I need to replace the checkout process with a request for quote(RFQ). The "add to cart" functionality still needs to be there but when they get to the checkout page all I want to happen is a neatly formatted RFQ is sent to our purchasing department. No backend management in Magento needs to be done. Correspondence wil likely be handled via our CRM which is Zoho CRM. is there an easy way to do this instead of purchasing an expensive plugin?
Not sure will it be more economically reasonable, depends on the rate you pay for development, but you can probably:
You'll get orders to Magento that essentially will be RFQs.
IMO it is a bit messy way though, if you decide later on to accept real orders it may cause a confusion.
I played around with adding a new payment method using this tutorial.
Kind of worked. It is only available to the Default Congif and not my live store view. Regardless I'm still looking at a typical checkout process which is mostly useless. I think the ideal situation would be that the only part of the checkout process visible would be the Checkout Method, Billing Info and maybe Order Review. The only one that would be absolutely necessary would be the billing info and even that only has to be a name, company, phone and email. Is there a way to manipulate the checkout process?
You can manipulate virtually everything in Magento, it is open-source system.
The question is do you have required skills and how much time will it take.