Request for Proposals (Website Customization)

Closing Date: 
October 21, 2019

Request for Proposals 

« Website Customization »

Request for Proposal (RFP) No.:


Issuance Date:

8 October 2019

Deadline for Questions: 

13 October 2019

Closing Date:

21 October 2019

Closing Time:

23:59 EST

Method of RFP Submission:

Submit via email to:


Subject Line:

Price quote for BM-TR-19-2-008

Preferred currency of Proposal:

United States Dollars (USD)

Tax on Price:

Must be inclusive of VAT and other applicable indirect taxes

Conditions for Release of Payment:

Milestone payments will be made and approved as per contract deliverables

Period of Validity of Quotes starting on the Submission Date:

60 Days

Evaluation Criteria:

  • Technical proposal [25%]
  • Portfolio [20%]
  • Client references [20%]
  • Price quote [35%]

October 8, 2019 

Dear Prospective Offeror:

Building Markets intends to award a contract for Website Customization. Interested Offerors are invited to submit a technical proposal and cost proposal in accordance with this Request for Proposals (RFP). This contract is open to companies, organizations, and individuals.

The contract will be for approximately 12 months from the award date. Offerors are advised to propose the most cost effective and competitive approach to achieve the results of the project.

All proposals must be submitted to Building Markets by 23:59 EST on Monday, October 21, 2019. It is the responsibility of the Offeror to ensure that the proposal has been received by Building Markets in its entirety. If the proposal is received after the deadline or if it is incomplete, it will not be accepted or considered by Building Markets.

All questions or requests for clarification related to this solicitation must be submitted in writing to Building Markets at by 23:59 NYC EDT on Sunday, October 13, 2019. Questions and requests for clarification, and the responses thereto, will be circulated to all recipients via email no later than Tuesday, October 15, 2019. Only written answers from Building Markets will be considered official. Any answers received outside the official channel, whether received verbally or in writing, will not be considered official responses regarding this RFP.

Issuance of this RFP does not constitute an award commitment on the part of Building Markets, nor does it commit Building Markets to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of offers.

Thank you for your interest in working with Building Markets. We look forward to reviewing your proposal.

The Building Markets Team

1. Organization Overview

Building Markets is an award-winning non-profit organization that creates jobs and encourages economic growth by finding, building and connecting competitive local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to supply chains, investment, and growth opportunities. We have built a network of more than 24,000 verified SMEs and organizations, assisted them in winning over $1.3 billion in contracts, and helped create over 70,000 jobs in Afghanistan, Haiti, Jordan, Liberia, Mozambique, Myanmar, and Timor-Leste. The organization currently operates programs in Jordan, Myanmar, and Turkey. Building Markets is headquartered in New York City. For more information visit

Program Background

In 2016, Building Markets launched a program in Turkey. Since that time, it has developed an extensive network of SMEs, published ground-breaking research that has brought visibility to their operations and economic contributions, and designed tailored services to facilitate their access to new opportunities. Key services include business verification and profiling, access to market information, training, matchmaking, mentorship, and advocacy. Building Markets works closely with local partners to implement its programs.

Building Markets products and services are made available to its clients and partners both on and offline (in-person). One of its platforms: works to address a key pain point in the countries where the organization operates – a lack of reliable and available information on the local private sector. This lack of data prevents buyers and investors from identifying new companies they may be interested in working with and simultaneously prevents local businesses from identifying new opportunities. This is particularly acute in markets hosting refugee entrepreneurs.

The online platform aims to address these challenges in two key ways: 1. By providing access to a directory of verified businesses with unique profiles that are easily searchable. 2. a tender distribution service, which collects and publishes tenders, requests for quotes, and other business opportunities via the platform, facilitating access to new market opportunities. 

Building Markets plans to expand and improve the delivery of these online services to refugee and Turkish-owned businesses as well as the buyers and investors looking to do business with them. With the help of a website customization supplier, Building Markets hopes to improve the operation of its platform (search functionality, data uploading, user registration/profile maintenance) and its tender distribution service, including integrating an automated outreach SMS system into its platform. 

2. Scope of Work 

Building Markets is looking for a digital company, organization, or individual that will help customize its platform so that is responsive to the needs stated below. The Supplier will need to: 

Activity 1

  • Design and improve the tender distribution service to allow for:
    • Specific types of users (e.g. paid) to issue requests for quotes, including uploading and revising documentation, and have these automatically matched with businesses listed on the directory based on sector of operation and other keywords;
    • Monitor interest from potential businesses listed on the directory;
    • Allow businesses to download tender documents, subscribe for updates, and other features to be agreed upon in the final scope of work; and 
    • Allow users to subscribe to receive automated tender notifications by email and text for relevant tender notifications by sector and location.

Activity 2

  • Further integration and automation of the multi-language web interface allowing users to better navigate the website in English, Turkish and Arabic;
  • Generating a more intuitive, simplified and streamlined user experience, including self-edit functions;
  • Allowing for more advanced, and fast search functionality, including:
    • predictive text/auto-fill;
    • acronym and special character recognition;
    • alternate/ recommended results based on search criteria used (“Did you mean…”); and;
    • search filters and sort abilities for the site’s Tenders page.

