RFP vs. RFQ what are the differences

These documents, used at the start of the procurement cycle, describe to potential contractors the work you are looking to have completed, and describes the information you would like from them as part of their bid package. This is the first tool that gives you some control over choosing an appropriate firm to complete the work. While the RFP and the RFQ function differently in terms of how a winning bidder is selected, both should contain the following information

  • Context on the site in general: history, trail user types, environment
  • A description of the work you expect the contractor to perform, (ie assessment of 25 km of singletrack trail, identification of trail maintenance issues, design and construction notes to fix the trail challenges)
  • The system you will use to evaluate contractors (ie price, price and technical score, etc)
  • Additional supporting information: Maps, Past design documents, trail master plan, etc
  • Information on the schedule of the on-site day (if applicable)
  • (OPTIONAL) the expected timeline on project completion, expected project cost


RFPs – or Reqest For Proposals – are tender documents that solicit a proposal from firms interested in bidding on your project. With an RFP, not only are you looking for work to be completed, but you are asking the firm to describe how they will complete the work. This can include the following information:

  • Firm profile and past experience
  • Proposed team format for the work and their experience
  • Proposed resources deployed to complete the project (ie machinery for trail construction)
  • Past project examples that are similar to the project scope identified
  • References from past clients
  • Proposed schedule, and budget breakdown with description of costs
  • Project management methodology and communication plan

This approach allows for fine control over selecting an appropriate bidder by using a review process that heavily considers merit in addition to price. Depending on the procedure used, it can require a firm to meet a basic level of competency before evaluting their price proposal. This approach is the most often used for trail work, including construction firms where you wish to evaluate their past work. If enough detailed information is request from the firm in the RFP process, it can be used to form the basis of a contract.


Invitation to quote on a scheduled list of items to be completed. Often used in instances of trail construction where a design firm has left a list behind of specifications of trail construction on a section by section basis. This is likely only to be used for aspects of trail construction that are easily standardized, where the anticipated trail construction is an easier and/or easily identified style.