How to Write a Successful Government Staffing RFP

Mar 27,2015
Writing a Successful Government Staffing RFP: Tips from an MSP

A lot of thought and careful decisions are involved when crafting a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Managed Service Provider (MSP) or Government Staffing RFP. Based on our experience, we developed a list of areas to pay special attention to when writing an RFP, considering the nuanced nature of MSPs and the unique circumstances each government entity faces. MSPs can be an incredible asset to a temporary labor process and we hope the tips below help you find the best one to suit your needs.


An RFP must include certain required pre-qualifications to ensure the responses it garners are suitable for the State’s unique needs. Examples of reasonable pre-qualifications include; a certain number of years of past government MSP experience; a history with the submitted Vendor Management System (VMS), including a minimum number of programs managed with the proposed VMS; and experience with specific labor categories. Pre-qualifications that are too broad will likely result in an abundance of non-qualified responses. On the flip side, pre-qualifications that are too specific will drastically limit the number of MSPs able to respond and may result in a protest from “unqualified” MSPs.


Providing clear definitions of the terms and fees used in the RFP helps to keep the State, the MSP and vendors on the same page. It’s important to remember every State operates a little differently and uses different terms, so, although it may feel as if you’re providing too much information, more is better than not enough.

3.Pricing Model

The accuracy of the response regarding pricing that an MSP can provide in an RFP response begins with the pricing model the State provides in the solicitation. Therefore, it is essential that an RFP clearly outline all pricing components in order for the respondent to accurately quote a total cost model in response to the RFP. These pricing components include MSP fee, VMS fee, administrative fee if applicable, any rebates or discounts and any other statutory fees. The RFP should also define and provide examples of how the pay rate, bill rate and mark-up are calculated to give the respondents a clear picture of how the MSP fee, VMS fee and any administrative fees will figure into the total price response.

4.RFP and Q&A Timelines

Not allowing enough time between the release of the RFP, the due date of questions, the answers to those questions and the due date of the RFP response is hazardous to the success of an RFP. It isn’t uncommon for States to schedule a 30-day turnaround time from the release of an RFP to the due date of the response. However, sometimes the answers a State provides don’t resolve questions and often there are addendums made to the requirements based on the questions asked. Rushing a response reduces the likelihood of the State receiving quality submissions and increases the likelihood of a protest.

In the end, when writing a successful government staffing RFP, transparency in numbers and clarity in a State’s expectations and requirements are the key components to releasing a document that will entice thoughtful, creative and efficient solutions to meet the State’s objectives.  States can also bypass the lengthy and costly RFP process by utilizing a cooperative agreement with another State that has previously gone through a competitive solicitation process for the same type of service.

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By Knowledge Services | Mar 27,2015