What Is a Request for Qualifications?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2019
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A request for qualifications (RFQ) is a document that lists the requirements of a project and requests that contractors submit statements of interest, including a demonstration of their ability to complete the project. It is a pre-qualification tool used by businesses that are in the process of collecting bids for a project. This document is sometimes distributed before the more detailed request for proposal (RFP).

The primary purpose of a request for qualifications is to determine if the bidding firm has the skills needed to produce the desired outcome. In order to do this, the document must provide an accurate overview of the project. Some of the most common details include the basic project description, an approximate budget, what skills are needed, and any special conditions of which the contractor should be aware. The document will also typically include contact information and the due date for submissions.

A request for qualifications can also be used to determine if a contractor can help to clarify parameters for an ill-defined project. This is most common where the issue at hand needs an expert opinion in order to be properly resolved. A contractor’s ability to hone in on the problem and create an effective framework for proceeding with the project can be the factor that will determine whether they are invited to submit a response to the RFP.


Once all interested firms have submitted a request for qualifications to the hiring company, each form is evaluated. Most companies will have a system in place for managing this process so that each application is given thorough and equal attention. When the top applicants have been determined, communications are usually prepared for all applicants in order to inform them of their status. The selected applicants are then invited to present their plans for completing the project. After presentations, the company will typically distribute an RFP to the top candidates so that they can outline the specifics of their anticipated approach, fees, and other details of the project.

Some firms will distribute a request for interest (RFI) before releasing the request for qualifications. This document simply asks for contractors who wish to bid on the project to submit a statement which indicates interest. It does not contain as much information about the project as the RFQ, but it is typically enough to help a contractor to decide whether or not to bid. The document will also usually have information about how to request the RFQ.


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