Real Estate Management and the Request for Proposal Process
5/6/2014 9:52 AM
When it comes to providing value added real estate management services, a well implemented request for proposal (RFP) process is critical to getting the best value for your client.
In this day and age of specialization many of the services required to properly care for your real estate investment involves the use of a specific vendor or supplier that is an expert in the service needed. Certain services require unique or costly equipment to complete or that may be seasonal in nature. Landscaping and snow removal are services that are commonly contracted to independent vendors who can provide these activities more cost effectively. The best way to identify, select and monitor the vendor or supplier that should be hired to work at your property is by using a well designed and thorough RFP process.
As the name implies a request for proposal is a document that you or your property manager issues to invite potential vendors to provide a bid for providing the requested services. Using a RFP to control the bid process makes sure that all participants clearly understand the scope of services requested and allows for a fair, objective and orderly means to compare and evaluate each respondent’s proposal.
While each project or service is different, a well designed RFP will include the following information:
1. Introduction of the project or service.
2. Criteria of vendor qualifications.
3. Detailed specifications of the project or service requested.
4. Site maps, drawings or supporting documentation.
5. A copy of the contract form to be used.
6. A pricing a form to be completed by respondent.
7. Deadline for submission of proposal.
Each category of the RFP is important and makes sure that only qualified vendors are considered and that each vendor is basing their bid on the same information. The introduction to the project or services should clearly indentify the party requesting the services and relationship to the property owner.
The RFP should clearly identify the contractor qualification that you or your property manager feel are necessary to properly complete the work. Require customer references, identification of access to necessary equipment, staffing availability and communication capabilities. Here at The Cabot Group we go a step further and spell out the service excellence objectives we demand from any vendor who would like to perform service for our clients. To work for THE CABOT GROUP each contractor must share a commitment to our client to consistently deliver quality service at the best value by aligning the activities of all individuals with the common focus of providing the highest customer satisfaction achievable.
The project or service specifications developed by you or your property manager should be comprehensive and as detailed as necessary to avoid any misunderstanding in expectation of what is required from the contractor. If you don’t want bare spots in your lawn area caused by zero-turn lawn mowers, you better say so in your specifications.
You or your property manager should include any necessary construction drawings or site maps as part of the RFP. Require that your contractors visit the site prior to submitting their proposal. This will go a long way to making sure that everyone one is on the same page as the service is completed. If you identify on your site map where your want the snow piled and your contractor has visited the site, you won’t end up in an argument over lost parking area or having to move the snow a second time!
Include a copy of the contract form that you or your property manager will require the contractor to use to avoid having to compare multiple different contracts used by different vendors. Clearly identify the payment terms to avoid disputes down the road. Similarly, include an easy to complete pricing form with each RFP to make the comparison exercise simpler once the proposals have been submitted.
Make sure the process is fair for all parties and stick to the submission deadlines. If you or your property manager find it necessary to extend the deadline, make sure you notify and include all participants.
By consistently using a well implemented RFP process, you or your property manager will identify quality contractors that will allow you to provided outstanding service for your real estate investments and the customers that occupy them.