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What is an RFP Document?

An RFP Document is a Request for Proposal that many companies and the U.S. government use in business practices. Perhaps you have heard of an RFP before and just cast it off as a business term that you might use, but not necessarily know the process of. RFP documents are used between businesses that want to create a leveled playing field with other companies that they would like to do business with. The process of creating an RFP document can be overwhelming to some. Read on to learn about a simplistic approach to the RFP process.

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The first step to an RFP is creating a Request for Information. The RFI is like an introduction on what your company is about and what you hope for your company to strive for in the future. Once your company has created its RFI, you can send them out to several different companies which can hopefully help you create your bottom line. The RFI includes typically a set of questions for each company to answer as well as the company’s future plans and other essential details. Once your company has received a sufficient amount of RFIs returned, you can then look over each company’s circumstances and find out which company would work best with yours.

Issuing an RFP

Once you have decided which companies are the right match for your business, you can begin the process of issuing an RFP. The RFP will have more detailed questions than the RFI that both companies can release. These questions might be about the team members that will be working together and timelines that work for each business. Once completed, the RFP document then goes out to your top companies that responded to the original RFI document. The RFP may also be collected by a company that specializes in categorizing and housing RFPs. This company can use your RFP to help other businesses searching for services that your company offers.

Inside of this RFP document will also be your proposal. The company that you have invited from the RFI stage will write out their proposals which will include the solution to your issue and how their company will help resolve it. These should be very detailed and will look completely different for each company.

Request for Quotation

An RFQ is also known as an Invitation For Bid. The RFQ is similar to the RFP except that your company provides its solution and wants to find a company that can provide that solution in the way that your company would like to go about it. The RFQ states what the issue is, what the answer is, how to go about resolving the problem, and what it looks like and how it works. It also includes an idea of what contracts and payments will look like. This is important if your company is on a budget or if it is for a government agency which must always use a budget.


If your business needs something such as a simple good or service from another company they can use a tender bid. Instead of a long and complicated RFP, they will send out a Request for Tenders. If your company wants to find a company that will place their name and phone number on pens, they could use a tender bid. In order to get an RFT the company that you are looking towards will need to subscribe to a tender clearinghouse.


The RFP process is complex has many steps, but if you have a reliable team, you should be able to create one reasonably simply and without error. Because of its complexity, having multiple people responsible for different parts of the RFP is essential. Not only because it will save time, but because each department works differently and will have insider knowledge on specific details that need to be included. Be sure to gather everyone for team meetings so that everything in the RFP is concise, getting coverage, and the information is not being repeated. It also helps to have several people looking at the document to catch last-minute errors.

Case Studies

A case study should be included in your RFP to let other companies know about your company’s experience. This isn’t a very complex issue but can be time-consuming if you put it off. Add your case study to the beginning of your project so that way you can get through the RFP faster.

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