Request for Quote (RFQ)

What is a Request For Quote (RFQ)?

A Request For Quote (RFQ) is a formal document that business entities use to solicit price quotes from prospective suppliers. This process is commonly used in procuring goods and services and helps buyers get the best possible deal.

The RFQ should include all product specifications and requirements the buyer wants the supplier to meet, such as contract length, delivery timelines, and service levels. RFQs ensure that all vendors provide quotes based on the same information, making it easier to compare and choose the best option. Once received, each quote is evaluated based on cost, quality, and other factors.

RFQs are typically used for high-value or complex purchases, such as construction projects or major equipment purchases.


  • RFQ
  • Request for quotation
  • Quote request
  • Invitation for bid (IFB)

The RFQ Process

The Request for Quote RFQ process is a formalized way for businesses to request bids from suppliers. RFQs typically contain detailed information such as product specs and vendor qualification criteria. Suppliers will use this information to prepare their bids, which they will submit to the business. The business will then review all the quotes and choose the supplier they determine offers the best value.

Companies use the RFQ process for simple and complex purchases. For simple purchases, an RFQ may just request a price quote. For more complex purchases, an RFQ may request information on the vendor’s qualifications, experience, and proposed approach to the project.

There are typically six steps in the RFQ process:

1. Define the project requirements to ensure that all potential vendors have a common understanding of the scope of work and can provide accurate proposals.

There are a few key elements that should be included in the project requirements section:

  • A brief overview of the project
  • The specific objectives or goals of the project
  • Key deliverables
  • Any necessary skills or experience required from the vendor
  • Any other relevant information that would be helpful for vendors to know

2. Identify potential suppliers. An RFI (request for information) may be sent to potential suppliers first to narrow down the list of vendors

3. Send out the RFQ to selected suppliers, clearly stating all requirements and evaluation criteria.

4. Review and compare bids on essential factors like price, quality, references, customer service, and experience.

5. Select the winning bid.

6. Negotiate with the chosen vendor on price, delivery, and other terms and conditions of the contract.

Benefits of Requests for Quotes

When procuring goods or services, there are many benefits of using requests for quotes (RFQs). First, RFQs help ensure the buyer gets the best possible price for the product or service they need. In addition, RFQs can help buyers compare vendors on other factors like quality, service, responsiveness, and timelines to choose the one that best fits their needs. Finally, RFQs can help create a competitive environment, resulting in better prices and terms for the buyer.

Types of Requests for Quotes

Open Bid RFQ

An open bid RFQ is a type of request for quotation in which the solicitation is publicly announced and all companies are invited to submit a sales proposal. This allows for a fair and competitive process, as all interested parties have an equal opportunity to participate.

There are several benefits to using an open bid RFQ process. First, it ensures that all companies have an equal opportunity to compete for the project. Second, it allows for a more competitive process, as companies can submit their best proposal without worrying about being undercut by a lower bid. Finally, it increases transparency and accountability, as all proposals are made public and can be scrutinized by anyone interested in the project.

There are some drawbacks to using an open bid RFQ process as well. First, it can be time-consuming, as the RFP must be issued, proposals must be reviewed, and a selection committee must be convened. Second, it can be costly for vendors that may incur expenses in preparing their proposals. Third, there is always the possibility that the selection committee may not choose the best company for the project.

Despite the drawbacks, the open bid RFQ process is often seen as the best way to ensure a fair and competitive process. It allows all interested companies to participate and submit their best pricing while increasing transparency and accountability.

Sealed Bid RFQ

A sealed bid request for quotation (RFQ) is a procurement process in which suppliers submit sealed bids, and the supplier’s name is not visible to the buyers. The contents of the bids are not revealed to any other bidders until after the submission deadline. Businesses use this type of RFQ for high-value projects where they must ensure all bidders have a level playing field and that there is no favoritism or collusion.

Invited Bid RFQ

An invited bid RFQ is a formal solicitation in which specific potential vendors are invited to submit a bid for a project or contract. This type of RFQ is generally used when the scope of work is well-defined and a limited number of qualified vendors can provide the necessary goods or services.

Reverse Auction RFQ

Suppliers compete to offer the lowest prices for products or services in a reverse auction RFQ. The buyer issues the RFQ and solicits bids from multiple suppliers. The supplier with the lowest bid wins the contract.

Reverse auctions are commonly used to procure commoditized goods and services with little to no differentiation between suppliers and there is a need to secure competitive pricing from multiple suppliers quickly.

The advantage of using a reverse auction RFQ is that it allows buyers to obtain the lowest possible price for a product or service. The disadvantage is that it can be difficult to assess the quality of bids, and the lowest bidder may not be the best supplier.

When issuing a reverse auction RFQ, companies must clearly define the terms of the auction and what is being procured. The RFQ should also include information on how bids will be evaluated and what criteria will be used to award the contract.

Responding to a Request for Quote

Vendors must follow best practices when responding to an RFQ to have the best chance of being selected for the project. Here are some best practices suppliers should keep in mind to increase their chances of being awarded the project:

  1. Thoroughly read and understand the RFQ document and tailor the response by addressing all required information. The evaluators will look for a complete picture, so omitting small details could hurt a vendor’s chances.
  2. Take the time to craft a well-written and professional response. This shows that the vendor is taking the process seriously and are capable of producing high-quality work.
  3. When a vendor has questions about the RFQ, they should reach out to the evaluators for clarification. This shows that they are taking responsibility for fully understanding the requirements.

How CPQ Helps Vendors Respond to RFQs

CPQ, or Configure Price Quote, software is a valuable tool for responding to requests for quotes (RFQs). CPQ can help vendors quickly generate accurate price quotes based on customer specifications. This can save time and improve a vendor’s chances of winning the business.

In addition, CPQ can help suppliers manage discounts and promotions, ensuring they always quote the most competitive price. It also helps with quote management and tracking quote history, so they can see how their prices have changed over time. This data can be useful in negotiating with customers.

When an RFQ is received, the CPQ software will analyze the specifications and requirements of the project. It will then generate a quote based on the data entered. The generated quote will include all necessary information, such as pricing, terms, and conditions. This can save a company time and money and help optimize revenue by ensuring they do not have to create custom quotes for each RFQ they receive.

People Also Ask

What is the purpose of a request for quote?

The purpose of an RFQ is to ensure that all suppliers provide the same information and that the company can compare apples to apples when it comes time to make a decision. This process can help save time and money and ultimately help the company procure the best possible goods or services.

What is RFQ used for?

An RFQ is a document that a company issues to solicit competitive bids from suppliers for certain goods or services. The RFQ will usually include detailed specifications for the desired goods or services, as well as information on delivery timelines and other requirements.

An RFQ ensures that a company gets the best price for goods or services. A company can compare prices and choose the most favorable offer by soliciting bids from multiple suppliers. In some cases, an RFQ may also be used to assess the quality of potential suppliers before entering into a contract with them.

What is the difference between RFQ and RFP?

The primary difference between RFQ and RFP is that RFQ is usually used in procurement processes when the buyer is seeking prices from suppliers, while RFP (request for proposal) is generally used when the buyer is looking for more detailed information about a supplier’s capabilities. Both documents are issued by buyers during procurement to gather suppliers’ information.

However, there are some key differences between the two. RFQs are typically issued when the buyer already has a good idea of what they need and simply seeks prices from different suppliers. On the other hand, RFPs are generally issued when the buyer has a specific requirement but is unsure which supplier can best meet that need.