The key is in the name: a Request for Quote (RFQ) is an informal request where agencies ask available vendors to provide a quote for specific goods or services. A Request for Proposal (RFP) seeks a formal proposal. Interested vendors will provide their ideas for the project, while requesting agencies will (ideally) receive a wide variety of creative solutions.

Essentially, it’s the difference between a formal request and an informal request. While both methods have their own legal processes, a formal request leaves no room for interpretation or overnight changes. Informal requests—like the eRFQs you’ll find on GovQuote—have a more casual structure, allowing for more flexibility and a quicker turnaround.

Because RFPs are part of a formal procurement process, deadlines are set in advance; this is to make way for a larger pool of proposals. Edits can only be made with an official addendum. On the flipside, due to the informal nature of the quoting process, agencies may change the details or deadline of an RFQ without a formal addendum. Agencies may also award an RFQ before the assigned due date without penalty.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
An RFP is a formal Request For Proposal. Agencies are required to create these in-depth documents for major purchases above their Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT). Despite a bad reputation for being lengthy and complicated, this structure can be helpful for large-scale problems that don’t have an off-the-shelf solution. Take, for instance, a building remodel or website redesign; these things take time, negotiation, and planning.

Request for Quote (RFQ)
Meanwhile, a Request for Quote (RFQ) is an informal way for agencies to request goods and services. Also known as “3 bids and a buy,” RFQs RFQs are used for purchases below an agency’s SAT; most notably, they are used for simple, on-demand purchases, rather than long-term projects. RFQs are what we’d consider the bread and butter of procurement.
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