Contact suppliers and send a request for information (RFI) / request for quote (RFQ)

Once you’ve researched potential suppliers on Thomasnet.com, you’re ready to connect with the top candidates. To help you communicate effectively, we have different avenues available for communication.

  1. On-platform messaging: Send real-time messages to suppliers for more information.
  2. Send RFIs: Request information from suppliers when you're not ready to have a project quoted. 
  3. Projects: Submit project proposals that will allow you to make your purchase directly on the site. 
  4. Contact suppliers in a shortlist or saved supplier list: Send messages or project requests to suppliers from lists you’ve created. 
  5. Contact suppliers via phone or website: Call or message suppliers with the contact information available on supplier profiles.
To initiate on-platform messages and send project proposals, you must agree to the buyer acceptance criteria presented when you join or use Thomasnet.com. 

1. On-Platform Messaging

Send a message 

Supplier Search Messages Open

If you’re looking to quickly get more information from a supplier, the messaging tool will help you contact suppliers efficiently. 

Once you've found a supplier you want to contact using the supplier search function, click the "Quote Your Project" button on the supplier card or the company profile to start a conversation. You can also attach images and files to your messages.  Once your message is sent, the supplier will have the opportunity to accept the conversation and respond, or reject the conversation if they don’t think the inquiry is a good fit. The supplier is also able to assign the conversation to the most appropriate member of their company.

You can also access, manage and start new conversations in your Thomas Account under the “Messages Inbox” section of the left-hand side navigation panel. 

Send a message to multiple suppliers 

Multi-Supplier Message

If you’d like to extend the question to more than one supplier, you can select up to 5 suppliers using the “Select” checkbox in a supplier search. This will initiate up to 5 separate conversations to help save you time. 

2. RFIs

Hit the "Request Information" button at the bottom of a company's tile in the search results. This will direct you to a form where you can create a message to send to the supplier. 

Submit RFI

3. Submit Projects

Submitting a proposal

Project Builder

For a more comprehensive request, you can build a proposal using the structured Projects tool. Start on the supplier search page and click the "Quote Your Project" button on a supplier card. This will lead you through a form where you can specify:

  • Project type 
  • Project details (including uploading files and photos)
  • Item details
  • Shipping details

You do not have to complete each section, but by adding as much detail as possible, you give the supplier the opportunity to most accurately quote your project and speed up the project timeline.

At the end of the project building process, you will be able to extend your project invitation to up to 5 suppliers to save you time sourcing. Simply search for suppliers using the drop-down menu under “Suppliers to invite.” If you'd like to browse the list of search results more, you can send your message to just the one company and choose the same project later when you find another company to send an RFQ to.

Similar to messaging, the supplier(s) will have the opportunity to accept the proposal and respond or reject it if they don’t think the inquiry is a good fit. 

You can access, manage and start new project proposals in your Thomas Account under the “Projects” section of the left-hand side navigation panel.

Making a purchase

Once the supplier(s) has sent you a quote in response to your request, you can complete your purchase on Thomasnet.com

4. Send RFIs to multiple suppliers in your saved supplier list or shortlist

Another way to send project proposals is from a shortlist or the saved supplier lists you’ve created (you can see how to create one here). To start a project, select the companies you're interested in, using the checkboxes at the upper right of the company tiles. Then click the "Message" button at the top of the list to initiate the process.

 

5. Contact a supplier directly 

Contact Supplier

You can also access a supplier's website and phone number on a company profile, if available. This information is located under the company name and address at the top of the page. If your request is urgent, we suggest calling the supplier to follow up with your inquiry.