope of the project so that vendors know exactly what to include in their bid. This is so that the bids are (ideally) apples-to-apples when the company is comparing bids from multiple vendors.
A big part of your day is probably creating and sending out these proposals. A prospective client needs to know how much your service is going to cost, the breakdown between parts and labor, what all is included in your service (added warranties or follow-up work), and the timeframe. RFPs often require a great deal of detail, and if you don’t take the time to provide the specifics the client is asking for, your bid will get passed over.
But that’s a lot of time sitting at a desk when you could be doing other work. Especially as your business grows, you’re going to need a way to streamline the proposal process and get bids out faster.
RFP software is a web- or cloud-based computer program that helps you generate and track proposals. A good RFP tool:
- Automatically generates proposals based on your database of parts and labor costs. More robust software also uses AI to compare your bids to regional and national averages, and can account for fluctuating material costs.
- Tracks proposal status. Get alerts when your bid is opened, approved, rejected, or when a client requests a revision.
- Integrates with other business systems. Instead of manually entering the proposal into your CRM and emailing it to the client, the RFP software integrates with your business systems to automatically do these tasks.
- Allows digital signatures. Ditch the paper and get started on jobs faster when clients approve proposals right in your RFP software with digital signatures.
- Facilitates collaboration. Instead of back and forth emails and editing a bid document, RFP software facilitates real-time collaboration so that you can make changes and notify the client instantly.
- Automates follow-up communications. Never let a bid slip through the cracks because you forgot to follow-up. Set dates and the RFP will automatically send follow-up emails with custom content that you created ahead of time. Thank clients for their time, reiterate your value proposition, and ask for their business. Get instant alerts when a client responds so that you can follow-up with a personal call or message if necessary.
Your Proposal Should Be More Than Just A Number
Until you have a solid base of loyal customers and referrals, the reality is that businesses are going to shop around for vendors. While price is important, it’s not the only thing they’re looking for; sometimes the old saying “you get what you pay for” is true when it comes to the correlation between cheap rates and shoddy work. And when you’re in the business of keeping other businesses’ critical systems functioning, quality work is key.
In addition to the bottom line, your proposal should contain as many details as possible about what sets you apart from other vendors. Value-added services, like extended warranties, follow-up inspections, and discounts on preventative maintenance can hedge out your competitors. Of course, you’ll want to note that your business has all of the required licenses, insurance, background checks, and any additional certifications or training that qualifies you for the job.
Additionally, friendly service, prompt communication, and following up on bids go a long way in establishing a rapport with potential clients. If you don’t ASK for their business, the answer will always be no! Don’t let your bids go into a black hole because you’re too busy with day-to-day work to follow up.
As your business grows, RFP software can streamline your proposal process and help you win more bids. There are many solutions available on the market. When searching for one, look for a tool that fits with your needs and budget now while being scalable as your business grows.
Partner With SimpleBids To Reach More Customers
SimpleBids is a marketplace that connects local service providers with businesses that need service, repair, or replacement. Commercial facility service customers want a fast and simple way to find reliable service providers in their neighborhoods, but they’re often inundated with ads paid for by big companies that may or may not be qualified – or even local.
When you create your free business profile on SimpleBids, you gain immediate access to new work if your location and services match customer needs. You can join SimpleBids now for free and be one of the first service providers in your area, get in front of new customers at no cost to you, and get exclusive invitations to bid on new projects.