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What is Request for Quote (RFQ)

What Is a Request for Quote (RFQ)?

A request for quote (RFQ), also known as an invitation for bid (IFB), is a process in which a company solicits select suppliers and contractors to submit price quotes and bids for the chance to fulfill certain tasks or projects. The RFQ process is especially important to businesses that need a consistent supply of a specific number of standard products. Companies may send RFQs alone or before a request for proposal (RFP). 

How Requests for a Quote Work

An RFQ is usually the first step in submitting a request for proposal (RFP). These two documents are similar as they provide details of the project or services required, but RFQs generally ask for a more comprehensive price quote. Also, businesses usually design RFQs for generic products in which the quantity needed is known, and RFPs are for unique, niche projects where quantities and specifications are unknown.

In addition to pricing, RFQs may include details such as payment terms, factors that could influence a company’s bid selection, submission deadline, and the like. A government agency that wants to buy 500 computers with a specific hard drive size and processing speed, for example, would send an RFQ to several vendors as prospective bidders.

Because the RFQ format is uniform within a given company, when the RFQs come back with price quotes, the soliciting company may compare them easily. Typically, an RFQ process consists of four sections: the preparation phase, the processing phase, the awarding phase, and the closing phase. The company generally will award the contract to the vendor that meets the minimum qualifying criteria and presents the lowest bid.