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3 best practices for writing an RFP for facility management software

As a facilities management software vendor, here at AkitaBox we’ve seen our share of RFPs over the years. The best ones provide plenty of detail, ask specific questions, and include clear selection criteria.

These 3 best practices can help you build a great request. You can also download this easy-to-use RFP template to get started.

Clearly lay out the pain points the software must solve

What is your current solution not delivering that you need FM software to manage?
● Inaccurate space data (or no space data at all) on facilities and assets
● Absence of a work order system or preventive maintenance scheduling system
● Ineffective means of communication among building teams
● Missing a designated portal for occupant service requests
● Inability to oversee and coordinate multiple sites
● Little to no reporting on organizational facility operations
● Lack of tools for organizational capital planning
● No way to track inspections and confirm compliance
● Overly complicated or unwieldy processes
● Unable to map asset relationships
● Inability to set and track KPIs

Also, prioritize your pain points by how critical each one is to your operation. This not only helps software vendors understand what’s most important to you, but it also serves as a benchmark for evaluating RFP responses.

Be thorough and detailed

The more information you provide in the RFP, the better vendors can tailor their responses to your needs. Here’s a few of the most important things you should include.

Information about your company

● Listing of your buildings
● Square footage of each building
● General overview of what types of assets you have
● Number of locations
● Number of employees


Functional requirements: Explain what you expect from the software (work order management, asset management, service request portal, etc.).

IT/technical requirements: Give an overview of your current IT infrastructure, including operating system, estimated number of users, types of devices, etc. What does your company’s IT department require of any enterprise software? Does it have to be a web-based application? Should it be compliant with single sign-on?

Service and support requirements: Will you need assistance with implementation? What type of training will you require? What level of customer support do you expect?

Pro tip: Consider putting your requirements in checklist form where each vendor can check “yes” or “no” to your criteria. Once you receive all your responses, compare the checklists for an at-a-glance understanding of their differences.

Evaluation criteria

Let the vendor know exactly how you’ll be judging their RFP response. List out your criteria in order of importance or assign each one a percentage or points. This makes it clear to the vendor what’s most crucial to you.

Example weighted evaluation criteria:
● Software features, capabilities, and implementation – 45 points
● Cost – 30 points
● Supplier support, responsiveness, and expertise – 25 points

Set clear ground rules for submissions

Now that you have an RFP, you need to put parameters around the submission. One of the most important is a detailed timeline with milestones.

Example timeline:
● Deadline for submission – a standard response time is 30 days
● Deadline for vendor to submit questions – typically by the end of the first week
● Date when answers will be provided to vendors – typically by the end of the second week

Other aspects to include:
● Would you prefer paper or electronic submissions?
● Do you want client references? How many?
● Who will be the point of contact?
● Will you take questions from vendors during the process?

Tips for evaluating vendor RFP responses

Choose the solution that most closely matches your ideal

In a nutshell, it all comes down to how well each vendor addresses your most critical pain points. You’ve already created a prioritized list of your main criteria for FM software. That list will continue to serve you now as a yardstick for measuring how close each RFP response is to your ideal.

Is your organization more concerned with the software features and capabilities? Or are you more price-driven? Knowing this will help you begin to rank the responses.

Of course, not all software is created equal – so be prepared to compare apples and oranges. One software might cost more, but it has all the functionality you want. Another software could be $10K less, but it’s missing 4 of the 10 things you want it to do.

In the end, it’s about selecting a software solution that comes as close as possible to what you want for functionality, vendor support, cost, etc.

Don’t forget about data collection

A company with a transformational mindset focuses on continuously improving and transforming facilities management. If you want a long-term FM solution, you need software that doesn’t simply digitize or automate existing processes (though that can be very helpful in the short term). Sure, these solutions move you from paper into the digital world. But the processes themselves are still the same way they’ve always been done.

Transformational software, on the other hand, uses the latest technology to improve every aspect of facilities management. That’s the approach we take at AkitaBox.

A transformative mindset leads to innovations such:

  • Creating floor plan-based asset location maps
  • Adding asset photos and condition notes in real time while onsite
  • Capturing asset information from photos using text recognition

Curious to know more about transformation in facilities management? We’d love to show you what the future of FM looks like.

Free RFP template

We get it. Creating an RFP can seem daunting at first. This fill-in-the-blank RFP template is a great place to start. It even includes the critical requirements an exceptional FM software should contain.

Download the RFP template.