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Developing Requests for Proposals, Requests for Quotations and Solicitation Bids

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued by the University for the purpose of soliciting and negotiating a specific price and terms and conditions from multiple vendors for a scope service of a specific project which may include the potential to purchase specific goods and services). A Request for Quotation (RFQ) is issued by the University for the purpose of soliciting the price and terms and conditions of sale for very specific equipment or goods. RFPs and RFQs are methods used by the University to ensure an open and fair bidding process for goods and/or services contracted by the University.

  • When soliciting bids/contracts/quotations, designated University personnel must consider the following:
  • Coordinate and consult with the Purchasing Department.
  • Include only firms that will be considered for award. Do not include firms that are not considered qualified candidates.
  • Attempts to influence bidders by providing confidential information is forbidden.All bid information should be strictly confidential.
  • Disclosure of vendor pricing to competitive bidders is strictly forbidden.
  • Do not take advantage of apparent mistakes in the supplier’s bid.
  • Provide all bidders with the same information related to the bid in a timely manner.
  • Do not shop or conduct auctions for low prices.
  • No gratuities of any kind may be accepted from a Vendor attempting to influence their standing within the bidding process.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

RFPs are usually required for any capital or special project with a projected total cost of $10,000 or greater. While potential equipment acquisitions are usually addressed through requests for quotations (RFQs addressed below), an RFP may be required if the equipment specifications or terms and conditions for its use, maintenance and service are extensive and complex or are associated with a capital project. University requires that at least three proposals be solicited, received and reviewed.

Request for exemption from the requirement for a minimum of three proposals should be directed to the Director of Materials Management and Chief Procurement Officer. Documentation of the reasons for not obtaining at least three proposals (e.g., Sole Source Justification, Preferred Vendor) must be submitted with the requisition through Oracle iProcurement.

The RFP should detail the scope of work to be completed by or partnered with the vendor (the feasibility study or gap analysis), the responsibilities of both the vendor and the University (the Statement of Work), the time line of the project (project milestones), the projected total cost of the project to the University (including all mutually agreed payment terms based as percentages to be paid upon successful completion of project milestones), and explanation and estimates for any out of scope amendments (scope creep) to the project. The RFP must clearly define all technical specifications (must also specify all potential uses of RU Resources as well). The RFP must include the deadline for submission to qualify for consideration by the University.

RFPs will be reviewed by the specific department managing the project to confirm that the technical requirements have been addressed. RFPs will be reviewed by the Purchasing Department and the Finance Office to ensure that procurement and financial requirements are satisfied. RFPs are also subject to review by the Office of General Counsel to ensure legal compliance.

An RFP must include at least the following:

  • A detailed overview of the scope of work and the goals of the project.
  • A description of the scope of work specifying the vendor’s responsibilities. This description must include reference to all protocols, documents, drawings, and other deliverables that the vendor is required to provide as part of the RFP. All such deliverables will be the property of the University upon acceptance of a proposal from the vendor.
  • Complete technical details of every aspect/stage/step of the project must be clearly and precisely described within the proposal.
  • A detailed time line of milestones and accomplishments that the vendor must meet.
  • Detailed requirements for any specific personnel skills or expertise, any specific subcontractor requirements, any specific required resources, or any infrastructure requirements.
  • A description of the ownership of responsibilities of the vendor and the University and a request to the vendor for any proposed modification to the defined responsibilities.
  • The University must also be protected from all liabilities associated with the products and services to be rendered. The University must have protection from any damages and/or injuries resulting directly from or to the manufacture and/or installation of any items and related service attempts to assemble or install or service the items purchased from the vendor.
  • A request for a detailed financial and budgetary statement for all costs, including reimbursements incurred during the project. These financial statements must be part of the total bottom line cost of the project.
  • A request for a description of the vendor’s company size, financial capital, compliance with appropriate laws (e.g., labor and commerce; provide certification that the company does not engage in discrimination against the following small business groups: minority, women, Native American, Small disadvantaged, and veteran-owned businesses), a client reference list, and qualifications for conducting the scope of work.
  • Vendor must provide proof of insurance certification and must meet the University’s requirements for insurance minimums and hold harmless indemnification certification.
  • A request for a description of an exit strategy for all consultants and vendor related personnel to ensure that the operating budget is not exceeded by the vendor.

In awarding a contract/job to a vendor, the University will consider variables such as the size and longevity of the vendor, vendor resources, past performance of vendors at the University or as described by referenced clients, quality and timeliness of the submission of the proposal in response to the RFP, as well as the technical information provided in the proposal itself.

Request for Quotation (RFQ)

A Request for Quotation (RFQ) provides potential vendors with information on desired equipment or commodities, including description and quantity. The University requires the use of RFQs for equipment and certain commodity acquisitions. An RFQ form is available on line and is shown in Attachment A of this policy; the University will accept vendor formatted quotations as long as they contain at least the same information shown on the University RFQ form.

RFQs should be used to solicit quotes for

  • Any equipment purchase over $5000 [Note that the Purchasing Department encourages the use of an RFQ for all equipment purchases regardless of cost].
  • An RFQ is strongly encouraged for any individual commodity (i.e. chemical, equipment accessory, computer office/laboratory furnishing, etc.) request that totals $10,000 or more.

As stated above, RFPs may be more appropriate and required for equipment or commodity purchases that are technically complex, that are accompanied by nonstandard terms and conditions, or are part of a capital project. If you are uncertain whether an RFP or RFQ is appropriate, consult with the Director of Materials Management and Chief Procurement Officer.

A minimum of three quotations is required for equipment or commodity purchases of $10,000 or more. Exceptions to this requirement may be made for purchases of equipment or commodities that are available from sole or limited sources (See Attachment B – Sole Source Justification Form) or for reasons of preferred vendor status or business continuity. Requests for exemption for the requirement for three quotations should be directed to the Director of Materials Management and Chief Procurement Officer. Documentation of the reasons for not obtaining at least three quotations must be submitted with the requisition.