Request for Proposal (RFP)
Terms & Acronyms

What Is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

What is a Request for Proposal RFP?

The world of procurement is filled with abbreviations and RFP is probably the most common one. In this article, we’ll discuss the concept of an RFP and introduce you to its central role in the bidding process. Let’s dive right in!


Request for Proposal RFP definition

Let’s start by defining what exactly a Request for Proposal (RFP) is in the context of public procurement.

RFP is short for Request for Proposal. An RFP is a type of procurement, also called a tender, and is in fact the most commonly used type of tender. Often, procurement, tender and RFP are terms used interchangeably.

Think of an RFP as a public “help wanted” ad. It details a project (like building a bridge or supplying computers) and what the buyer wants from the supplier.

So, an RFP is a document (or series of documents) that is created by an organisation about a specific purchasing need. It’s a formal invitation for bidders to submit their proposals, where they will describe how they can meet the needs and requirements outlined in the RFP.

The RFP typically contains detailed information about the project, including scope, timeline, deliverables, evaluation criteria, and any other relevant specifications. It provides bidders with the necessary information to understand the project and prepare a comprehensive proposal.


Why is an RFP used?

Now that we have a basic understanding of what an RFP is, let’s discuss why it is such a crucial component of the public procurement process. The primary purpose of an RFP is to ensure fairness, transparency, and competition among potential bidders.

By clearly stating the requirements and evaluation criteria upfront, the buyer can evaluate proposals objectively and select the most suitable bidder.

Using an RFP also helps streamline the bidding process by providing a framework for both the procuring entity and the bidders. It ensures that all bidders receive the same information and have an equal opportunity to submit their proposals. This promotes fair competition and helps the buyer identify the best value for their project.

The public sector is required to use procurements for purchases above certain thresholds. Many large companies also use a tender process for large purchases.


Key components of an RFP

Now, let’s take a closer look at the key components that make up an RFP:

  • Project Description: This section provides a detailed overview of the project, including its objectives, requirements, and any relevant background information.
  • Scope of Work: The scope of work outlines the tasks, deliverables, and timelines associated with the project. It helps suppliers understand the expected level of effort and the project’s duration.
  • Evaluation Criteria: The evaluation criteria outline the factors that will be used to assess and compare the proposals. These criteria can include technical qualifications, past experience, pricing, and any other relevant considerations.
  • Budget: The budget section specifies constraints or limitations on the project’s funding. Bidders need to provide pricing information within this budget framework.
  • Submission Requirements: This section provides instructions on how bidders should format and submit their proposals. It includes details such as the submission deadline, required documents, and contact information.



By providing a clear framework for bidders to submit their proposals and ensuring fair competition, RFPs play a crucial role in promoting transparency and efficiency in the procurement process.

We hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive understanding of RFPs and cleared any confusion you may have had. If you want to learn more about bidding on RFPs, explore more of our articles about modern bidding.


Optimise your business with the public sector with the Tendium bidding platform. Forget expensive and inefficient bidding processes. Say hello to modern, transparent and AI-powered sales to the public sector. Welcome to the future.

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