RFQ meaning: Definition and a simple guide

Delve into the meaning of Request for Quote (RFQ), distinguish it from RFPs and RFIs, and explore the RFQ process crucial for efficient procurement strategies.

In the realm of procurement, understanding various request documents such as Request for Quote (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP), and Request for Information (RFI) is crucial. This guide will help you understand what an RFQ is, how it differs from other procurement processes, and the typical steps involved in the RFQ process.

What is an RFQ?

A Request for Quote (RFQ) is a procurement document used by companies to invite suppliers to bid on specific products or services. It typically focuses on the price aspect, as it requires detailed information about the quantity and specifications of the goods or services. An RFQ is used when the requirements are clear, specifications are defined, and the purchase is largely price-driven.


While both RFQ and RFP are key in procurement, they serve different purposes:

  • RFQ (Request for Quote): Focuses primarily on the price for specific items whose specifications are already known.
  • RFP (Request for Proposal): Seeks detailed proposals on how a project’s goals can be achieved or how the service will be provided. It involves more than just price—focusing on value, expertise, and the vendor’s approach.

Comparing RFI, RFQ, and RFP

Understanding the distinctions among RFI, RFQ, and RFP can streamline your procurement processes:

  • RFI (Request for Information): Used in the initial phase of procurement to gather general vendor capabilities, products, or services before detailed requests (like an RFQ or RFP) are issued.
  • RFQ (Request for Quote): Targets vendors who can provide detailed prices for specific items.
  • RFP (Request for Proposal): Requests detailed proposals on how a project will be executed, emphasizing qualitative evaluations alongside price.

The RFQ Process

The process of using an RFQ generally involves the following steps:

  1. Preparation: Define the products or services needed, specifying quantities and technical specifications.
  2. Issuance: Send out the RFQ to potential suppliers who can meet the specifications.
  3. Receiving Bids: Collect bids from suppliers by a specified deadline.
  4. Evaluation: Assess the bids based on price and the supplier’s ability to meet the requirements and deadlines.
  5. Awarding: Select the supplier that offers the best value, often leading to contract negotiations.


The RFQ is a fundamental tool in procurement, especially when price is the predominant factor in supplier selection. Understanding how RFQs work alongside RFIs and RFPs can help businesses streamline their procurement strategies, ensuring that they engage the right suppliers under the right terms. Properly managing this process is key to obtaining the best value in purchases.