For many of you, this may be the first mobile app development project. You must be apprehensive of how this will work. To help you find answers to all your questions and doubts, we’re here this time with the right strategies to creating a mobile app Request for Proposal (RFP).
What is RFP?
If you’re in the services or consulting business, you must be familiar with RFPs. Request for Proposal is a tender document to finding the right person who can work for you. An organization posts a document to elicit bids from potential collaborators and vendors. It’s the detailed representation of your company and what services you require for your next project.
If you have got the right mobile app idea for your business and want to execute it with the right development partner, you have to submit a structured, comprehensive proposal with all the requirements, scope, functionality thoroughly explained. That’s RFP.
Key Elements of RFP
Knowing the right app development company to build your startup/business/enterprise app is challenging. You can’t risk it in any run-of-the-mill developer, which is why you need to prepare an amazing bid proposal. We want you to receive competitive bids. And it all starts with a good RFP.
A good RFP leads to healthy business relationships, further leading to better projects and best results. In our 14 years of work experience, we have seen thousands of RFPs from clients all over the world. From all of those RFPs we’ve realized that a well-written RFP makes it easy to gauge the cost and effort estimates as the scope of work is clearly defined and then we are on the same page with the clients.
So, out of the several RFPs we’ve seen, we’ve come up with the perfect RFP structure that you, as a business owner, must follow to get the right bids from the top mobile app development companies around.
1. Purpose of the project
The first step towards writing your proposal is to state the purpose of the project you’re eager to develop. You have to present the summary of the business problem and the related KPIs. Mention how and why did this idea evolve in your mind. You need to state the ‘pain point’ your organization has been facing in the absence of this project.
At the same time, if it’s a mobile app redesign, what is the state of the current mobile project. Is it functional or terminated? There are several answers like these that you need to mention in this section.
Key takeaway: This description is important because the better you articulate your problem, the easier it becomes for the app development companies or mobile app developers to suggest you a pertinent solution. Instead of focusing on describing a solution, focus on describing the problem at length. This will encourage the developers to think outside the box.
2. Company’s Background
Company’s background refers to the complete in and out of the organization.
Give a brief about your organization, what it actually does, and what role do you play in the organization. Tell us why does your company exist and what problem does it solve in the real world. Mention the core products and services you offer and also your corporate values. Provide some industry and marketing insights, statistics about the company, awards you have won. Additionally, introduce the leaders of your company, the developers and designers who are the pillars of the company.
Key takeaway: Most app development firms have forte in certain technology or area of mobile app development. By mentioning your core values, the type of products and services you want to sell through your app give app developers the idea if their skills and goals fit into their niche area.
3. Project Description and Target Audience
The next step is to explain your concrete goal and what you want to achieve with this mobile app. Per you, what are the most important things that will make the app design a success? If you have any quantitative metrics in your mind, please share it in your RFP. Define your target audience and your perspective users. Provide us the answers to what you want your users to do when they open your app. Think like a user and answer this question.
As a help to the mobile app vendors who are reading your proposal, you should share the regions where this app will work the best and how it should be modified if you need to launch it for a different constituency.
Key takeaway: Ultimately, this is your business and the answers to these whys and wherefores will only be given by you. Keep a clarity while you explain your goals and expectations to the bidders. Only then you can expect the top app development companies to approach you, else you will be left working with a mediocre developer.
4. Project Scope Requirements and Deliverables
You can’t afford to skip this. Here’re the components which will better define your project:
Mention the services you require from the app developers that may include:
- Quality assurance Testing
OS & Platforms
Is it a native app or a hybrid app you want to develop? Most importantly, the bidder should know what platform you want to build the app on. What operating system will be supported by your app?
- Progressive web apps
- Smart TV, IoT, Beacon, OTT platforms
If you have the technical acumen and are sure about the technologies you want the app to work on, you can mention them.
Do you have any existing CMS? If yes then provide the details. Also, whether the developers need to develop APIs or you will provide them with your own? This will help the app development companies to decide whether they have the required technical team or not, to cater to your business needs.
- Front-end coding (HTML, CSS, JS)
- Back-end coding (Third party APIs, custom features, CMS)
- Frameworks you need to use- Xamarin, PhoneGap, CakePHP and others
Key takeaway: The more upfront you are with the details, the more appropriate will be estimates. If there are any technical dependencies required to complete the project, please mention them. Let the vendors self-select where they fit in with your project, thus, you can avoid dealing with out of place contenders and save on your valuable time.
