How to Write Your Mobile App RFP the Right Way


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If you’re looking to choose a mobile app development company to work on your next project, you need to be ready to explain in-depth product requirements. A well-defined Request for Proposal (RFP) can make the process of choosing a firm a lot easier.  

A great RFP covers the specific requirements and qualifications of your mobile app including functionality description, scope requirements, budget range, and project timeline. The more concise your RFP is in providing accurate information, the more effective your final vendor selection will be.

A detailed RFP is a foundation for a successful mobile app project. This post will explain the best way to approach writing an RFP and key considerations for the document. If you’re looking to find out what to include in your RFP, check out How to Write an Amazing Mobile App RFP for a step-by-step breakdown.

Why Do You Need a Mobile App RFP?

A mobile app RFP serves as the statement of work between your company and the selected vendor. It is used to establish a mutual understanding of product requirements for the project.

A detailed mobile app RFP will help you receive more accurate information from vendors regarding your specific project. All too often, companies invest in app development without an explicit or logical plan for their product; they write an ambiguous RFP that doesn’t cover the entire scope of the project and fails to return results.

For example, unclear requirements can return low bids from vendors who lack the experience to complete the project on time and budget. In contrast, vague RFPs can return high bids to mitigate risk or no bids at all. It’s incredibly important to communicate your needs accurately, so the development partner you choose can interpret your goals and expectations without error.

For a complete overview of how to pinpoint your mobile app requirements, read How to Build a Mobile App Requirements Document.

Talk to Mobile App Experts

An essential step in writing a mobile app RFP is asking the right questions before you begin, and it’s advised to work with prospective vendors to discuss the budget, scope, and technical requirements of your project. An excellent way to do this is to schedule a product discovery session to understand the project at hand fully.

A product discovery session helps you and your stakeholders set the goals for your mobile app and recognize the business outcomes you want to achieve. Product discovery should cover four key areas of a project: product strategy, product definition, visualization, and presentation. In other words, all the information you need to write an accurate and thorough RFP.

Product Strategy

  • Clarify the business and technical requirements of the product
  • Determine the Minimum Marketable Features (MMFs)
  • Draft a vision statement
  • Pinpoint the app’s target audience and create user personas

Product Definition

  • Generate, capture, and prioritize mobile app features
  • Map out user journeys


  • Create a wireframe solution detailing the product’s user experience and user interface


  • Create and present a clickable prototype to capture user feedback

During the product discovery process, you have the chance to work with development experts and ask questions to clarify your RFP. Also, you can discuss the full breadth of services your project requires. For example, does your project require back-end server development? Do you need analytics integrations? How are you handling security?

Your RFP needs to cover more than the functional requirements necessary to take your app to market as quickly as possible. You need to consider the big picture and ask questions aimed at security concerns, back-end connectivity, release strategy, and maintenance costs.

Using Product Discovery to Write Your Mobile App RFP

It’s to your advantage to include as much detail as possible in your RFP so potential vendors can offer a suitable solution. One area you need to focus on is the functionality of your application, as well as possible use cases of the product. A product discovery session allows you to capture user journeys and user experience deliverables to refine your ideas. Ultimately, this process will leave you with more knowledge about how your target audience will use the application.

Product Discovery will also help you define the scope of your project correctly. During your discovery session, you will work with experienced mobile app professionals to identify and prioritize key features for your product. Again, you will have more insight into what you’re building, and a better idea of the costs you’re facing.

You should also include your budget range in your RFP. The price of development ranges dramatically between projects depending on the scope and complexity of your app. Speaking with experts during product discovery will help you determine where your product falls on that scale. Being open about your budget will help you qualify vendor bids and filter through companies that don’t align with your project.

Key Considerations for Writing a Mobile App RFP

Here are a few considerations to guide the RFP process and connect you with the perfect vendor for your project.

A Mobile App Launch is Only the Beginning

A well-written RFP needs to consider maintenance and ongoing support. Your user retention strategy is one of the most critical factors in launching an app, and this strategy calls for frequent upkeep. Including maintenance requirements in your mobile app RFP will ensure the vendor you choose can provide proper long-term support.

You Can’t Exclude Your Budget

Including your budget cannot be stressed enough. Even if you’re hesitant to put forth your budget range, it’s a requirement for your mobile app RFP. This component will help you qualify vendor responses in the early stages of the project, saving you time and money overall.

Mobile app projects range in size, cost, and complexity. Talking to experienced firms before you write your mobile app RFP will give you a good idea about the quality of quotes you receive and whether or not they align with your particular project.

A Mobile App RFP is the Groundwork for Your Project

To write the best possible RFP, you need to know exactly what you’re building, what you can achieve in your timeline and the full extent of services your budget covers. Writing an RFP without enough information can create problems later in the project.

If you partner with an experienced app development company, they will work with you to nail down the functionality of your product; however, they need to have enough information to get started. An in-depth RFP eliminates ambiguity and sets the tone for the entire project lifecycle. If the project starts off right, it’s more likely to be shipped on time and budget.

Choosing the right mobile app development company to work with is a tedious process – one you can’t take lightly. The best way to go about finding a partner is to prepare. A mobile app RFP will not only help vendors understand what you need, but it will also help you weed out the companies that don’t meet your expectations.

Annie Dossey
Anne is a Content Marketing Specialist at Clearbridge Mobile – a mobile app development company offering user-centric product design and engineering services. She writes about all things mobile and how apps are fueling the next wave of digital disruption.


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