Write Sample RFP for Access Control and Security Systems

By Bernhard Mehl
May 17, 2018

RFP for Access Control Template

With the advancement of technology, the number of crimes recorded is also increasing day by day. Thereby the need for quality surveillance devices has also increased. More and more retail stores are installing video surveillance system like CCTV cameras to monitor any untoward movement and to keep both cash and goods safe. Access Control system and intrusion alarm system are other important aspects of the security system. Large-scale projects often require engineers and security consultants to strategise a surveillance system and to draft an RFP.

 Breaking down “RFP”

RFP stands for Request for Proposal. A document is drawn that states how much an organisation is bidding for a project. The RFP outlines the terms of contract and bidding process and also presents a guideline regarding the way the bid should be formatted. It also helps in reviewing the bids and examining the profitability of the project. A Request for Proposal usually includes the background of the company and its area of interest. 

Access Control System Overview
An Access Control System


Figure 1: The System of Access Control

How to create a professional RFP

The Request for Proposal or RFP for Access Control should be formally drafted such that there are no issues later regarding the authorization, legitimacy and guidelines of the project. The Access Control system may be biometric-based or Smart Card based. Other types of Access Control system are also available. The checklist for Access Control RFP includes: 

- Before writing an RFP for Access Control, the writer must do extensive research on the project s/he is writing the RFP for. It is necessary to understand what type of Access Control system the organisation is investing in and study their features and USP. The writer should also be in contact with the company providing security to understand their working guidelines and the products offered by them. 

- The RFP writer should also talk with the members of the organisation that is installing the security system. The writer should ask about their previous experiences and what type of access control devices they had used.

- After the research comes the writing part. It should include all the specifications of the product, the installation period and other factors. Basically, there are three ways to note down the specifications for Access Control RFP:

1. Proprietary method: It contains a detailed product description, the name of the manufacturer of the access control device and the model. Through this type of RFP Template Access Control, the buying organization will have complete control over the item being purchased and the installation process.

2. Descriptive method: This method takes a detailed approach. Every detail of the access control system is provided such that it can be verified at the time of installation. In this case, the manufacturer and the model numbers are not mentioned. As the company has the flexibility to choose the equipment, it often increases the competition in the market. 

3. Performance method: In this type of RFP, the focus is on the end result. The proposer has the power to select the equipment and design the system. It may reduce the cost of the project. But, for this, the Access Control Template RFP should be precise and clear.

The time required for installation of the Access Control system should be clearly stated and based on prior experiences. It should not be too short as then the system may not be properly installed or will increase the costs significantly. Besides this, the phrase ‘or equal’ should be appropriately used.

The RFP for Access Control should also contain details about the working conditions such that the security system installation contractor will know beforehand what to expect. This is will also avoid disputes over working hours and availability of tools and equipment on the working site.

The components of RFP for Access Control

  Some of the key components of the Access Control system are listed below:

Reasons to use an Access Control RFP

Here are some reasons that state how crucial a RFP Template Access Control is:

- Requirements: The RFP helps in the cognition process, that is, the organization can recognize the requirements of the system in detail. Various departments within the organization can also contribute to the process.

- System comparisons: The RFP Template for Access Control can also be used to draw comparisons in terms of costing, utility, features and installation process. If the organization is partnering with value-added resellers (VAR), then the RFP should state their experience with different companies. This goes a long way in earning the trust of the company the organization is dealing with. After all, the aim is to install a secured system.

Access Control System Components
Access Control System Components

- Scripted demonstrations: It is important to recognize the vendors who talk in hyperbole. The RFP draft will ensure that both the organization and security consultant or vendor follow the guidelines. The RFP should focus on the key functioning areas, the quality of the equipment and the process of the installation. If either of the parties deviates from the guidelines, the other can bring it to notice.

- Return on Investment: While writing the RFP, extensive research has to be conducted. This way the concerned persons will come across various access control components, installation costs and various other factors. It will help in making a well-informed decision. This also means that the organisation will have access to the best security gadgets at the best price. At the same time, the Return on Investment (ROI) will also increase.

- Everything in details: Needless to say, a detailed and organised layout of the project will help in solving all the issues. 

It is crucial to install a secured and efficient Access Control system in an organisation. The appropriate equipment must be chosen and an RFP should be drawn up to ensure smooth completion of the project. This article was just an attempt to walk through the steps of writing an RFP for Access Control.




Phone-based systems are not just a small-business solution. CEO of Kisi, Bernhard Mehl, comments: “If you see the average of three doors connected then that might seem low but, in reality, one door relates to around 50 employees—so those are locations with about 150 people on average, including satellite offices. That’s quite significant.”

Mobile Access Control Adoption by Industry

Kisi examined which industries are investing the most in mobile access control technology. To do so, the average size of mobile access control installation projects by industry were measured. Commercial real estate topped the list with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Education management came in last with 1.0 door running mobile access per facility. 

Physical Security Statistics: Mobile Access by Industry

The number of shooting incidents at K-12 schools, according to the CHDS, reached an all-time high at 97 incidents in 2018—compared to 44 in 2017. Cloud-based access control companies, like Kisi, offer a lockdown feature for active shooter situations or emergencies, making it an effective protective layer for places that are targeted, such as religious institutions, which come in near the top of the list with 4.0 doors running mobile access per facility. 

Based on industry size, it makes sense that commercial real estate tops the list, with 23.5 doors running mobile access per facility. Cloud-based access control enables these larger organizations to scale more seamlessly and allows large organizations, like telecommunications, to deploy the most manageable IT solutions available, eliminating the need to create and manage a business’s own IT infrastructure over time.

“Commercial real estate is, of course, the driver of mobile adoption since they have the largest buildings,” Mehl adds. “The key here is to show that mobile-first technologies are not a risk but an innovation that brings positive ROI and allows agencies to reposition their buildings as forward-thinking establishments.”

The scalabelilty and ease of use in onboarding an organization allows many different types of industries and businesses of different sizes to adapt a cloud-based access control system, either using keycard or mobile credentials for access. 

Mobile Access Control by State

Looking specifically at the United States, Kisi analyzed in which states companies are investing the most into upgrading to smartphone-enabled access systems. Of the currently installed base of access control readers, around 20 percent will be mobile capable by 2022, according to a recent IHS report. Cloud-based systems, like Kisi, are future-proof—allowing over-the-air updates in real time and unlimited scalability for users.

“Mobile unlock technology makes you think of the major tech hubs like New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles,” Mehl adds. “Looking at which states have the largest projects, it’s surprising and refreshing that those are not the typical ‘tech cities, and yet that’s where access control technology really makes an impact.” The fact that the largest projects are seen in states outside of the typical tech startup landscape is evidence that mobile access control is highly applicable across industry sectors.

For further questions about this study, reach out to Kait Hobson (kait@getkisi.com)

Bernhard Mehl

Bernhard is the co-founder and CEO of Kisi. His philosophy, "security is awesome," is contagious among tech-enabled companies.

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