RFQ explained: Definition and a simple guide

Understand what an RFQ is, how it differs from an RFP, and how to effectively use RFQs in your procurement strategies.

Understanding the nuances of procurement documents like RFQs (Request for Quotation) and RFPs (Request for Proposal) is crucial for anyone involved in the procurement process of a company. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of RFQs, explains how they differ from RFPs, and discusses their role in enhancing business operations.

What is an RFQ?

A Request for Quotation (RFQ) is a procurement document used by businesses to invite suppliers to bid on specific products or services. An RFQ typically includes detailed information about the quantity and quality requirements, allowing suppliers to offer their best prices for the items listed.

Understanding the Difference Between RFQ and RFP

While both RFQ and RFP are common in the procurement process, they serve different purposes and are used under different circumstances:

  • RFQ (Request for Quotation): This is used when the requirements are clear, specific, and quantifiable. It’s mostly about the price for specified goods or services.
  • RFP (Request for Proposal): This is used when the project is complex or not clearly defined, and the buyer is not only looking for pricing but also for ideas and methodologies from the suppliers. It’s more about the solution approach and the value addition the vendor can provide.

When to Use RFQs in Procurement

RFQs are particularly useful when:

  • The items or services needed are standardized and well-defined.
  • The primary decision factor is price.
  • The market has many vendors who can supply the same material or service.

How Businesses Use RFQs

Businesses utilize RFQs to streamline their procurement process and ensure they are getting competitive prices for bulk purchases. The process typically involves:

  1. Preparation: Defining the requirements clearly to ensure accurate quotations.
  2. Issuance: Sending out the RFQ to multiple suppliers to foster competitive pricing.
  3. Evaluation: Comparing received quotes not just on price but also on supplier reliability, quality, and delivery timelines.
  4. Awarding: Choosing the supplier that offers the best value, often leading to negotiations for further contract terms.

Benefits of RFQ in Business

Using RFQs effectively can yield numerous benefits for a business, including:

  • Cost Efficiency: Ensuring competitive pricing through multiple supplier bids.
  • Speed: Faster procurement cycles since the focus is on price comparison and straightforward specifications.
  • Accuracy: Clear specifications reduce the risk of misunderstandings or supply of incorrect items.


Understanding and using RFQs effectively is crucial for optimizing procurement strategies. By clearly distinguishing between RFQ and RFP, businesses can choose the most appropriate approach based on their specific needs, ensuring both cost efficiency and supplier alignment with business goals.