How to Find Web Design RFPs
Written by Robert Williams
In 2018 I found over 100 high-quality RFPs (Requests for Proposals) by companies in need of a website redesign using a few sites once a week.
Some freelancers and agencies hate RFPs because they’re time consuming and (admittedly) not the funnest way ever to win work, but I believe they are still totally lucrative if approached the right way.
In fact, they’re almost always posted by companies with realistic budgets – so having a system for finding these opportunities + creating proposals quickly (outlined here) can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars for your shop.
One of my favorite books on the business of design, Design is a Job, mentions RFPs in particular as a great source for new work:
There are many good organizations that have to go through an RFP process to hire anyone. And those are good jobs to go after. People who tell you they don’t go after RFPs and people who tell you they don’t have meetings are both lying to you.Mike Monteiro
Co-founder, Mule Design
Where to find Website Design RFPs
The following list is my current top 4 websites for finding great web design RFPs. Alternately, you can skip this entire process and just have me hand deliver them to you via my website design RFP delivery service (you also get a whole lot more). So without further ado let’s look at the sites, in order:
Ah yes. Good old-fashioned Google. It has been one of my favorite ways of finding great RFPs for years. The trick, however, is to set your search up for success in a few ways:
- Limit your search to just pages posted in the last month.
- Use the keyword: “type:pdf” to only show PDFs.
- Use the keyword: “RFP” or “Request for Proposals”
- Use the keyword: “website design”
Alternatively, you can switch out the keyword “design” for “redesign,” as I’ve found that can surface even higher quality projects. To properly keep tabs on the Googles you’ll want to do this every week or so.
2. The RFPDB
The RFPDB is a great resource and co-op where agencies share RFPs with one another. There’s even a web development section that I’ve found is good for 1-2 great RFPs each month or so.
On RFPDB you purchase credits to exchange for RFPs. Ultimately this comes out to about 5 RFPs for $10. I’ve found I usually have to go through about 3 RFPs before I find a good one on there.
Linkedin is a bit of a new-comer to the game. I actually would have ranked them higher if it wasn’t for the amount of content marketing you have to sift to find the quality RFPs.
On the bright-side Linkedin has a huge advantage because you can often connect with and instant message the proposal writer or key decision-maker directly on the platform.
My biggest recommendation is to use the keywords: “rfp”, “looking for” or “seeking”, and “email”. This will help eliminate a lot of the “how to write an RFP” marketing that is common on the platform.
A ton of organizations and companies have also taken to Facebook for promoting their RFPs. Like Linkedin you’ll have to sort through a lot of content marketing and irrelevant spam – but it’s usually good for 2-3 RFPs per week.
Unfortunately I rank them last because of their clunky UI. You’re definitely going to want to limit your search to just things posted in the last month. To do that you will use the filter results on the left-hand side.
The major bug that will slow you down most during this process is having to choose this filter every time you alter your search because Facebook doesn’t save the preference.
Besides that use a similar approach to Linkedin.
Altogether these 4 sites generate 100+ high-quality website design RFPs each and every year. Once you have a systematized process for responding to these RFPs, they can be almost a guaranteed way to add six-figures + to your bottom line.
Finding the RFPs takes about 1-2 hours per week, but why spend that time at all when I can just send you the RFPs I find? You can then spend 100% of your time on writing killer proposals and winning work.
I help underwater design agencies fix staff shortages quickly and come back up for air. I run Folyo, a private referral community of product designers, and I host Freelance, a podcast about how to work independently.
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