Several years into my business, I started getting quite a few RFPs (Requests for Proposals) from companies and organizations. I was impressed I was even getting asked (at the time, I was a one-person operation in a mid-sized town.)
I labored for days over my first RFP. I must have spent 25 hours writing the document, responding to all of the required questions. I even connected with another local developer to make sure I had enough resources to pitch the project. Months after I had submitted the RFP, I had yet to hear anything. I checked in regularly and found out a year later that the project was awarded to another company.
I responded to three or four more RFPs before I threw in the towel. It just wasn’t worth my time or energy to respond to these inquiries when it would take months before I heard a yes or a no. The prospect of a 25k+ project lost its appeal when I could make the same amount (or more) by doing a few smaller projects in the same amount of time (with the added bonus of a lot less stress).
When you deal with larger companies, you’re dealing with a LOT more bureaucracy. One of my clients (that often contracted with me for design) once had to spend 10k for project insurance BEFORE they would even be awarded the project from their prospective client (a large college).
If you do get a larger project by bid, you also have to factor in the amount of time you’ll be dealing with the multitudes of decision makers (the larger the budget, the more individuals are typically involved…) In the end, you have to determine if it’s worth your time to tackle these types of projects.
I’ve found over the years that I personally prefer working with solopreneurs or small companies – and I always insure that I work directly with the decision makers. I consciously choose every project (and client) I take on.
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