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The work statement should describe key elements of the budget each bidder is required to submit. It is essential to use a standard budget template so that the cost proposals from different bidders can be compared. The budget for each fiscal year, school year or contract year should be given separately so that the agency can determine how fixed costs (e.g., software development) will be expensed. Another area to determine is whether to request unit pricing (e.g., the number of items to be printed, the unit cost of each item, total cost for each item) in bidders’ budgets. The advantage of unit pricing is the agency can see the full cost of each item (and its unit cost). This is helpful when quantities need to be adjusted up or down.

More on the budget template and cost proposals is provided in the next section.

The Process of Bidding

In this section, more information about the actual process of submitting a bid is provided.

Proposal Development Time

Agencies should allow 2 or more months to prepare the RFP before it is ready to be sent to bidders. Factors to keep in mind when planning for the development of a RFP include: when the tests are needed, how many persons are available to help write the RFP, whether the RFP is for a new or continuing program, how many persons need to review and approve the RFP before it is distributed, and what external agencies will be involved in preparing and distributing the RFP Depending on the answers to these questions, it may take as much as 6 months or more to prepare the RFP. A rushed preparation, which sometimes is inevitable, may not permit a careful review that would have identified and corrected errors.

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