concept picture depicting mobile app development RFP

Global app downloads are projected to reach a staggering new high of 299 billion per year in 2023. However, while the number of mobile applications downloads greatly increases, 25% of apps are accessed only once after the initial download.

This highlights the importance of building an engaging mobile app that actually keeps users coming back. Only an effective mobile app development process can help you get there. And the first step into reaching this goal is outsourcing the best mobile app development services for your specific app goals.

This is where the mobile app development request for proposal (RFP) comes into play.

You need a clear and concise roadmap for your project as a whole, from collecting and summarizing your project requirements to reaching out to potential providers. A properly structured mobile app development RFP is critical for your future project success.

We have already discussed the RFP meaning, process and response, now it's time to zero in on other specific requests for proposal documents - the next being the mobile app development proposal.

In this article, we will break down the importance of making a proposal for app development, its core components and how to write a precise procurement document when contracting a specialized company to deliver your app project.

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What is a Mobile App Development RFP?

A mobile app development RFP is a procurement document that a company has to create in order to find right the app vendor to develop their mobile application according to their business needs, unique requirements and budget.

The mobile app development proposal covers the essential details about your upcoming project, including specific project description and requirements, project timeline, company information and more (you will see all the components listed in the section below).

To find the best app development company to create your coveted mobile app product, you should have a well-crafted RFP in place which will serve as the backbone of your project and your bargaining card for evaluating prospective vendors’ resources and capabilities.

In return, app development providers will put forward their bids and offerings based on your RFP. This is also the point where negotiations begin between you, the client, and the mobile app provider.

Why Do You Need a Mobile App RFP?

Releasing a mobile app development RFP will help you find the most suitable vendor for your app project, minimize the trial and error and mitigate the risk of weak ROI.

An accurate request for proposal increases your chances of identifying the best provider based on your needs.

Here are a few additional benefits of a well-done mobile app RFP:

1. Get the Best Project Pricing

Issuing your RFP to various vendors will help you receive more competitive proposals in return and thus get the best pricing for your app project.

Your RFP will allow you to compare costs and value metrics to ensure you’ll choose the best fit for your goals.

2. Make a Well-Informed Decision for Your Business

Easily comparing the many different bids will enable you to determine:

  • The strengths and weaknesses of each vendor
  • The vendor that can bring your business the most value
  • The one that you best connect with in terms of professionalism, vision, creativity and company culture
  • The vendor that can demonstrate transparency regarding planning and deadlines
  • Which vendor brings you the highest ROI

These insights will help you make the best procurement decision for your organization.

3. Save Time, Resources and Energy

Thanks to the RFP’s rigorous format and unambiguous project guidelines, your in-house procurement team will save valuable time researching bidding app development companies.

This document will help your team find and compare data from each response in a timely manner, thus streamlining the research process for the best app development company.

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What Does a Mobile App Development Request For Proposal Include?

As mentioned above, and similar to other RFPs for various specialized fields and services, a mobile app development RFP is an official document with specified requirements that a procuring firm drafts and sends to potential app development vendors.

The essential components of any mobile app RFP are:

  • Your company information and executive overview
  • Mobile app development project description
  • Mobile app product functionality
  • Use cases
  • Target audience
  • Project requirements
  • Stakeholders
  • Services needed
  • Operating systems and platforms
  • Backend requirements
  • Analytics requirements
  • Available budget
  • Project timeline
  • Proposal timeline
  • Vendor questions

How To Write A Request For Proposal For App Development in 7 Essential Steps

Every mobile app development RFP varies according to the issuing company’s unique business needs and requirements. However, each request for proposal incorporates, more or less, these same essential steps:

1. Executive Brief

The opening of each mobile app RFP contains:

  • A brief introduction about your company
  • The business case for developing a mobile app
  • The description of a required app solution

2. Company Background

Here, you continue providing additional information about your organization, what you do, your target market and audience, your leadership. You may also explain how your pending app development project fits into your larger business goals.

