How to write an RFP cover letter?


What is an RFP cover letter

A cover letter should accompany the RFP questionnaire. Why write a cover letter? Beyond being polite and presenting your project, the RFP cover letter gives you a unique opportunity to emphasize the timeline of your state-of-the-art RFP-based selection process, particularly the dates on which different documents are due. 

RFP cover letter templates and samples

The request for proposal (RFP) cover letter is part of our FREE RFP Letters Toolkit. You will find in it, amongst others, templates and samples of an RFP cover letter.

Writing a cover letter for a Request for Proposal (RFP)

Your strongest weapon is in your reader's mind.

It is highly recommended that you to read the suggestions below in order to properly and successfully use the RFP cover letter.

  1. You wouldn't send your résumé without a cover letter, would you? Use a formal letterhead and do not handwrite the RFP cover letter. Use templates and samples provided in your FREE RFP Letters Toolkit to create your own cover letter.
  2. First, invite the provider to submit a proposal based on the requirements defined in the RFP document you will attach to the cover letter.
  3. Next, present your company with a brief description of your principal business, objectives, and location, and a link to your web site. 
  4. Then, describe your existing systems, your project (size, budget, scope, etc.), and how you want the project to be aligned with your business objectives. 
  5. Present your project timeline.
    Missed due dates are the main cause of delays. The success of your process may depend on properly communicating both the critical steps of your process and the deadlines the providers should meet in order to have their proposal considered. Therefore, the more emphasis you put on deadlines, the shorter your process will be.

    Highlight the major events and the due dates for submitting information:

    • The pre-proposal meeting, whether or not you choose to make it mandatory 
    • Reservation of spots for the pre-proposal meeting. Decide whether or not vendors must reserve spots for the pre-proposal meeting. 
    • Questions for the pre-proposal meeting. For the sake of convenience, you may decide to publish questions and answers on your web site. Providers may also be able to submit their questions on-line. 
    • The letter of intent. A model of a letter of intent should be provided in the RFP. Decide if you want the letter of intent to be mandatory or to merely help you manage the process. 
    • The proposal itself. Specify your requirements (number of copies, structure, formats, electronic versions, etc.). 
    • The contract award of the project to the most satisfactory proposal. It is not necessary to commit to a firm date, but an estimated time frame could be provided.

    Regardless of the types of responses you receive, providing a clear, precise timeline will ensure that your selection process is on time and in budget. In fact, by making certain you get the right documents in a timely manner, you will avoid undue delays, and thus save money. 

    When giving a deadline, be aware of the non-interchangeability of the words "submit" and "receive". More often than not, RFP authors write "submit the document no later than", but expect to receive the document no later than that date, thus generating proposal disqualifications, protests, and significant delays. 

    Requesting providers to write their proposal in a consistent format will be very helpful in evaluating all responses in a faster and more precise manner. Again -it cannot be said enough-, make sure prospective providers understand which documents to submit, receive detailed and precise instructions regarding the format of these documents, and are aware of your deadlines for receiving them.

  6. Thank the person for their time, effort, and interest in the project related to the issued RFP. 
  7. Finally, close the letter formally with "sincerely" or a similar polite expression. Sign your name and title. Be sure to provide correct, complete contact and reference information for future correspondence. 
  8. Do not forget to send the cover letter, with the RFP document, via certified mail
  9. Since things sometimes get a little more complicated than usual, remember to consult a lawyer for further information before doing anything.

Tips, templates, and samples of a professional RFP cover letter


Learn tips on how to write a professional, very impressive, and bullet-proof RFP cover letter in our FREE RFP Letters Toolkit.

You will find in it, amongst others, templates and samples of an RFP cover letter.

It's FREE!

"You wouldn't send your loan application without a cover letter, would you?"
- Pascal PERRY

RFP Disqualification Letter

Free Online Impartial Resources

to minimize the costs, risks, and time associated with software selection:

Get a shortlist of ERP solutions based on your company’s needs and characteristics. It’s fast, free, and easy—and you’ll get the results immediately.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Shortlist