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How to Write a Request for Proposal on a Printing Project

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The purpose of a request for proposal on a printing project is to encourage printing companies to submit proposals or quotes for your print job. This allows you to review and compare printing company information, qualifications and prices before choosing a company; it is a time-saving way to locate information about multiple printing companies.

Be specific. Before crafting your request for proposal, be sure that you have defined the printing project specifications. Speak to graphic designers to understand the software and output files, number of pages, type and weight of paper, coatings, glosses, die cuts, bindings or any other special instructions. Be sure to specify both input and output details so the printer understands the scope of work.

Define requirements immediately. If your company has specific requirements for a printing company, such as a large-run capacity or environmentally sustainable printing processes, state them in the opening part of your request for proposals. Burying these details increases the risk that you will get proposals from unqualified printers, which means that you will need to spend more time weeding them out. In this section, also include your requirements for the printer's experience and qualifications.

List key dates. In your request for proposal, state the due date for proposals, the date your firm will submit files to the printer, the date by which you'll need proofs and the date you'll need to receive the final product. The proof date may shift, but the file submission and final shipment dates will allow the printing companies to see if your project will fit into their printing schedules.

Set conditions. In your request for proposal, lay out the terms under which the contract will be void; for example, if the printer is more than a week late or if more than 10 percent of copies are faulty, or another measure of quality. Be sure you are prepared to live with the terms; printers will use this data to determine whether or not they can complete the job.

Lay out the proposal format. In addition to the job specifications, requirements, key dates and conditions, include a section on how printers should format their proposals. Having a standard format will allow you to compare sections with ease, eliminating the time spent searching for similar information.

About the Author

Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.