Determine Your Solicitation Type

An overview of the types of solicitations you can use to achieve a successful procurement.

Determine Your Solicitation Type

The RFI, RFP, and RFQ are all tools you can use separately or in combination to achieve a successful procurement. They vary by industry, but here is a general overview:

Request for Information (RFI)

As noted in the previous section, RFIs are used to collect written information about the capabilities of various vendors and suppliers. This helps shorten the list of suppliers that may be able to fulfill your requirements. RFIs typically occur prior to the issuance of an RFP or RFQ, helping to identify vendors who may be more likely to offer a successful bid on your contract.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

RFPs are documents that solicit proposals from prospective bidders. They are often used when the request requires technical expertise, specialized capability, or when the product or service being requested does not yet exist. When you know you have a problem but don’t know how you want to solve it, consider the RFP approach.

Request for Quote (RFQ)

RFQs invite suppliers to bid on specific products or services. RFQ generally means the same thing as IFB (Invitation for Bid). Information like payment terms or contract length may be requested during the RFQ process. They are beneficial when you know what you want and which companies are capable of providing it but you want more detailed pricing information. RFQs may come after an RFP, allowing the shortlisted vendors to provide a more detailed price quote.

Most of the guidance in this section applies to RFPs, which offer you the best chance to specify your needs and outline product demands. According to GSA’s Guidance on Creating 508 Compliant IT Solicitations, “a well-written solicitation goes a long way toward ensuring agency compliance and accessible IT.” A vendor won’t know which technical standards apply to your procurement unless you clearly lay them out. Specify accessibility requirements based on your particular agency’s mandatory or voluntary compliance requirements. Coherent expectations incentivize vendors to offer the best accessible products and services to meet the needs of all your employees and customers, including those with disabilities.

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