One of the tells of how well a prospective client actually understands the web is the amount of time they give for various deadlines in their web site RFP.
If you are going to go the RFP route for getting proposals to design or redesign or provide additional functionality for your website, let me make a suggestion:
Figure out what you think is a reasonable timeline for the RFP.
Then add at least 2 weeks to each of the deadlines. Maybe a month. Maybe more… it depends on how complicated the site is going to be.
Web developers understand that some folks are in a hurry to get their website done. Sometimes that has to be done, but usually this is just either based on bad judgment or a lack of preparation by the prospective client. That is a Red Flag.
It also indicates an assumption by the interested organization that the web developer has plenty of time right now to respond to that RFP. A good developer is usually a busy developer, and the ones that have time this very minute… well, you can draw your own conclusions.
A client should want a site that once finished, you, your marketplace, your employers… all are going to use in some fashion for the next several years as it is built. So don’t you want the web developer to have plenty of time to determine what your organization needs? Give them time. I will be honest. If I get an RFP, and a response is expected in three weeks or less, I delete it on the spot. I’m not even going to think about it, because the client is telling me some things about themselves and their view of the web that I see as problematic: they want to get it done quick, not concerned about getting it done well.
That’s just too wasteful of an approach, and there are plenty of other places on the web where organizations can get it done like that.
There are plenty of other red flags for web developers. If you want to see them in a bit of a funny way, check out this page.