If you’ve never written a relocation RFP—or any RFP—before, the process might seem intimidating. However, if you take a systematic approach, it isn’t difficult. An RFP need not be overly long, but it should be thorough enough to elicit the information you need when searching for a relocation management company (RMC).
Your objective is to learn more about potential relocation partners, assess their capabilities and decide how well each aligns with your company’s needs, culture and values. You ultimately will weed out those RMCs that are not a good fit and select several finalists.
If you are at the RFP stage, you probably have done some groundwork in assessing your company’s employee relocation needs and expectations. What does your program look like? How many people do you relocate, and to where? Does your program include both domestic and international relocations? What are your “pain points”?
This pre-work will help you to ask the right questions. These questions are different for every organization as they reflect your company’s unique program needs, move profiles and business objectives.
Here are some points to consider, from the perspective of the relocation management companies that will be responding to your RFP.
Determine how your company will manage the relocation RFP
In some organizations, the procurement group manages all of the company’s RFPs. Often they include standard questions about terms, conditions, financial stability, pricing and compliance with your company’s policies in every RFP your company issues. They generally will not have corporate relocation subject matter expertise, so they would look to you for specific relocation questions.
It is common for several people to co-write a relocation RFP or to contribute questions. In this case, it is helpful to have an editor who can organize and edit the document and remove any redundancies. This does not necessarily have to be the project lead: it could be someone from your marketing or communications department or anyone with good writing and editing skills. This exercise will make your response review process easier.
Your last relocation RFP document might be helpful…or not
If you have gone out to bid in the past, you might be tempted to dust off your company’s last relocation services RFP and send it out again. Chances are your company and its needs have changed since then. So have RMCs, relocation technology, program options and best practices. Make sure your RFP reflects your current objectives and the contemporary relocation environment.
Jump-start the process with sample relocation RFPs from potential partners
If you have been talking with one or more RMCs, they will be happy to provide you with a sample RFP document. Consider these thought-starter questions. The better-organized samples are organized into sections such as general information, technology, account management, expense administration, global services and more.
Use or adapt the more germane questions and disregard questions or topic areas that are not relevant. Flesh out the RFP with additional questions on areas that are missing but important to your organization.
Give potential relocation partners the information they need to respond effectively
To receive responses specifically tailored to your company’s relocation policy needs, begin your RFP document with an overview of your company and objectives. Include:
- General information about your company, including any upcoming major initiatives (such as an acquisition, expansion or group move) that could affect your relocation program
- The scope of your relocation program: volume (current and historical), locations, a breakdown of homeowners and renters and the average home value (the RMC uses this information in developing its service and pricing models)
- Your reasons for going out to bid and objectives for the process (Lower costs? Better service? Enhanced capabilities or technology? A procurement mandate?)
You also should consider sharing your current relocation polices and asking for recommendations for improvements, but offer at least a summary of your current program tiers and benefits.
Define the ground rules for your employee relocation services RFP process
Outline your timeline for the RFP, including key milestone dates:
- Deadline for questions
- Due date for responses
- Date you expect to decide which companies will be invited to present
- Date range for best and final presentations (live or virtual)
- Decision date to select a provider
- Implementation period
- Program start date
Describe the objective criteria you plan to use in selecting a supplier, including the weighting of each factor, if applicable. Allow ample time for each of these steps, especially in light of the current pandemic situation.
Decide how you would like to receive responses. Most companies today opt for emailed Word, Excel or PDF documents. Some companies ask RMCs to submit hard copies for each of the reviewers, and some use online sourcing portals (often their company’s universal procurement portal).
Consider these topics you’ll want to learn more about
Below are some high level topics that most companies will want to explore with prospective RMCs. Adjust these topics to reflect your own needs.
- General RMC information: history, locations, growth history, in-process or planned mergers and acquisitions
- RMC structure: ownership, parent companies, affiliated companies
- RMC finances: evidence of financial stability
- Supply chain management: the RMC’s supplier network, network management and whether clients are required to use the RMC’s suppliers
- Technology: the RMC’s operating system, interfaces for clients and transferees, apps and other tools, reporting capabilities
- Relocation expense administration: how the process works, transferee apps and tools
- Account management: service delivery model, caseloads, after-hours service
- Domestic relocation services: services for homeowners/renters
- Global services: global reach, destination service partners (DSPs)
- Pricing model: how services are priced, what is included in bundles, fee schedules
- Quality and customer satisfaction: service ratings, service evaluation process, quality initiatives
- Implementation process: how the RMC manages implementation
- References: current clients who can speak to the RMC’s performance
- Awards and recognition
- What makes the RMC unique: how does the company differentiate itself in the industry?
What if you already have a relocation management company
If you are already working with an RMC, the RFP process is the same. You alert them you are planning to issue an RFP and they simply become one of the bidders (if you wish) for your relocation business going forward.
If you are going out to bid solely due to a corporate procurement mandate (e.g. every three years) or if you simply want to explore what other options are available, you likely will want to include your current provider. If you are dissatisfied with your current provider and improvement plans have failed, you probably will opt to exclude that provider from the process. In this unfortunate case, it is still in your interest to keep the departing provider in the RFP process loop, as they will ultimately need to work with your new provider to ensure a smooth transition.
It is worth taking the time to consider your objectives for the employee relocation services RFP process and to write questions that will elicit the information you need. Your process will proceed more efficiently and you will be much more likely to find the best corporate relocation partner for your company.
Selecting a Corporate Relocation Management Company
For a step-by-step guide on the steps to take to finding the best relocation management company for a partner, download the Relocation 101 eBook to learn more about:
1. Issuing an RFIs and RFPs;
2. Evaluating potential relocation service partners and pricing proposals; and
3. Establishing a relationship with the selected relocation management company.