"A request for information, or RFI, is a document that a business organization sends to vendors to request for specific information or clarification on a service or product. On the other hand, a request for proposal, or RFP, is a document that a business organization sends to potential vendors to prompt for bids.
Both documents are normally used in the early stages of vendor selection, with the RFI typically sent earlier than the RFP. RFI is a widely used business strategy that seeks to collect information about the services or products offered by potential vendors. An RFI can also help potential clients evaluate the capability of potential vendors.
The precise format of an RFI varies depending on the specific details the client intends to obtain. An RFP is specific when outlining the required deliverables, and in cases where the requirements are known, it may be accompanied by a request for quotation. Unlike an RFI, an RFP goes beyond basic information and offers additional details about the client. It may also invite potential vendors to respond with possible solutions to specific client needs.
In some cases, both documents may share characteristics, but business organizations generally tend to use an RFI document to solicit basic information to use in the decision of selecting the potential vendors that will receive the RFP.