Activity 3

  • Ongoing/ad hoc web support. This could also include support/programming/administration needs on Building Markets SalesForce platform, which is separately used to house more detailed data on each businesses and entity it works with.

As noted above, the current site requiring customization can be found here:

3. Delivery Schedule 

The following payments will be processed within 15 days of successful completion and acceptance of each milestone by Building Markets:


Approximate Due Date

1. Contract signed

November 11, 2019

2. Kick of call

November 13, 2019

3. Handover call

November 18, 2019

4. Supplier submits first iteration of Activity 1

December 5, 2019

5. Building Markets comments on first iteration of Activity 1

December 12, 2019

6. Supplier submits second iteration of Activity 1

December 19, 2019

7. Building Markets comments on second iteration of Activity 1

December 27, 2019

8. Supplier submits third iteration of Activity 1 for approval and updates go live

January 10, 2020

9. Activity 2 & 3 support commence 

As invoiced until November 10, 2020

Both parties contractually agree to a maximum of three iterations of Activity 1 delivery. In the event of delays or revised timelines, revised deadlines will be accepted following written acknowledgement from both parties. Further details on schedules, payments, and force majeure will be made available in the final contract.

3.1 Review Schedule 

Building Markets will review the work of the Supplier in the following manner:

  1. Review and archiving of feedback based off staging site testing within 7 days of test site receipt; and
  2. Weeklycheck-in calls with the Supplier. 

Above Milestone Due dates and payment schedule are subject to change and will be further specified at the time of contracting and as the service is provided.

3.2. Quality Assurance 

The Supplier is expected to manage independent quality assurance over the service provided for the duration of the contract. This includes:

  1. Monitoring website performance through periodic review of site features; 
  2. Responding to archived feedback from Building Markets; and
  3. Independently providing feedback and executing strategies to improve site functionality and user experience.

4. Selection Criteria 

The ideal supplier is an experienced company, organization, or individual responsive to our specific needs, providing tailored solutions rather than reconfigured templates. A well-established portfolio and list of customer references will aid the selection process.

Note that while Building Markets prefers to work with a single supplier, the organization also reserves the right to divide this tender and work with multiple service providers based on comparative advantage and past performance. Potential suppliers are encouraged to highlight areas of relative expertise when submitting their offers. 

Eligibility for Shortlisting:


Legal registration/documentation 

If you are a private firm, a copy of registration/incorporation. If you are a freelancer, a copy of tax number. 


Previous web customization or similar experience

References, CVs, Technical proposal, process flow diagram used by the supplier


In-depth understanding of WordPress, website development, and UX optimization 

Technical proposal and client references


Experience in not only short-term project delivery, but also long-term client support

Client references and written documentation

Prospective suppliers will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

Assessment Criteria



Technical proposal that is responsive to the Scope of Work 



Portfolio of relevant or similar work (Demonstrated experience designing and delivering similar site customization services. Experience with WordPress, UX optimization, and WordPress compatible plug-ins).



Client References (Demonstrated ability to provide on-going client support) 



Price Quote

35 %

Please note, only bids exceeding a Technical Score of 12.5% will be considered for financial evaluation.

5. Terms and Conditions 

5.1. General Terms and Conditions 

Building Markets will review all proposals and score them based on the above criteria. Preferred and backup suppliers will be selected, after which a contract will be signed between the two parties.

Building Markets is not bound to accept any proposal, nor award a contract/ purchase order, nor be responsible for any costs associated with the preparation and submission of a proposal or cost proposal, regardless of the conduct or outcomes of the selection process.

Building Markets reserves the right to accept or reject any proposal, to render any or all proposals as non-responsive, and to annul the solicitation process and reject all proposals at any time prior to award of contract, without thereby incurring any liability to the affected supplier, or any obligation to inform the affected supplier(s) of the grounds for Building Markets’ action. Building Markets shall neither be obliged to award the contract to the lowest price offer. 

5.2 Cost Proposal

The cost proposal will be used to determine the best value offer and will serve as a basis of negotiations before award of a subcontract.  All cost information must be submitted in US Dollars inclusive of VAT and applicable indirect taxes. See Annex 1 for the budget template. Offerors are advised to propose the most cost effective and competitive approach to achieve the results of the project.  

5.3 Conflict of Interest 

Building Markets takes special care to comply with transparency, accountability and generally applied work ethics within all domestic and donor regulations, and international laws applicable to the countries where it operates. 

Any attempts or suspicion of misconduct to influence the integrity of the procurement process, whether by Building Markets personnel or outside suppliers, will be fully investigated. By submitting your cost proposal, you accept to immediately declare any potential conflict of interest, even if cursory or unintentional, upon becoming aware of such for immediate internal review by the organization. Failure to declare such conflicts of interest, even if accidental, may result in litigation.

5.4 Non-disclosure Agreement and International Compliance 

By submitting your proposal, you agree that in the event of being selected to undertake this project, any team members involved in the development of said project are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement to maintain confidentiality of data involved. 

