At first glance receiving a request for proposal (RFP) can seem like a good thing. In fact, when Metal Potato first started, receiving a RFP was a pretty exciting event. It seemed as if our marketing efforts had paid off! Someone wanted our company to send a proposal, where we—being the best company for the job—would surely win the contract!

But that is exactly the problem with RFPs. No matter how in-depth the request, or how detailed the response, RFP’s simply don’t allow for the most critical component of project development—communication. And without communication, how can two companies reasonably expect to build a successful relationship?

It’s not an impossible task, but it is extremely difficult.

Sure, we won a few contracts by responding to RFP’s, but the process was garbage. After winning the contract (which in most cases simply meant we were the low bid), the project was basically starting from scratch. No matter how skilled both companies were, it was luck-of-the-draw to see if they communicated well with us, or we communicated well with them. In short: customer service suffered whenever an RFP was involved.

With customer service being our greatest source of pride, Metal Potato decided to completely scrap RFP response.

It’s been three years now since we last responded to one. And you know what? Our business has still grown exponentially. Why? Because we are able to focus on customer service, on communicating with clients who want to communicate with us, and on delivering the best possible product.

That’s great for us; great for Metal Potato—but it’s also great for anybody in the creative field. It may sound cliché, but creative projects like web design and graphic arts really do need workable relationships in order to produce quality results. Sometimes a particular artist, or a particular agency just isn’t the right fit for a client.

It happens all of the time because getting the right “fit” is important.

Great relationships are the foundation of great results, and great relationships start with communication.

So that’s the spill on RFP’s. Yes, they do have their place in certain situations—notably, government processes where bidding is mandated. However, that’s not the best solution for private enterprise. Think about it, how many government projects go to the low bidder? A lot. And how many government projects turn out with plenty of room left for improvement? A lot.

Businesses: when your next project comes calling, do yourself a favour and skip the RFPs. Pick up the phone; grab lunch; have coffee. Give your best shot at communication from the beginning and your project is much more likely to be a success at the end.