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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between Bids, Proposals, RFIs, RFQs, RFPs, Tenders?


  • The term Bid is broadly used to mean a proposed solution or offer.


  • Proposals are documents that outline an offer or solution.
  • Proposals can be used to confirm discussion points, as in a sales proposal presented after a verbal offer was made during a sales call.

Requests for Information (RFI)

  • A request for information is typically issued by an issuer seeking more information on developing a new solution.
  • The RFI encourages potential bidders to bring forward suggestions with potentially new or customized solutions.
  • RFIs do not include pricing, although some issuers may ask for a price range to help set budgets.

Request for Quotation (RFQ)

  • A request for quotation is typically used when the issuer has a specific product or easily identified service in mind.
  • Typically used for purchasing commodity items, solutions are not being sought only a best price.
  • Creative responses from bidders can cause some issuers to look beyond the commodity nature of their RFQ and consider outside factors such as: staggered shipments, deferred billings, alternative products/services, etc.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

  • The request for proposal is the most common form of bid issued by governments and corporations.
  • The issuers are typically open to suggestions and creative solutions so long as the stated mandatory points are met.
  • While RFPs often have bid rules that must be followed, there are still creative ways to promote areas of the product or service to differentiate the bidder from other bidders. The trick is to always meet mandatory requirements.


  • The term tender is synonymous with bid.
  • Tender generally implies a government bid with strict regulations.

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