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September 22, 2022

Request for Proposal (RFP) for 3PL Services: A Template


There are a lot of articles out there dispensing advice on how to go about the request for proposal (RFP) process when choosing a logistics partner or 3PL. Few articles, however, show you how exactly to do it.

The lack of comprehensive pieces is not because RFPs are something new or have some sort of secret formula. Quite the contrary: Good RFPs give certain kinds of information and request certain kinds of information in return in a very formulaic way. So much so, in fact, that we wondered why one couldn’t just build a template to simplify the construction of RFPs for companies seeking shipping and storage solutions.

We saw no reason not to. So we built one ourselves.

Materialogic has found that having some guidance when constructing an RFP is incredibly helpful. There are certain pieces of information that 3PLs need in order to provide an accurate bid and set reasonable expectations. Having a template for your RFP guarantees that you provide the right information, and that the right kinds of information are requested from companies in return.

The ideal RFP should include your organization's basic fulfillment requirements, such as:

  • Shipping frequency
  • Projected order volume
  • Warehousing needs
  • Retailer handling requirements
  • Cutoff times for shipping
  • Returns management expectations

Additionally, your RFP should list any potential deal-breakers. This should be an immediate call to determine if a 3PL is right for you. Without these key pieces of information, it can be time-wasting for you or a potential 3PL partner to complete a request for a partner that is not suited to your needs.

If you need a template, feel free to download ours here.

As you plug in your company's information, remember to keep in mind these three principles of perfect RFP completion:

  1. Transparency is key. Be honest about your volumes in each channel, as well as your challenges and pain points. Give numbers in terms of highs, lows, and variation. Don’t sugarcoat anything.
  2. It pays to be selective. Send RFPs to companies you think will be a good fit. You’ll have more time to go through the details of each proposal when there are fewer of them.
  3. 3PLs all want to know you. Provide candidates with a little information about your business. How does it run? What are your needs? What is the culture like? What frustrates you? The best partnerships are often not a matter of price or capabilities, but of cultural fit.

Measuring Your Success as Our Own

With just under 50 years of experience under our belts, Materialogic has seen an RFP or two. We understand the challenges of compiling all the necessary data and are here to help you along the way by answering any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to contact our team with your questions or if you need assistance completing the form.

3PL Request for Proposal


Tag(s): 3PL Services

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