What is a bid proposal?

When you think you have found the perfect fit for a potential client, it is essential for your business to show them that you can satisfy their expectations.

Submitting a bid proposal demonstrates that your company can complete the project.

At PandaDoc, we are all about helping you put your best foot forward, and that includes providing the tools and guidance to craft outstanding proposals.

Let’s take a closer look at what a bid proposal is and how to write an excellent one!

What is a bid proposal?

A bid proposal is a document that outlines the scope of work, pricing, and time frame for a project.

It is an important document for any business because a well-written proposal helps that business attract prospective clients as well as maintain their current ones.

Bid proposals are used in any sector where companies, vendors, or freelancers present themselves to potential (or established) customers.

The document’s goal is to set yourself apart from the competition so that your customers — both current and prospective — will do business with you.

In most cases, offer proposals are used in two different ways. 

First, you will need this document to respond to companies’ requests for proposals (RFPs).

If your offer is relevant, it will be retained for consideration; if accepted, this will allow you to enter into a contract with your client.

If you are dealing with government contracts, this is even more important.

Indeed, in order to respond to a public entity’s RFP, you will need to submit a bid proposal.

Second, you can make a bid without being asked.

In the event of an unsolicited bid proposal, it is important to note that the bid recipient and the proposal’s author do not already have a contract in place.

What should you include in your bid?

Although bid proposals vary based on the project and industry, they include a few essential components, such as:

1. Client’s contact information

You need to provide the name of the client’s business in addition to their address, phone number, and email address.

2. Your business name and contact information

As a contractor, you need to write your company name, address, phone number, and email address.

3. Project description

You should specify the project’s name, the planned course of action (including milestones, if applicable), a list of any associated services that fall under the project’s scope, and anticipated outcomes in this section.

4. Estimated costs

This is the amount you wish to receive for your services.

Additionally, you can include a payment schedule for your client to indicate the amounts due and at the intervals, you will expect to be paid.

5. Terms and conditions

This part allows you to set the rules for your services, how they will be applied/enforced should the recipient decide to enter into a contract with you, as well as your company’s policy on any other relevant aspect of working on the project (ownership, rights, liability, indemnification, etc.). 

6. Estimated timeline

You can indicate a rough timetable here, including the project’s start and projected completion dates.

7. Signature of both parties

Last, designate a space for both parties to sign. With PandaDoc, you can sign your documents with an e-signature.

How do you write a winning bid proposal?

In order to create a successful bid proposal, you and your team should first understand what makes your company unique.

Once you can clearly define strengths (and any weaknesses), you can 100% use this knowledge to craft a winning bid proposal!

To write a bid proposal that rises above your competitors, start by following these steps.

Understand the project

Make sure you know everything there is to know about the project and the client’s goals before writing a bid proposal.

You can often do this by reading the job description, but if you think you need additional information — and the client appears receptive — ask!

That client may appreciate your desire to go the extra mile before submitting your finished proposal.

Research your client

Keep in mind that a bid proposal can be less about your business and more about the client.

You can, for instance, look at your client’s website.

For example, how do they approach presenting solutions or deliverables? What’s their company culture like?

This will assist you in comprehending the challenges they face and the values they stand for — important info that you can use to your advantage.

Assess the competition

Looking into businesses that offer the same service as you do will help when writing a successful bid proposal.

For example, you can use the data from a competitive analysis of your primary rival to set your bid apart.

Propose additional goods or services

In addition to your project proposal, you can also suggest providing extra goods or services free of charge for your customer to consider.

It may help you stand out from the competition, improving your customer relationships.

Include relevant information

Include samples of your product or a case study of your service to show that your company is capable of completing the project.

This will help your prospective (or repeat) client better understand the value your company can provide regarding this specific job and why they should place your bid proposal toward the top of their list.

Proofread your bid proposal

As this is a written document (digitally or otherwise), you must always double-check the spelling and grammar of your bid proposal.

Now that you know what to write in your bid proposal, you can use our ready-made templates to speed up the bidding process, saving time while securing new customers.

What are the benefits of a bid proposal?

Knowing how to write a business proposal will help you find new prospects, lock them in and develop and grow your business. 

Here are some of the benefits that come your way once you’re able to deliver a killer bid proposal:

1. Show your company’s expertise, attention to detail, and overall quality

With the right bid proposal, you give the customer an overview of your services or products, the associated costs, and a clear roadmap for successfully completing the project.

2. Help your clients understand their business issues

A well-written bid shows that you understand your client’s needs and how your services are relevant to their business.

Doing so not only instills confidence in the client — it will also assist you once it’s time to negotiate a contract.

3. Provide a knowledge base for taking future bids

This will help you create a database of proposal content for your products or services that you can reuse for future customers — extremely valuable, as it not only saves time but a personal library will help keep everything uniform and professional.

And we can help with that as well.

4. Define more accurate pricing

With consistent estimates of the total cost of each project you bid on, you and your team will avoid working at a loss while convincing more clients to work with you.

Final words

You are now armed and ready to convince your next prospect!

At PandaDoc, we are here to help your business nail those proposals with templates and tools for proposals, contracts, and invoicing

Get started now by creating your account with a free trial!