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A request for quotation (RFQ) or quote request is a standard business process whose purpose is to invite suppliers into a bidding process to bid on specific products or services. RFQ, generally means the same thing as IFB (Invitation For Bid).
An RFQ typically involves more than the price per item. Information like payment terms, quality level per item or contract length are possible to be requested during the bidding process.
To receive correct quotes, RFQs often include the specifications of the items/services to make sure all the suppliers are bidding on the same item/service. Logically, the more detailed the specifications, the more accurate the quote will be and comparable to the other suppliers. Another reason for being detailed in sending out an RFQ is that the specifications could be used as legal binding documentation for the suppliers.
The suppliers have to return the bidding by a set date and time to be considered for an award. Discussions may be held on the bids (often to clarify technical capabilities or to note errors in a proposal). The bid does not have to mean the end of the bidding. Multiple rounds can follow or even a reverse auction can follow to generate the best market price.
RFQs are best suited to products and services that are as standardised and as commoditised as possible, as this makes each supplier’s quote comparable. In practice, many businesses use an RFQ where an RFT or RFI would be more appropriate.
An RFQ allows different contractors to provide a quotation, among which the best will be selected. It also makes the potential for competitive bidding a lot higher, since the suppliers could be quite certain that they are not the only ones bidding for the products.
Requests for quotations are most commonly used in the business environment but can also be found being applied to domestic markets.