The 9 Crucial Dates Needed for Every Shipping RFP

Award lanes. Reduce Costs. And Find the Best Partners & Carriers 

Let’s face it… no one really likes RFPs…

It takes tremendous effort to plan, execute and respond to carrier bids. 

At the same time, they’re 100% necessary. 

Because the truth is… finding and selecting the right freight partners will make your business run a whole lot smoother. 

Properly managing your RFP process is a crucial part of your business operation. And doing it in a timely manner is essential to your success… and your sanity.

That's why we put together this handy little guide. It will help you with the 9 key dates you need to manage your RFP around.

Lock in these 9 dates and you’ll be able to put your RFP process on autopilot.  

The 9 Crucial RFP Dates

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to planning an RFP. Staying organized is honestly half the battle… or at least, it was… until now.

Shippers, get your calendars ready. If you're preparing your RFP, here are the 9 dates you'll want to organize your planning and execution around.

  1. Questions Due Date-  Give your bid participants an opportunity to submit questions and feedback on the RFP. This typically has a one-day timeline. The idea is to let your partners know what to expect from your RFP process and solicit their input. Many companies host a conference call or webinar to go over timelines, expectations, and the full scope of the RFP. This allows participants to be fully prepared for the bid… plus, it saves you time from questions funneling in throughout the process. 

    Pro Tip: Provide a single point of contact for any additional questions or concerns that might come up on later dates.

  2. Bid Opening Date- This is the day you will openly start to accept bids. Give your potential partner’s a heads-up so they are prepared.

  3. Deadline For 1st Rate Submission– Give participants enough time to put together a solid bid proposal response. The time frame should depend on how many lanes, type of freight and the number of stops on each lane.

  4. Feedback Date- Are you providing feedback after the first submission? You should. This not only helps you get the best rates but gives your transportation providers more intel on the lanes for which they can provide the best service.

  5. Deadline for 2nd Rate Submission– Supply participants with a week or so to submit second-round bids. This way, they’ll have enough time to put their best foot forward and adjust to your requirements as needed. 

    Pro Tip: Don’t be surprised if you see some rates jump up on the second submission… it’s a tactic for some carriers to put low rates in hopes of making it through round one.

  6. Final Negotiations Date– Final negotiations give both you and the carrier time for feedback on why the selected lanes might fit within their network. It’s crucial to evaluate whether the carrier truly has lane density… or if they’re just trying to win the business. 

  7. Notice of Award Date-  It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for. It’s time to let your participants know they’ve been selected… and let down those who weren’t. This is also the time to go over your tendering process with your new partners. This includes what systems you’re using and what tracking process you require.

  8. Contract Length of Commitment & Renewal Options– Your transportation providers are going to want to know the contractual agreements. This includes the length of the term along with finalizing any paperwork that is necessary to complete set up.  Are incumbent awards available based on the service, or will all lanes be up for grabs? Give them the details. 

  9. Go-Live Date– This is when your partner should expect their first tender

When it comes to creating a successful RFP, it’s all about dotting your eyes and crossing your t’s. 

The clearer your RFP, the easier it will be for participants to understand your requirements and provide you with the information you need to make an informed selection. 

And these 9 dates only scratches the surface of everything that needs to be included in planning your RFP. 

That’s why we created The Ultimate Checklist for Shippers. It’s the most comprehensive guide ever written for creating and managing a shipping RFP. 

It provides an RFP framework that includes the 13 critical components of world-class RFPs. It also offers a step-by-step guide to executing your RFP. Simply put, it's your roadmap to success.

You can get a copy here:

Of course, if FLS can help you move your freight, please reach out. Our network of 54,000 carriers and 400,000 trucks is a great asset to any shipper… and our service levels are impeccable.

Need help shipping freight in North America? Get a quote today!