What’s the difference between an RFI, an RFP, and an RFQ?

Request for Information (RFI): Used when you think you know what you want but need more information from the vendors. Must be followed by an RFQ or RFP in order to purchase the desired product. If the RFI yields a single seller of the desired product, you need only send the RFQ to that single provider for their price quote and their acceptance of the CSU General Provisions for Information Technology Acquisitions. If the RFI yields multiple resellers of the same product, you must submit an RFQ to all responding sellers of the desired product and award to the most value-effective provider.

Request for Quote (RFQ): Commonly used when you know what you want but need information on how vendors would meet your requirements and how much it will cost; you may also include the criteria against which each vendor’s response will be evaluated. An RFQ can also be used when you have all details except the cost; in this case,
the vendor selection would be based solely on price.

Request for Proposal (RFP): Used when you know you have a problem but don’t know how you 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. If you have already solicited information using an RFI, you can re-use those questions and requirements in your RFP.