5 Tips for Writing Effective RFPs

When a campus has a large electronic security project, a request for proposal (RFP) can help the institution select the best integrators for the job. These suggestions will you help you craft an RFP that delivers results.

1. Hiring a Consultant Might Help
The process of putting together an RFP can be a complicated one. If a campus police chief, security director, IT manager, facilities director, architect or engineer doesn’t have the specific technical know-how regarding electronic security, it might be wise to hire a consultant to assess campus security needs and create the RFP.

“The best RFPs that come out are done by consultants,” says Dan Budinoff, president of Security Specialists, which is an electronic security integrator. “The worst ones are those that ask for a system worth $750,000 but then you find they only have a budget of $25,000.” Budinoff says consultants provide campuses with reality checks.

Robert Grossman, president of R. Grossman and Associatesadds that campus users generally don’t know what they need. “They get their information from press releases and the Internet, which skews people towards the gee-whiz technology,” he says. “It might or might not be as proven or cost effective as they would like.”

For example, IP video is getting a lot of exposure in the media right now (see Making the Leap to IP Video a Safer Bet), but analog cameras might be the most appropriate technology for a particular application. Because analog cameras are not new, however, they can be easily overlooked by newcomers to the electronic security realm. A good consultant who is well versed in this field and IT will remember to incorporate analog technology.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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