The term tender proposal is used in the procurement field to describe the response from potential suppliers to a request for proposal (RFP). There are three aspects to every tender proposal: company overview, response to specifications, and pricing. Tender proposals are legally binding responses in a procurement process. The format of a tender proposal varies widely by industry, but all have the same basic requirements. The most important part of any tender response is the deadlines. All RFPs have a due date and time clearly specified on the document. Any responses received after this date cannot be accepted or included in the review process. Contract law is very clear on this issue, and many firms have been taken to court over awarding contracts to firms who submitted their tender proposal after the deadline. Tender proposals have mainly three sections:
- Overview of the company: Typically, the firm should include background in the industry, highlighting successful projects of similar size or larger, to indicate an ability to meet the company’s requirements.
- Response section: this section will receive the most attention from the client. As a result, it should be focused on meeting the requirements point for point. Many firms use the structure of the RFP to format their response, correlating each section to make comparison easier for the client. Additional supporting documentation that is required in the response should be listed as appendix documents and properly indexed. Many firms include the presentation of the response as a marked item in the evaluation matrix, making the effort well worth it for the responding firm.
- Pricing section: Usually a separate section of the tender proposal. If there are multiple pricing options provided, the response should clearly indicate the primary value, along with the pricing for the different alternate solutions. Many purchase contracts include a recurring charge, such as licensing or annual maintenance. This value should be provided in this section, with a clear indication of length of term.
Any restriction surrounding acceptance of the tender proposal must be included in the response. This includes time lines to accept the offer, scheduling for beginning of the work, flexibility of resources, and other issues. Payment terms are typically indicated in the response as well, so that the negotiation process can begin. See request for proposal (RFP).