A request for proposal, abbreviated RFP, is a solicitation by a government entity or agency for products or services from public contractors. By law, government agencies are required to issue bids publicly whenever they are in need of a specific product or service. This is standard policy in order to prevent “insider bidding”, where companies are being awarded contracts secretively. It is also beneficial for the government agency itself because it creates competition, resulting in lower prices for them.
An RFP is more than just a request for a quotation, it is an actual request to perform a specific project or supply a specific product. Request for proposals will generally be issued when requirements for the project at-hand are of $25,000 or more. Often times they are issued when the selection of a supplier cannot be made solely on the basis of the lowest price. An RFP is used to procure the most cost-effective solution based upon evaluation criteria identified in the RFP.