Request for Quotes // How to create an RFQ that suppliers love

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The RFQ will be the first thing that a supplier reads from you. It’s important that a good RFQ both introduces your product and yourself in a manner that a supplier will want to do business with you. A good RFQ should be simple and easy to read while also covering all essential details.

What is an RFQ?

How is a Request for Quote different from a Spec Sheet? To be honest for some projects there isn’t that much difference. For other projects, they can be drastically different. Why? It really depends on the complexity of the project. If you are sourcing a simple item you can use your full spec sheet in the RFQ, but if the project is more complex, then you may want to make a simplified product spec sheet to attach to the RFQ.

There are two parts to an RFQ and that is the initial message/email to the factory and a product spec sheet. Some people introduce the full product spec sheet in the first part and that’s fine for most projects, while others will make a simplified one to introduce the product and show the full product spec sheet when it comes closer to production.

We’ll go over more about how to talk to suppliers later, but for now, we will use this section to craft a great introduction to you and your product. <<<Link to the other blog post>>>

Remember: Supplier will quote only on the Info you have provided

Keep in mind that when you are asking a supplier to make a quote, they will only be using the information that you have provided them about your product. In the previous section/blog post, you made a well-defined spec sheet. This is the time that you start to share the product spec sheet. When the supplier receives the product spec sheet,  they will have a project manager or an engineer will go over the product spec sheet line by line to calculate the cost.

You also need to make sure that it can be shared easily. Your contact with the factory will take the product spec sheet and share it with all appropriate departments and staff. What WON’T be shared is the various emails that you sent to them asking about the product or question features etc. so if you asked for a change in an email it will not be included unless you update the product spec sheet.  

How to create an RFQ

The RFQ needs to do two things: First, it needs to fully and quickly introduce your product, and second, it needs to solicit the supplier to send you a quote on your product.  

When messaging a supplier you need to ask them to make a quote on the product details that you provided. The main information that every RFQ needs to ask from a supplier is

  • Cost,

  • Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ),

  • Price per unit,

  • start-up cost,

  • Shipping terms

  • and a few more details depending on your product.

For many projects, you may also find it helpful to include this. Additional factors that you need

    • Bill of Materials,

    • Machinery used (some project require very specific machinery)

    • Closest port

    • The price difference with or without customization or feature

Remember that you are letting manufacturers know what you are making and inviting them to make a quote on your product. Some people like to quickly email blast a dozen or more potential suppliers, but I try and do each email individually. For the most part, I follow a template and create a new one for each project with the ability to add a few customizations. I included an example of one below.

Here’s an RFQ template

Subject(s): “I’m interested in [Product Name]” or “RFQ for [Product Name]”

Hello [Potential supplier] (Note: use their given name if you have it),

I’m (your name) the procurement manager for [company name] and I’m interested in receiving a quote for [product name]

[write a few short sentences about your product]

[In a new block, create a bulleted list that shows materials colors and other basic attributes. Keep it short and simple]
If you manufacture [product name] please email me more information to [your email]
In your response, include:

  • Pictures of the product, and a photo of [product detail] (note: the detail can be anything just make sure it forces them to use pictures taken for you and not found elsewhere

  • The Minimum Order Quantity

  • The price at the MOQ and [some other amount] (Note: I find that getting 2 prices for different quantities lets you know their flexibility on a price and helps in negotiations later on)

  • [the price to make any changes or customization that you want] (be specific on this part but you can skip it if you want a product as-is)

  • What is the shipping cost of sending a sample?

  • The Closest port (note the port should be close to where they claim they are located if you’re dealing with a factory if it’s too far be cautious)

Thanks, we look forward to hearing back from you!

[your name]
Procurement manager
[Company name]

Keep it personal


Please note that the salesperson answering these emails sees the same email templates all the time to take time to personalize it and make it yours. This will help it stand out from the crowd. IF you have the name of the factory or even better the name of the main salesperson or CEO, then use that name. Emails that start off with “To Whom it may Concern” or anything else impersonal will almost always get ignored. If you can add an extra sentence

Another thing to note is that English is almost certainly not the first language of the person you are talking to. Be sure to use clear and simple language, while making sure you are getting your point across.

Where to post an RFQ

Now that you have your message and product spec sheet, the next step is to figure out where to send it out and get suppliers. Alibaba is the most commonly used tools but there are several alternatives to Alibaba, which you can check out here <<<Link to Alibaba alternatives>>>

Alibaba “Request for Quote” feature

Most sourcing websites such as Alibaba and Global Sources has a Request for quote option for members. This allows the user to submit an RFQ, which almost always includes a form to fill in the text (using your template from above) and attach the product spec sheet. We go over this in more details in our <<<Link: Alibaba to amazon guide here: >>>

Message on Alibaba

In addition, to passively waiting, for suppliers to message yu you can be proactive and search for suppliers. We wrote a guide on how to find a supplier that you can read here <<< Link to Alibaba to Amazon guide>>>. This follows the same format as copying and pasting the text into the body and including an attachment. .

Email

For many suppliers, you will email them, the same basic format of copying and pasting the message into the body of the email and attaching the Product Spec Sheet. Keep in mind when emailing it is extra important that you personalize in order to get it to stand out.

Let Cosmo Sourcing help you!

If you don’t want to do create a, Request for Quote by yourself, the let Cosmo Sourcing do it with you. We bundle all three of these steps into the PLAN step, which is the first step of our Simple Sourcing package.

PLAN // FIND // MAKE // SHIP

Our Simple Sourcing Package, is designed to do everything to turn your idea, into a shipped product. Simple Sourcing Comes with four steps: PLAN, FIND, MAKE and SHIP. Give us your product idea, and we’ll work with you to find suppliers, oversee the manufacturing and ship it to its final destination. Cosmo can do everything from creating a product spec sheet, validation, sourcing, ordering and evaluating samples, arranging inspections, finding freight forwarders, quality assurance, negotiations and even working with prep and fulfillment centers in the States.

If you are starting a new business, then finding products and suppliers for your products is one of many things you need to handle. OUr services are designed to handle every part of your business in China and Vietnam, so you can focus on the rest of growing your own business.

We have helped clients ranging from Fortune 500 to small FBA sellers. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and let us know how we can help you. info@cosmosourcing.com OR Visit us online at Cosmosourcing.com