You also agree to sign anti-terrorism and anti-fraud declaration forms, and have your name searched against an international database conducting terrorism background checks. There is no additional burden to you as a supplier; only consent is required. 

6. Submission Instructions 

Prospective suppliers must submit the following documents to expedite the review process: 

  1. Your Proposal, including:
    1. Cover Letter (optional)
    2. Technical component specifically addressing the requirements listed under “2. Scope of Work”. 
    3. Detailed timeline and schedule of work, taking into account the milestones under “3. Delivery Schedule” 
    4. NOTE - The technical proposal, timeline and quote should maximum 5 pages in length.
  2. Ensure submission of documents presented under “4. Selection Criteria”
  3. Earliest available start date to commence work and lead time;
  4. Cost Proposal (Template included in Annex 1: Budget Template/Price quote in United States Dollars (USD), inclusive of VAT and applicable indirect taxes);
  5. Portfolio of previous similar work (can be a live site link);
  6. Minimum two past client references and written consent to contact them. The reference should include the Client’s name, Organization, contact information (phone and email) and a brief description of the services provided to the Client.

6.1 Electronic Submission Format  

The Offeror must submit the proposal electronically with up to 3 attachments (5 MB limit) per email. Attachments must be compatible with MS Word, MS Excel, or Adobe (PDF) format. Cost proposals should be submitted in excel format with formulas visible. The Offeror must not submit zipped files. Those pages requiring original manual signatures should be scanned and sent in PDF format as an email attachment. 

Please send your technical proposal and cost proposal, in English, to no later than October 21,2019 (23:59 EST). The subject line of the email submissions should be labeled as follows:  Proposal for BM-TR-19-02-008 – Website Customization [Organization Name]

Annex 1: Budget Template for Cost Proposal 

The Offeror should submit their cost proposal using the budget template provided. See filename Building Markets BM-TR-19-02-008 [TEMPLATE]. Offerors are advised to propose the most cost effective and competitive approach to achieve the results of the project.  


October 16, 2019 

Questions and Answers

  1. What’s the technology stack used (version, plugins, architecture, custom code)?
    1. The site is hosted on WP Engine, so the production and staging sites use their stack, which is on at least PHP 7.2. WP Engine hosts on nginx. Locally, developers can run: Apache (recent version), MySQL/MariaDB (recent version), PHP 7 or higher. 
    2. Yes, there is custom code. Some of the custom code is in the contributed plugins. There is at least one completely custom plugin. There is also a custom theme. 
    3. Site plugins include: Advanced Custom Fields, Building Markets Data Importer, Category Icon, Claim Listing for WP Job Manager, Comments Ratings, Customify, Disable All WordPress Updates, Easy Widget Columns, Email Subscription Popup, FacetWP, FacetWP- Polylang, FacetWP- Relevanssi Integration, Google Analytics for WordPress by MonsterInsights, Jetpack by, Login With Ajax, Meta Slider, Nav Menu Roles, PixTypes, Polylang Pro, Really Simple CSV Importer, Relevanssi, Shortcode Widget, Sucuri Security-Auditing, Malware Scanner and Hardening, WordPress Importer, WP Crontrol, WP Job Manager, WP Job Manager- Bookmarks, WP Job Manager- Job Tags, WP Job Manager Field Editor, WP User Avatar, and Zendesk Chat Widget. 
  2. Are you still in contact with the original developers of the site? What kind of documentation is available? Can a sample be shared? 
    1. Yes, Building Markets is still in contact with the original developers of the site. Upon contracting, a handover call will be scheduled with the successful supplier and current developer, which will include a handover of existing documentation. 
  3. Will the four days for discovery time (between the kickoff and handover call) be spent with the current developer?
    1. No, the discovery period is intended to be a working period with the current developer. However, the developer can be available during the discovery period to field questions. 
  4. The website already has English, Turkish, and Arabic. How does this work? What more is required?
    1. The current website uses WP’s Polylang plugin. Static and dynamic content is managed through the site’s dashboard; however, translation inputs are distributed throughout different areas of the site’s backend, which has made the translation process time consuming and cumbersome. Building Markets is looking for an easier to use and more automated translation process. 
  5. How much of the existing site needs UI/UX simplified and streamlined?
    1. The site’s Search Page and Tenders Page need UI/UX simplification and streamlining. BM is open to the supplier’s other recommendations for streamlining site UI/UX. Initial recommendations can be highlighted in the proposal and budget for Building Markets’ consideration. 
  6. Are there currently multiple user types available or just a single user type?
    1. There are currently three user types available (administrators, content managers, and users/customers). 
  7. What is the current hosting plan/ provider?
    1. The website is currently hosted on WP Engine. 
  8. What are the support requirements (SLA, office hours/ time zones, 24/7, etc.)?
    1. Building Markets’ HQ operates between 9AM – 6PM EST. While the supplier may work during the hours of their choosing, the supplier must be routinely available during our working hours, including availability for calls and the ability to respond to email correspondence. These conditions will be agreed upon during the contracting phase. 
  9. Would an application as a remote developer (ex: for international applicants) be considered? 
    1. Yes, an application as a remote developer (such as an international supplier) would be considered; however, reference Question #8 for details on support requirements.