How to Write a Bid List Letter

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Keep your cover letter short and concise and use an RFP for details.
Keep your cover letter short and concise and use an RFP for details. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The formal name for a bid list letter is a “proposal cover letter.” This type of letter should be written succinctly and kept to a maximum of two pages in length. Develop a Request for Proposals to describe the project parameters, expected deliverables, timetables and milestones in detail. The purpose of the cover letter is to hit the main descriptions and requirements in a synopsis fashion.

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing software
  • RFT (optional)
  • Links to website for RFP, Application (optional)

Open the letter with a short greeting and announce the title of the bid project. Create a header labeled “Description” after the opening greeting. Use this header to briefly describe the job in three paragraphs or less, so that it reads more like a summary statement. Include a job number for the project.

Create a heading titled “Specifications.” Use this area to elaborate on requirements such as technical specifications regarding size, electrical needs, location and other pertinent information that bidders will need to know in order to provide an accurate estimate.

Create a heading named “Qualifications.” Use this section to describe the qualifications required for bidders, such as having a minimum number of years in business, specific type(s) of license(s) required, the ability to demonstrate adequate insurance coverage amounts and the type(s) of insurance the job might require. State preferences given to minority or women-owned businesses (if applicable) and any other mandatory legal language your business or departments require to be stated on all bid letters.

Label a heading titled “Budget” for the job (if applicable). Enter the maximum amount for the project so that all applicants will be aware of your maximum budget amount.

Make a header labeled “Deliverables” and write a brief statement regarding the expected job deliverables that must be fulfilled. Inform prospects that a detailed statement of deliverables will be included in the full RFP for the job.

Write a header titled “Deadline” and under the heading state the required date of completion. Include a breakdown of milestone dates (if applicable) or leave the milestone details for the RFP.

Create a “Samples” header (if applicable) and specify how bidders should submit samples of prior work, such as via electronic digital photos in a JPEG or GIF format or as an attachment along with their formal application.

Create a “References” header and specify the number of references required and the type of contact information you need, such as a name, title, telephone number and email address.

Insert a hyperlink on the letter so that applicants can link on to a formal online application, and a separate hyperlink for the RFP (if required). Add a link for your website and include the RFP and application on your website, which can be formatted as a PDF for applicants to upload to their computer.

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