Outsourcing Besties

RFI & RFP [by Jobresponse]

If you were evaluating vendors, you might have heard the terms RFI and RFP, which are a Request for Information and a Request for Proposal. These processes are intensely used in corporations and have some distinctions. The larger the corporation, the larger the distinction, but as it refers, RFI intends to retrieve the information whereas RFP retrieves the proposals.

Corporations have two different processes because the more steps ensure the better quality. At a startup, you might also split your vendor selection process into two steps. This can help you make a well-informed decision to find a software outsourcing agency for your MVP or the ongoing development of your product.


The RFI is quite simple and implies that you run the first round of vendor communications. Let’s assume that you’re looking for a software vendor for MVP development. You’ve already completed research and got the list of 20 prospective vendors which you think are potentially a good fit for your project.

This is the first step of your vendor funnel to help you narrow down the selection and filter out those who do not pass the qualification. Most of the time, the RFI includes a limited set of data to check with the vendor. If your project has something you can not share without NDA, this is the right way to approach the vendor assessment process. So go ahead and outline the first step details.

  • Introduction. This section includes some high-level project details, what the project is about, and in what domain.
  • Expertise and relevant case studies. Ask a vendor to submit details about the company’s expertise on the topic, and the relevant case studies, similar projects, and descriptions.
  • Pricing. Ask a vendor to submit their pricing structure, or if you are looking just for a rate per hour and monthly team rates, indicate this in the RFI. Also, ask a vendor to submit their budgets for similar projects they’ve completed in the past.
  • General information. In this section, indicate a vendor to submit the company’s general info and anything you want to know about the company or if the vendor is deemed to submit any other relevant details.
  • Detail your process and the next steps. This helps to make vendors interested enough, so they’d spent some time writing a good response, and also they won’t bother you with follow-up emails, so your process will be a peace of mind.

You might be surprised, but not all vendors will respond, which is why we’re running the selection process. However, if done right, you should hear back from some of the good vendors in your pipeline at this stage. Filter out the ones that stand out and move forward to the next step.

It is not that you are required to run the process as other corporations. Instead, you make your next best steps depending on what kind and volume of information you have. You can call vendors to a meeting after the RFI or run a full-scale RFP. This step tests the ground, which vendors respond, what they respond to, and if they qualify enough to move to the next stage.


As this acronym suggests, we’re about to request the proposal from the vendors. This will require you to do some more homework and, depending on your project and team, organize and level up internally.

For a vendor to make any proposal on your project, you have to submit the project requirements. We’re discussing in detail what they could look like in MVP Scope of Work [by Jobresponse]. Once you get the scope of work in order and your team aligned on the requirements, you can proceed to the RFP stage and send out your project documentation to your list filtered after the RFI.

Unlike the RFI, the RFP has a defined subject for constructive dialog and may require vendors more time to submit their responses. In the RFP, you can ask vendors to submit the following details:

  • Possible implementation scenarios and approaches to software development
  • Potential challenges and assumptions
  • Team configuration
  • Proposed timeline
  • Ballpark estimates

Include any relevant questions to your RFP and wait for answers. By the time you get the responses, you should have a strong picture of what it may take to deliver the software product.

Again, following all the steps as proposed is not required, and you may find a way forward by skipping some of the stages. What’s more important is that we suggest doing thorough reviews during the assessment as this is a crucial step mistakes of which unfold during the product development results in a long and brutal process.

We’ve seen the founders skilled enough to jump straight into the Design Sprint [by Jobresponse] phase.

Yes, if you feel confident enough after a few rounds of reviews and trust a vendor, you can move forward, save yourself some time, and leave it to a vendor to do a job for you.

👋 Thanks for reading this. Ever wonder what Jobresponse is? We’re rethinking software outsourcing. Give it a try. Contact us for more information