The fact that writing is not among the most profitable careers is common knowledge, but most people are also aware that technical writers have higher average salaries than most in the field. Are you hoping to build a successful career as a Request for Proposal (RFP) writer? You will be curious what current RFP writers earn per year, on average, as well as what regions of the United States offer the highest paying jobs for RFP writers.
Average Salary for RFP Writers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains a database that tracks salary tends across professions. They offer the information that, as of 2020, the median annual salary for writers and authors is $67,120 — while professionals in fields such as technical writing and grantmaking generally receive higher average yearly wages of around $69,000.
What is the average salary, per year, for writers in a highly technical sector such as RFP writing, especially once the fact that these writers rely on a strong background in business and proposal writing is taken into consideration?
ZipRecruiter documents that RFP writers in the US make an average salary of $84,161 on a yearly basis. RFP writers earning salaries that fall into the lowest 10 percent make $54,000 or less. The highest-paid professionals in RPF writing can, meanwhile, bring home over $114,500 per year.
Glassdoor’s data indicates a similar average annual salary — across the United States — of $64,900.
PayScale only supplies data for the somewhat broader category of proposal writer, which may include the crafting of Request for Proposal documents. In this case, the average yearly salary stands at $59,121, which salary ranges between $41,000 and $81,000 being the most common in this sector.
Clearly, the realistic earnings potential of an aspiring RFP writer will be influenced by numerous factors that range from their education and experience in the field and beyond, to their location and type of companies they are applying to work with. Some RFP writers may be permanently employed, while others run their own businesses as self-employed solopreneurs.
What Do RFP Writers Make Per Hour?
According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly income RFP writers make is $40, significantly exceeding the federal minimum wage as well as the hourly rate most writers in other fields are able to get. PayScale, which offers information regarding the general category of proposal writers, estimates that proposal writers earn an average of $23.77 per hour. This indicates that RFP writers are among the highest earners in the field.
Salary Based on Experience
RFP writing is one sector in which it is easy to notice an upward salary trend as professionals gain experience. PayScale, for example, declares that proposal writers:
- With less than one year of experience in the field make an average of $49,000 per year.
- Who have one to four years of experience make a higher average salary of $55,000 per year.
- Make $65,000 per year, on average, after accumulating five to nine years of experience.
- Who are highly experienced, with 10 to 20+ years of experience, can earn an annual salary between $73,000 and $78,000, or even higher.
RFP writers have a slightly higher earnings potential than proposal writers in general. The trend remains the same, however, and more experienced RFP writers can count on increased income.
Salary Based on Education
Based on information presented by Salary.com regarding proposal writers, the salary potential for RFP writers rises by approximately $1,000 per year with each level of education, meaning that someone with an Associate’s degree will make around $3,000 less on an annual basis compared to an RFP writer who holds a PhD or equivalent qualification. This does not take the writer’s level of experience into account. Highly experienced RFP writers who have completed a Bachelor’s degree may even out with those who hold a Master’s degree once they have four or more years of experience under their belts, and have built a corresponding professional reputation.
Top Paying States
California is, according to ZipRecruiter, not only the top-paying state for RFP writers, but also the state in which the highest number of vacancies are found. North Dakota, New York, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Alaska also all offer above-average salary ranges for RFP writers.
RFP writers have one of the most technical writing careers possible, and the high level of expertise required to perform this complex job is already reflected in the salaries that early-career professionals tend to receive. RFP writers can expect their annual income to rise with time, as we have seen.
Those who are not satisfied with staying in the same role also have notable career progression opportunities. Experienced RFP writers could consider moving up the ladder to become RFP consultants, senior proposal writers, or senior technical writers, to name a number of examples.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in technical writing are projected to rise seven percent in the coming decade. This is less than the national average across all professions, but those who are located in states where RFP writers are in high demand, such as California, will have broader opportunities.
What Exactly Does an RFP Writer Do?
RFP writers are tasked with crafting Request for Proposal (FFP) documents, which play a key role in governmental institutions as well as in numerous private commercial ventures. A Request of Proposal:
- Declares the commencement of a project.
- Describes the project in meticulous detail.
- Invites contractors who meet the requirements to bid.
Over the course of creating RFP documents, RPF writers can expect to be engaged in a variety of equally demanding tasks, and they may:
- Research all aspects of the scope and sequence of the project, using internal sources as well as external sources. That includes working together with other departments to ensure budgeting considerations are correct.
- Identify the laws and regulations that apply over the course of the project.
- Researching and stating the conditions potential contractors must meet in order to bid.
- Writing Request of Proposal documents, and revising them as needed.
Once a Request for Proposal is complete, the document can then be forwarded to potential contractors, who may then bid to undertake the project or, in some cases, a facet of it.
How to Become an RFP Writer?
After — or while — pursuing a relevant degree (most commonly journalism, English, or communications, although a business degree can also lead to a career as an RFP writer), should strongly consider volunteering with charitable organizations or non-governmental organizations. These opportunities can allow aspiring proposal writers to begin familiarizing themselves with the technical details of writing proposal documents. In addition, experience as a volunteer in this area will offer access to mentoring as well as the opportunity to build up a professional network of people who may later inform you of paid vacancies. Volunteer experience is still experience, as well, and it can prove to be valuable on your resume.
Qualifications to Be an RFP Writer
Most RFP writers will have pursued degrees, Bachelor’s degrees or beyond, in journalism, English, or communications, perhaps with a declared focus on technical writing. A degree in business is also very relevant.
Skills to Be an RFP Writer
While RFP writers rely strongly on technical skills, soft skills will also help. Besides the obvious requirement of being highly skilled in writing Requests for Proposal documents, employers will either demand or strongly prefer the following aptitudes:
- Exceptional research and fact-checking skills.
- Meticulous attention to details.
- The ability to closely follow instructions.
- A working understanding of the laws that are relevant in the field can be extremely beneficial.
- Strong and clear communication skills, necessary not only to be able to write compelling Request for Proposal documents, but also as the RFP writer coordinates with other team members.
- Excellent time-management skills; the best RFP writer will be a self-started who is always motivated and is able to forge ahead by working on their own much of the time.
- A high-level of multi-tasking is required during the research stages of RFP writing, so those people who are able to handle 50 different things more or less at once will have an edge.
At the heart of an RFP writer’s core skills lie superior writing skills, however. Yes, that includes technical writing skills, but creativity and persuasive writing skills are also must-haves.
Can You Be an RFP Writer Without a Degree?
No. Without exception, prospective employers will look for RFP writers who possess, at the very minimum, an Associate’s degree.
Although degrees in fields related to writing — such as journalism, communications, and English — are most common in this field, those with other relevant degrees, including in business and law, may also have opportunities in this field, however. These aspiring RFP writers can increase their emloyability by taking additional writing courses.