Writing good proposals is essential to the growth of almost any business. For valet companies, a successful valet parking proposal gets you a new contract and lets you expand your business.
The problem is that most RFPs are dense and unhelpful in laying out what the proposal actually looks like. They use legal jargon and the like that isn’t actually very helpful for letting you know how to write the proposal.
We did some research and looked through a slew of valet parking RFPs and complied a list of best practices and key areas of focused that will let you write a better, more focused valet parking proposal.
Valet Parking Proposal Best Practices
Before going into the specific of writing the proposal, there’s one thing you need to keep in mind. This proposal is going to be read by humans. That sounds ridiculous, but often proposals echo the obscure language that most RFPs use. While you should be professional in your reply, don’t be overly wordy or use unnecessarily complicated wording.
1. Be Detail Oriented
Be extremely detail oriented in using the format requested in the RFP. Your attention to detail in replying to the RFP will be taken as indicative of the attention to detail of your company in executing the valet parking service.
RFPs often request very specific formatting for the replies. Surprisingly, many companies don’t follow these instructions to the letter and make a poor impression. Take the time to comb over your valet parking proposal to ensure it’s free of grammatical errors and properly formatted.
2. Use the Right Electronic File Format
Save the document in the requested format. Seriously. If no specific formate is requested, a PDF is usually best since it’s compatible with mac, windows, and tablets.
3. Make it Skimmable
Since the group evaluating your proposal will likely be going back over it in their discussions, you’re doing yourself a favor by making it easy to find the section they’re looking for. Use headers, numbering, and bold to guide the reader (unless the RFP specifically requests that you don’t). If they use numbering for questions, respond using the same numbering so they can see how you clearly addressed each question.
Standard black text on a white background is recommended. Proposals submitted with white text on a black background can be more difficult to read and make it impossible for the evaluator to take notes.
You should also add your logo to the top and bottom of the page. This both enhances the professional appeal of your proposal and be a subtle, subconscious reminder of your brand in the evaluators mind.
4. No Fluff – Keep it Straight to the Point
Remember when we said to make it readable for humans? Though RFPs are often overly long and dense, your proposal doesn’t necessarily need to be. Fully answer everything requested, but make it readable and concise. Remember that in most cases the people evaluating these are busy and having to wade through unnecessary detail or dense language is going to leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.
5. Be Honest (It’s the Best Policy)
What your kindergarten teacher taught you still holds true here. It’s not uncommon for companies to exaggerate our outright lie in a valet parking proposal, particularly in regards to staffing. Companies often falsely portray the level of expertise of their staff or plan to outsource and don’t make that clear in the proposal. While you might get away with it a few times, it’s not worth risking your business reputation over.
6. Demonstrate a Clear Understanding of the Scope of Work
In your proposal, restate and clarify your understanding of the scope of work. If you effectively show them that you have a very clear understanding of what they expect, they’ll be more inclined to trust that your plan and execution will meet their needs.
7. Be Thorough with your Plan
This is perhaps the most important aspect of your proposal. As we said before, it’s important to demonstrate in your plan a clear understanding of the scope of work and lay out in detail exactly how you intend to fulfilling it. Key aspects of the plan include:
Will you need to recruit new staff? How do you plan to do this? What are current staff qualifications? While it’s important to be thorough, resist the urge to list every course you’ve ever attended or sent staff to. Choose the highlights and emphasize them.
How will management be handled? This is particularly important as the assigned manager is likely to be the one tasked with carrying out the contract on a day-to-day basis. If you have a particular manager that will be in charge, list qualifications and past successes.
Equipment and Supplies
If you’re going to be operating at a new location, you’ll need additional equipment. If you already have these, indicate that. If you don’t, show how you plan to purchase a valet podium for your company and distribute equipment to fulfill the valet parking proposal.
A Time Table
Most RFPs stipulate a certain start date. Clearly demonstrate that you’ll be able to gear-up and transition to be operating by that date.
Identify and Explain Problems
The last essential element of your plan is to identify and explain how you would solve any potential problems. This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your understanding and expertise about what the contract will entail and show you’re capable of handling it. Common issues mentioned deal with in a valet parking proposal are parking logistics, security, and marketing so clients know about the valet service.
8. Show Experience with Similar Organizations
If you’ve worked with similar organizations or venues, this is a golden opportunity for you to demonstrate knowledge of their specific problems.
For example, valet services operating at a hospital confront different challenges than one operating at a restaurant or hotel. Demonstrate that you understand their unique problems and challenges and they’re much more likely to do business with you.
9. Justify the Cost
The other major consideration will be the cost. For a typical valet parking proposal, it’s often expected that the program be self-sufficient. If this isn’t possible, make that clear and explain why.
The focus here should be on demonstrating that you understand the scope of the project and that you can provide the best possible value to adequately fulfill it.
It’s sometimes requested that you be able to demonstrate how you arrived at pricing figure, so be sure that you can demonstrate that.