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Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidance


Nadine Atieh Hade
Finance Director

1400 Fifth Avenue
San Rafael, CA 94901
Monday - Friday:
8:30am - 5:00pm

Request for proposals (RFP) are an alternate method for procurement of goods and services used when qualifying criteria other than price is determined to be of greater value and the lowest, responsive bidder cannot be determined by normal objective measures.

Developing the evaluation criteria is the primary responsibility of your department (with assistance from the Purchasing Division) and must be included in the RFP.



The term "specification," generally refers to the description of the commodity or service required. However, for certain products and/or projects it may also encompass the physical requirements, scope or statement of work, installation requirements and other descriptive aspects of the procurement.

It shall be the responsibility of the requesting department to provide commodity and service specifications containing sufficient information to obtain meaningful proposals and adequate competition from suppliers. The Buyer has the authority and responsibility to challenge  specifications which limit competition or do not adequately represent the requirements to suppliers.

The Buyer may assist in developing specifications that will result in a transparent, competitive procurement that is fair and equitable to all parties.

The specification should address the following:

  • General description - This may include dimensions, tolerances, model numbers, manufacturer names, colors, sizes, performance characteristics such as speed and storage capacity, or the specific functions to be performed.
  • Quantity and unit of measure
  • Drawings, maps, pictures, sketches (if applicable)
  • Required delivery date
  • Installation or site preparation requirements
  • Compatibility requirements with existing equipment or programs
  • Maintenance requirements (service location/response times)
  • Warranty requirements
  • Minimum or desired vendor qualifications
  • Requestor’s contact information
  • Estimated cost (Engineer's Estimate)
  • Contact information or any suggested vendors


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