What is a tender, what is a proposal, what is an unsolicited proposal and what is a bid?

What is a tender?

A tender is a response to a formal request for tender (RFT) issued by a government department or agency, private or listed company seeking an external provider for a service or product or to deliver a project.

What is a request for tender?

RFTs are very formal. They usually comprise a series of documents that must be read and fully understood before you decide to submit a response. The documents will include the scope of the required works (what you will be providing), the conditions of tendering (what you can and can’t do during the period of the tender response process), the draft contract (which you will be expected to sign if you are successful), and the tender response schedules (the documents or document you must complete and submit. Your completed response schedules become your actual tender submission). Companies often seek help to complete the tender response schedules from professional tender writers such as Proof Communications.

What is a proposal?

A proposal is identical, in most cases, to a tender – it’s a response to a formal request for proposal (RFP) issued by a government department or agency, private or listed company seeking an external provider for a service or product or to deliver a project.

The format of an RFP is just like that of an RFT. That is, it comprises the various documents described above. Your response to an RFP must answer all the questions and meet all the compliance requirements, just like a response to an RFT. You can read more on how to respond to an RFP or an RFT here.

What is a request for proposal?

Sometimes, however, a request for proposal seeks ideas (or ‘proposals’) for the delivery of the service, product or project. That is, an RFP can sometimes be less prescriptive than other requests for proposals or requests for tenders. RFPs sometimes give you the opportunity to ‘propose’ a solution to the required need as described in the RFP.

What is an unsolicited proposal?

Proposals can also be ‘unsolicited’. That is, companies sometimes decided to submit a proposal to an organisation they would like to supply with their product or service, even though that organisation has not sought proposals through a formal request for proposal; rather, the company has decided of its own accord to send a proposal to an organisation, describing its service or product and why it’s a good fit for the organisation. This is more a

case of hopefulness, that the unsolicited proposal will appeal to the organisation, which will then get in touch to find out more.

The content in unsolicited proposals is very flexible. If you are writing one, you can choose what to include and omit. For help with writing an unsolicited proposal, read our article here.

What is a bid?

The term ‘bid’ is used interchangeably with the terms ‘tender’ and ‘proposal’. A bid is very simply a word used to describe your tender or proposal submission. People will talk about submitting a bid, when they mean they are submitting a formal tender or formal proposal in response to an RFT or an RFP.

The word bid is used too by creative agencies when they are required to ‘pitch’ to a prospective client or an existing client to win a contract to deliver a project. A pitch is a proposal or a tender (again, often referred to as a bid) followed by a presentation.

If you would like to know more about writing tenders, writing proposals, writing unsolicited proposals and bids, get in touch with us today on 0411 123 216 or email us at rosemary@proofcommunications.com.au.