Sunday, September 19, 2010

The ABCs of IFBs, ITBs, RFPs, RFQs, and RFIs

It's a clever title for a blog entry, but I can't take credit for it.  It comes from Eileen R. Youens, who is Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina School of Government.  Eileen is one of the most articulate and clear thinkers when it come to government procurement and contracting.   

She recently wrote a blog entry on the NC Local Government Law Blog entitled "The ABCs of IFBs, ITBs, RFPs, RFQs, and RFIs."  While much of her blog entry focuses on North Carolina state law and how it impacts public agencies in that state, she does a great job of laying out the distinctions between these different documents.

She writes as follows:
What's the difference between an IFB, and RFP, and an RFQ, and what are they anyway?  As I'll explain in more detail in this post, what name you give a solicitation document - the document you use to solicit bids or proposals - is not as important as the process you use to award the contract.

There are four main types of solicitation documents: (1) those used for bidding, where price is the primary factor; (2) those used to request proposals focusing on factors other than price; (3) those used to ask for someone's qualifications; and (4) those used to gather information from potential bidders or proposers before starting the bid or proposal process.
I encourage you to read her blog entry on the subject.  Regardless of what state you are in, it gives a clear perspective on generally when certain types of solicitation documents are appropriate.  Make sure you check your own state and local laws, as well as federal requirements if your project is funded with federal funds, to understand when it is appropriate to use different solicitation tools, and what the dollar threshold levels are.

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