GovQuote’s Winning Quote Series focuses on the most effective strategies both agencies and vendors use to ensure their Requests for Quotes (RFQs), competitive bids, and overall interactions are successful. Previously, we described the Anatomy of a Perfect Quote, which shared tips and tricks with vendors new to the government sector. However, a perfect quote doesn’t make a perfect transaction all on its own; it needs to start with a perfect request.

The perfect eRFQ

The right request will represent three C’s: complete, comprehensive and clear. To do this, all Request for Quotes (RFQs) should begin with the essential information—and GovQuote makes that easier than ever by auto-filling most details.

All you need is:

  • A good name for the request
  • Detailed description – including attachments and pictures (relevant documents always help)
  • A due date – be sure to allow vendors enough time to quote
  • The maximum number of quotes allowed (if not unlimited) – when reached, the request will no longer be publicly visible on GovQuote

For most agency buyers, the most challenging part of an RFQ is the description. This is especially true when the buyer isn’t the subject-matter expert and the requisitioner hasn’t provided ample details—if you’re not a techno-engineer, for example, it’s more difficult to properly describe a request for the complex moving parts of a device. Luckily, we created this guide to serve as a checklist for both novice and experienced GovQuote users. Follow along, and you can yourself from endless back-and-forth chatter with vendors.

Here are the three must-haves for a perfect request:

1. Specifications

To get the job done right—the first time—vendors will need as much information as you can provide. Naturally, that means starting with the specifications of the product or service itself. Think about a computer, for example; its ‘specifications’ will include every physical detail, such as the model number, processor, brand, etc. In this section, remember: the more, the merrier.

For Goods, include all that apply:

  1. Quantity
  2. Color
  3. Size
  4. Shape
  5. Brand
  6. Features and options (i.e. is it self-propelled or push, battery operated or otherwise?)
  7. Customizations (i.e. the trim level or specific customizations for police or fire vehicles)
  8. Part numbers, SKUs, ISBN, or product numbers
  9. Versions and model years — to avoid looking for obsolete items
  10. Condition — new/refurbished/reconditioned
  11. Warranty & Service

TIP:  With GovQuote, adding photos or other attachments is simple: just drag and drop!

For Services, include all that apply:

  1. Images relevant to the service requested
  2. Location for the service to be performed
  3. Size/area
  4. Any materials or other required components required
  5. Any specific labor requirement (i.e. number of people or specific tools to be used)
  6. Preferred skills / training — especially for mechanics, electricians, and others who typically attend a vocational school or training program along with respective certifications and licenses
  7. Any insurance/permitting requirements

TIP: For construction, maintenance or any other service that involves a particular “space,” always remember to include square footage and specific details about the area that needs servicing.

2. External Parameters

Whether you were asked to fill a brand new computer lab with the best and brightest technology for students, or charged with ensuring your city’s streets have the brightest LED lights installed, you’ll need to consider key details outside the product or service itself. These are the External Parameters.

For Goods, include all that apply:

  1. Deliver on/before date
  2. Delivery details (including inspection & acceptance rules)
  3. Ship to address
  4. Selection criteria
  5. If you are willing to accept substitutions or alternate products
    1. Color
    2. Size
    3. Model
    4. Brand
    5. Condition — Especially for books and vehicles; you may be ordering new textbooks, but will consider used if they are in quality condition.
  6. Pricing template — Especially if you require a specific format or quotes for multiple items
    1. Description with manufacture and part number if available
    2. Quantity
    3. Units of Measure
    4. Discount/Payment Terms
    5. Freight Charges (usually it is FOB destination)
    6. Handling Charges

For Services, include all that apply:

  1. Perform on/before date
  2. Preferred quoting method
    1. Do you want a quote for the service overall, or an hourly/daily rate?
  3. If you are willing to accept changes such as:
    1. Alternate date/time for service
    2. Price adjustments or discounts
    3. Partial service (i.e. if you need roof repair and painting, will you accept quotes for just the repair or just the painting work?)
  4. Time, date and location for walkthrough, if required.
  5. Selection criteria
  6. Pricing template — Especially if you require a specific format or quotes for multiple services
  7. References Required?
  8. Site Inspection and Acceptance
  9. Subcontractor Obligations

3. Policies

Finally, you’ll need to describe your company’s policies and request additional information from potential vendors. This is a great opportunity to use GovQuote’s ‘custom fields’ feature, which allows you to supercharge your request by adding these details with the click of a button.

For BOTH Products & Services, include all that apply:

  1. Pricing inclusions (i.e. delivery, installation, and training)
  2. Pricing validity requirements  (e.g firm price for 90 days)
  3. Payment terms
  4. Tax exemption from sales and/or use taxes – Please provide your tax exempt number
  5. Payment method
  6. Insurance Requirements (COI)
  7. Applicable permits/safety requirements
  8. All questions/documents/addendums regarding the quote must be submitted via GovQuote
    1. Private
    2. Group Chat

On GovQuote, your agency’s Terms and Conditions are loaded into your agency settings by your administrator. Enter them once (and update as needed) and they automatically become part of each eRFQ. This ensures compliance and transparency.

TIP: 36% of cancelled requests on GovQuote were cancelled due to not receiving accurate information, while 22% of awarded quotes on GQ are based on quality, availability, and shipping—not just price—so be sure to include all specifications for the best possible experience.


GovQuote is the first fully web-based platform to connect government agencies and private companies on the largest, fastest, and most user-friendly request for quote (RFQ) marketplace. GovQuote is revolutionizing public procurement by providing an online marketplace where State, Local, and Education (SLED) agencies obtain quotes by reaching thousands of qualified companies competing for government business. Using powerful smart technology to cut out costly and outdated procurement methods, GovQuote saves organizations countless hours and millions of dollars, all with full compliance, facilitating crystal-clear transparency in the public sector while leveling the playing field for small and disadvantaged businesses.