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Why a 90-Page Request for Proposal is Probably Bad for Business

KPI Golf responded to 2 requests for proposal today – one of which was a whopping 90 pages long!

So, you can probably imagine the work that went into composing a 90-page RFP. I won’t mention which golf club it was, but they spent a whole lot of time, energy and money on conducting market research, surveys, competitive analysis, and outlining much of the club’s recent history.

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Ownership is looking to present all relevant data (I mean ALL data) to all comers in hopes that they will be able to provide an adequate business plan to help the club turn things around. The problem that we see is that the work/reward ratio just isn’t there under this kind of format.

In order for us to respond to this RFP completely and as ownership intended, we estimate 100 – 150 man hours. How can any effective organization invest this kind of effort into their own research, data analysis, strategic planning, and presentation on pure speculation? It just doesn’t make sense.

Pay Rate = (Hours) x (Fee) x (Win %)

It’s kind of like asking all real estate agents out there to do a bunch of work finding homes for you. Whichever one happens to come up with the home you choose is the only one to get paid. If you do the math on this, each real estate company might spend 20 hours researching and touring sites with you. This, for a 10% chance to earn a fee. It’s bad business.

Better strategy is to spend time properly vetting candidates. Choose the most reputable, most authoritative and trustworthy firm…and go with them. Now that they know it’s their deal to keep, they’ll go to the ends of the earth for you. From KPI’s perspective, once we get the deal, we’ll conduct all of our own intensive market research, interview staff and leadership, research historical trends, perform competitive analysis, and otherwise. But without knowing we’re hired, we can only expend so much time on any project.

I know this club is trying to be thorough in their request for help. Logic would tell you that more information and more data is best, but it really isn’t. I have a feeling they’re deterring a good number of highly qualified firms from jumping through those hoops.


Casey Bourque
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