RFQ vs. RFP.

A woman reviews a request for proposal for services for her business.

Not sure whether you need a request for quote or a request for proposal? Learn the difference between an RFQ and an RFP.

What’s an RFQ?

A request for quote (RFQ) is a document used in the procurement process that requests pricing options for a specific product or service. Companies typically issue an RFQ when they know exactly what they want from a vendor and don’t need any additional details, or when they want a head-to-head pricing comparison between competing vendors.

RFQs can be commonly referenced in specific situations. These include:

  1. When there are known variables involved. You can ask for a direct price comparison in your request for quote, saving you time in the proposal process.
  2. You’re comparing goods rather than services. Services are more nuanced, but the cost of goods is direct. Your RFQ can be a simple price comparison to use as a tool in your decision-making process.

What’s an RFP?

By contrast, a request for proposal (RFP) describes the scope of a proposed project in detail.

In addition to requesting pricing from potential vendors, the RFP will break down the requirements of the entire project, including the project duration, scope of work, and required experience. Responses from would-be vendors, called proposals, should contain everything the business needs to know about how a vendor will solve their problem or complete their project.

There is a difference between RFQ and RFP in the context of when it’s used. An RFP may be referenced when:

  1. The scope is complex. An RFP is notably more nuanced than an RFQ, outlining all of the terms of a specific service package. You can use this for more complex decision-making processes.
  2. You’re undergoing a service bidding process. These documents can help if you’re evaluating the best value from a given list of services. Using these can significantly shorten your bidding process.


What are the differences between an RFP and an RFI?

A request for information (RFI), is a formal process for gathering information from potential suppliers of a good or service. These are used to gauge a vendor’s soft skills, and can be leveraged to start a conversation with them regarding services. RFIs are considered to be the most broad and first of a series of requests of potential vendor candidates.

Generally, an RFP is more direct than an RFI. You’re asking for explicit service information, presented in a competitive way. This allows you to have a more efficient and fruitful bidding process and resolution.

When to use an RFQ versus an RFP.

Generally, businesses use an RFQ when they already know the exact product or service they need, and all they are looking for is the price.

An RFP may be used when a business isn’t entirely sure what they need. They’re requesting vendors to send in a proposal outlining how they would solve the given problem.

An RFP may also be issued to identify vendors who can perform a specific type of work or provide a specific service, or to weigh competing project approaches and qualifications of multiple potential bidders. Formal bids may follow the submission of proposals to complete the vendor selection process.

Almost all requests for quotes and proposals are sent electronically. It simplifies collecting proposals and evaluating quotes, and it speeds up the approval process when it’s time to sign a contract on the dotted line. Electronic signature software like Adobe Acrobat Sign will help you manage procurement documents — from RFQs to RFPs and beyond ― with the click of a button.

Discover everything you can do with Adobe Acrobat Sign to help make your procurement process more efficient.