Include details such as your:

  • Organization’s story (birth and growth)
  • Existing product/services offerings
  • Brand positioning and brand image
  • Target audience and customers
  • Industry and market
  • Competitive landscape
  • Main stakeholders
  • App project’s leader
  • Location

3. Project Overview

This is where you dive into the details of your app development project. You should provide in-depth information about the key business problem your organization wants to solve with the required app.

Be explanatory and outline the specifics as clearly as possible so that prospective vendors can easily understand your desired solution. Follow these steps to nail your project synopsis:

Step #1: Summarize the core problem

Every mobile app solution is developed to solve a business or a customer issue. Give a summary of the core problem you’re addressing by touching on these important points:

  • Your business objectives
  • Product vision statement
  • Mobile app’s target users
    • User persona/ideal customer
    • Demographic info (gender, age, location, education, etc.)
    • User behavior (their goals, their pain points and challenges, the scenarios that prevent them from converting like struggling to understand or navigate the app, etc.)
  • The intention (if any) to include your mobile solution in a larger project

Step #2: List your success metrics and goals

Enumerate your criteria for measuring the success of your future mobile application, such as:

  • Measurable business goals
  • App’s download/user target goals
  • Timeframe for your app goals (short, long-term, after launch goals)

Step #3: Describe the key functionalities your mobile app needs

Be as informative as you can about the app solution you’re trying to develop by including all the core functionalities it needs, such as:

  • Number of functions needed
  • List of features required
  • User journey
  • Wireframes and mockups
  • Mobile app prototype

Step #4: Provide a use-case

Present a use-case of your mobile application to exemplify how a user would interact with your app, their entire flow, intention and purpose.

4. Project Requirements

Write down your project scope and specific requirements, including:

  • The services needed: List the services required for your entire development process as well as for particular stages of the project, if needed. These may include:
    • Mobile app consulting and strategy
    • Mobile app development
    • Mobile app UX and design
    • App testing and QA
    • Maintenance and support
    • And more
  • The platforms required: It’s also key to specify which platforms your mobile application should be made for. Considering that each platform requires different programming code (and thus developers with different expertise), name the platform you want to focus on first. These platforms include:
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Web
    • Other
  • The backend requirements: Cover everything about your backend situation and future requirements, including your existing systems (CMS, web services, APIs) and current database (Salesforce, Oracle, MySQL, etc.)
  • The push notifications feature: Indicate if you want to implement push notifications, whether you need to personalize the content and how frequently you want to send notifications.
  • The type of analytics needed: It’s also important to note what type of data you need to garner and track for your mobile application.

5. Budget

Your intended budget for the development of your mobile app should be presented in a transparent way alongside your openness to price negotiations. Apart from the sum of money you want to invest in your project, it’s advisable to express any constraints you may have in this respect.

Including a realistic budget plan into your mobile app development RFP is critical for getting punctual responses from providers and making them understand precisely what services they will submit to help you reach your business objectives.

Take into account that the cost for mobile app development services vary greatly and depend on a few factors such as:

  • The app development company’s reputation and size
  • The number of specialists involved in the project
  • The scope and complexity of your project
  • The number of features and functionalities
  • The number of platforms required
  • And more

6. Project Timeline

Include details about your project deliverables:

  • Proposed dates for project start and completion
  • Deadlines for separate stages of the project
  • The launch date of your mobile app
  • The duration of your project

7. Contact Information

Last but not least, finalize your mobile app RFP by informing prospective vendors on who is the main point of contact of your document. This is yet another opportunity for you to communicate the deadline for your mobile app project.

Takeaways on Mobile App Development RFP

A mobile app development RFP is determinative in gathering valuable offers from different vendors so you can select the partner that best fits your business goals.

The checklist in this article will provide you with the required formula to write a detailed RFP that suits your unique app needs and requirements. It goes without saying that you can alter the document to convey precisely what your organization needs.

Basically, a similar model can be used for issuing requests for proposals for various types of services a company might need, including:

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