Difference between an RFI, RFQ, and RFP

by Josh Biggs in Business on 1st July 2019

Although the (RFI), (RFP) and (RFQ) are short-forms used to represent Request for Information,   Request for Proposal and Request for Quote; many people cannot tell the actual difference(s) between them, or make out the very best out of each option. This article will show what each of them represents and how they truly differ from one another.

Come along with me!

Let’s start with RFI.

Starting from the basics, “RFX” is often used to refer to ‘Request for diverse document kinds’ form suppliers; of course, the word document covers a wide scope. We can categorize these documents into

  • Request for Information
  • Request for Proposal
  • Request for Quote

Request for Information (RFI)

RFI is often employed when there seems to be no visible solution to a business problem; or when the solution seems not to be clearly defined. We can also say that,” the RFI is really an important document utilized by companies who don’t have a proper grasp of the market place they are about (or intend) to venture into. If the company has no prior experience with the market place it wishes to venture into, it will have to use an RFI to glean the necessary information it wishes to have concerning the marketplace.

We can simply say that RFI is in essence, a fact-finding document.

Moving on to RFP

An RFP, on the other hand, is a document that requests vendors to propose feasible solutions to the problems of their customers, or business requirements. The sequence is often that a company goes from RFI to RFP; it rarely happens the other way round

An RFP is often specific about a company’s needs and this is done by outlining the business goals for the project and adequately listing out in order, the specific requirements for the work being requested.

An RFP often has enough details to about what the vendors require, the context required for the proposition of a working solution, flexibility to accommodate best practices and creativity of the vendor. Often times, we can see the effective utilization of the RFP in the activities of the Supply Chain Management Unit.

Request for Quote (RFQ)

An RFQ can be referred to as a more detailed document, when in comparison with the others. Most times, an RFQ is used to obtain exact specifications useful to a company such as delivery information, pricing, and the boundaries for terms and conditions from the suppliers.

Should in case the requestors possesses adequate understanding about various specifications and requirements, the customer will have to feed the supply chain management with enough information (covering delivery schedule and delivery), to procure the specific service or product required.

In as much as the documents seem to have unique attributes about them; there is one unifying factor, which is that the customer government entity has no specific business in appointing any service provider as regards the issuing of any of the requests.


Let’s see the Differences that exist between them.

  • Request for Information (RFI) comes into the scene when you have an idea of what you want but require more information from the vendors.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP) is used when you don’t know how to solve your problem. It is what follows an RFI
  • Request for Quote (RFQ) is used when you actually know what you want but you require information from the vendors to find out the about specification and requirement. Tools like Quikflw can be very helpful.

So which is the best?

Although all of them have their place in business world, I have personally pitched my tent with the RFI and RFP collaboration. RFQ, on the other hand, is a good model to use when you already know what you want to do. If you want to be successful, automation is required. Luckily, many tools can save you a lot of valuable time with their well tested templates and precise tracking.


Categories: Business