Navigating Through Government Contracting Bid Labels: What do they mean?

As a Small Business owner interested in entering government contracting, you might get feel puzzled at the different abbreviations public entities use for bids. We are here to help you with the missing puzzle piece by briefly explaining what each abbreviation means so that you can decide according to what your business is.

What is a Bid?

An offer to furnish goods, services, or construction with the specifications, delivery terms and conditions, and other requirements included.

Request for Information (RFI) is used when public entities have an idea of what they want but need more information from the vendors. It will typically be followed by an RFQ or RFP.

Request for Quote (RFQuote) is commonly used when public entities know what they want but need information on how vendors would meet their requirements and/or how much it will cost them.

Request for Proposal (RFP) is used when public entities know they have a problem but don’t know how the proposer would want to solve it. This is the most formal of the “Request for” processes and has strict procurement rules for content, timeline and vendor responses.

Request for Qualifications (RFQ) usually refers to the pre-qualification stage of the procurement process. Only the proponents who successfully respond to the RFQ and meet the qualification criteria will be included in the Request for Proposals (RFP) solicitation process.

Informal Solicitation is the simplest of all the bids because a vendor can enter without an invitation for bids, request for proposal, or request for expressions of interest. An informal solicitation is not subject to formal public notice.

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