The first task is to clearly define the type of information required, then determine which companies are able to provide this information.
The second stage is to send out a request for quotations, which can take on different forms:
- a formal invitation to tender, either a private one with or without specifications, or a public one including specifications
- an informal request to quote (based simply on a briefing document).
In either case the briefing should be comprehensive and precise in order to guarantee the validity of the proposals. It is logical to indicate at the outset the budget set aside for the project. Research companies never charge for making proposals. It can also happen that research companies send out spontaneous proposals, particularly in the case of multi-client projects.