What date have you chosen for the app launch? You need to provide inputs for the target timelines when you need the project to be delivered. Though you can’t predict the exact date on which the project will finish as the process goes back and forth with change in requirements and addition of latest features, you must mention an approximate date.
Key takeaway: The timelines will differ with the number of screens and the complexity of your app. Be honest with your timelines so that the vendors can identify whether they have sufficient team to can finish the project on time or not.
Including a budget range in your mobile app RFP is a must-have. This will prove to be a time-saver in the long run because you don’t have to deal with the mobile app development companies that don’t fit your budget requirements.
Right in the start of the project you are clear that this will be the maximum amount you will be paying to the other party. Getting a mobile app developed for your business is just like buying property. You need to state your budget so that the seller can provide the best at that price- a 2BH apartment, a 3BHK villa or a large penthouse.
The investment cost should be clearly mentioned because if you have a separate budget for APIs, for the hardware used in the app development like a beacon or IoT device, highlight it in a separate column.
Key takeaway: Not all mobile app development companies have the same cost structure, which is why, they should at least know if they fall in the same category that you are seeking. If yes, they’ll definitely bid against your proposal. But if they aren’t, you save both of yours and vendor’s time.
7. After-sales support and maintenance
You are certainly not ready to commit your capital to an offshore development firm/ app developer who will disappear just after the app launch. Software services like app development require post-launch support from the experts. But not all app development companies provide ongoing support for the project they’ve built. It will be great that you explicitly mention your requirement of post- deployment support that may require upgrading the app to work on new OS versions, on new devices or to add more latest features as and when they arrive in the market. All of this calls for developer’s expertise and support.
Key takeaway: You can’t continue to work with the same app for the next 10 years. Technology becomes obsolete. Make sure you express your need for post-sales services in your RFP so that only those app development companies bid on your app project.
How will you measure the success of your app? It’s simple! By tracking the number of inbound visitors, the leads that convert and other related data. This is a component to be considered as soon as the app is deployed. In your RFP, ask the vendor how will the analytics work in your app project. Leave space for them to reply as to what analytics tools your app must buy.
There are several analytics tools on the market to achieve the diverse goals of the organizations. For instance, Flurry (by Yahoo!) generates metrics on your ad performance and detailed user acquisition reports while Google Mobile Analytics helps you measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and suggests ways to optimize your campaigns. This can be best advised by your potential app development vendor.
Key takeaway: An app is a dynamic venture that needs your equal attention after its launched. Great developers suggest you best analytics tools to fetch the real-time data that’ll help you improve your marketing campaigns. Hence, specifying your app analysis needs in the proposal is a wise decision.
Criteria for selecting the top mobile app development company
Now that you know how a detailed mobile RFP will help you win ambitious bids from the top mobile app development companies worldwide, it’s time to choose one best among those 15 (or more) top proposals you’ve received. Some will promise faster delivery while others will guarantee best prices. Likewise, you will receive bids from both full-scale dedicated mobile app development companies or from freelance app developers. It’s your wit, requirement and budget that’ll guide you to choosing the best development partner. But this will be a tough decision for you.
To help you with, here is the information you must ask them to mention in the proposal.
- Examples of similarly complex projects
- Client references and testimonials (video testimonials)
- Their experience, expertise and size of the company
- The type of service offerings
- Case studies, summaries of client projects, any awards they have won
- Project development process
- Project timeline with major milestones
- The engagement models they include
- Terms of NDA
- What all payment options they allow?
- How do they differentiate from other app development companies in the market?
This will help you evaluate the overall quality they seem to provide for your mobile app and come in the same ballpark with the one whom you are going work in the future. You can save a lot of your precious time and kick off the project at the earliest.
Perfect RFPs are easy to write when you know what to include and what to leave out, thereby saving time, energy and money. Of course, this list may have more elements as per your understanding but if a multinational includes all this in their proposal, we’ll give them the best response custom to their requirements and timelines.
All significant bases covered, you are now ready to create a mobile app RFP and submit it online. We happen to be an experienced app development company and we’d be happy to create an awesome solution for your app if everything fits well. So, send it our way. We wish you good luck for your project!
The quality of your mobile app RFP will decide the quality of responses and services you’ll receive from the top mobile app development companies. Gain insights into submitting the perfect RFP for your business app