I am in the IT industry and recently started an LLC. I have mostly been freelancing by myself on projects, but am looking to get into RFPs for bigger projects with a bigger team I plan to take on.
How do I start this process?
Thanks so much.
RFPs can take a significant amount of your time, and it has been my experience and that of many of my colleagues that the creator (read "competitor") of the RFP--and yes, government entities do have their RFPs crafted by the very companies they may hire--will ultimately win the bid. Often, this is because the RFP is tailored in such a way that you might have difficulty meeting all of the "requirements" whether the requirements are actually needed or they are intrinsic to the creator's own software giving the creator/competitor a leg up.
In addition, there are often insurance or bond requirements that may be out of your reach as a new and untested company.
My suggestion is to continue working on small projects, learning more of your craft, and as you grow and add staff you can devote to the process, revisit the idea of RFP including getting listed as a HUB or other certified company. In the interim, try contacting your local government offices and learn the names of prior IT vendors. Introduce yourself, and you just may land a small subcontracting job for a large project the established vendor wins.
To answer your first question...
If you always use freelancers/contractors, then you don't need to worry about having to make payroll when you have no revenue coming in.
Of course, there is a risk that they'll be working elsewhere when you need them, but this is an easy risk to mitigate (and you should anyway).