Sample Request for Proposal for Consulting Service

Please note that your city, county, or other governing entity may have required elements for a Request for Proposal (RFP).  It is important to contact them before issuing an RFP. This is only a draft sample.  

Library Background

Include short history and current circumstances of the library here.  Include circulation and use data.

Financial Circumstances

Indicate budget circumstances for the past several years and anticipated future prospects.  If there are major problems or opportunities, these should be highlighted here.

Current Planning Issues

Indicate the library’s current planning status.  If there is an existing plan, indicate when it was developed, by whom, and its current status.

Need for the Project

The board and administration should have developed a list of reasons for needing to do a planning process with a consulting firm.  Those reasons should be spelled out here.


A preliminary budget for this project has been approved and vendor bids may not exceed $_____. (Optional)

Project Description

As succinctly as possible, provide a description of the project and the outcome that the library is expecting.  This will be expanded upon in later paragraphs under Scope of the Work.

 Scope of the work

  1. Tasks – lay out the specific tasks envisioned for the consultant.  This would include the type of meetings, surveys, and other activities expected.  If there are special requirements, such as a budget review or building assessment, these should be noted.
  2. Reports – the types of reports needed should be specified here.  If a building assessment is required in addition to a long range plan, that fact should be specified.  If a number of drafts are being required for review by the planning committee and/or board, that should be noted as well.
  3. Meetings – consultants should be advised regarding the number and location of meetings they are expected to attend, especially if they are coming from out of town.
  4. Presentations – if interim or final reports will need to be made to the Library Board and/or other agencies, this should be noted here with an indication of the time frame and type of presentation required.
  5. Work not required – if there are specific things that are not expected of the consultant, for instance local research on demographics or conducting surveys, this should be noted here.
  6. Stakeholders- the key groups and individuals that have a major stake in the success of the operation should be indicated, although this group may be expanded during the project.
  7. Timeline – the length of time allotted for the project and any significant interim steps or milestones should be clearly indicated.
  8. Costs. – the consultant should be required to indicate travel, communication and other costs as part of the entire bid.  The bid should indicate the hourly (or daily) consultant costs for visits as well as for background work.

Required Proposal Format

  1. Understanding of the Project – consultants provide an overview of the project, its purposes and expected outcomes.
  2. Statement of Work – this section is where the consultant provides the specific details of the project and how it will be carried out for this library.  Tasks should be listed with details on deadlines and benchmarks along the way.  There should be a summary of the timeline for the entire project here, with additional schedules and timelines for more extensive projects.
  3. Experience, Credentials & Qualifications – the consultants will provide their professional background information here.  If the library has specific requirements, such as having at least one person in the consulting firm with a Masters Degree in Library Science and library administrative experience, this is the place to indicate it.  Consultants should be asked to provide information on all individuals that will be working on the project, not just the main members of the firm.
  4. References – the names of other libraries for whom the consultant has done work and contact persons at these organizations should be provided.
  5. Exclusions or Exceptions – if there are parts of the proposal that the consultant feels is work that is beyond the scope of the project, beyond the expertise of the consultant, or better handled by local library staff, this is the place to indicate these points.
  6. Additional Documentation (optional) – consultants may want to present additional documentation that will help the library in its decision.


Assumptions and Agreements

The contract between the library and the consultant is expected to include the following items:

  1. The project must be completed by ___________. [Indicate penalty for non completion.]
  2. The library will appoint one person, with decision making authority, to serve as a project coordinator/manager.
  3. The library will provide appropriate support documentation for the successful completion of the project.
  4. There will be no significant changes to the project during the project, unless they are mutually agreeable to the library and vendor.
  5. At the conclusion of the project, all materials developed will become the exclusive property of the library. In addition, any and all work sheets and other working documentation will also become the property of library.
  6. When applicable, travel and lodging will be billed at cost. Ground travel will be billed at the standard rate used by the library. Air travel will be by coach with a major U.S. airline. Lodging and meals will not exceed $____  per day. All postage, UPS ground, overnight delivery, and shipping charges will be billed at cost. All telephone and data transmission charges will be billed at cost.
  7. Basis for billing for services and products completed will be submitted at the end of each month (or end of the consulting project)
  8. Billing for travel, lodging, meals, postage, shipping, etc will be invoiced separately at the end of each month (or at the end of the project).

 Contact for Questions

  1. Contact person – indicate name and preferred contact method (e-mail, fax, phone, mail, etc.) for all consultant questions.
  2. Questions – indicate deadline date for all questions here.  (Relevant questions and answers will be distributed to all who have confirmed their intentions to submit a proposal.)
  3. Available Library Documents – indicate which current library documents are available for distribution to bidders.  Examples are: previous long range plans, annual reports, etc.

 Contract Award

  1. Basis for Award of Contract  – Indicate the method of bid award.  Use current board or municipal guidelines.  Basis could be the low bid or the ost appropriate bid for the project.  The library should probably reserve the right to reject any and all bids.
  2. Interview dates (if any) – indicate when the board will be interviewing selected candidates.
  3. Award Date – indicate when the contract will be awarded.