Lesson 2: Common Tender Terms

A tender can take on many forms and there are many terms used in the tendering process. Here are some commonly used expressions you need to know. 

Tender (Bid) 

The formal offer made by a supplier to a client. 

Tenderer (Supplier, Seller, Bidder, Respondent) 

The organisation bidding for work. The client will invite bids from multiple suppliers. 

Client (Agency, Buyer, Principal) 

The tendering organisation. 

A tender can take on many forms and there are many terms used in the tendering process. While there is no standard tender format or structure, here are some commonly used expressions you need to know. 

EOI – Expression of Interest

Often used as the first phase of a Request for Information (RFI), Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Tender (RFT). 

It’s the document where you detail your interest in providing specific products or services for a client.  

An EOI is often used for the shortlisting process.  

It’s important to follow the EOI instructions carefully, as a compliant and innovative EOI will lead to the next stage in the tender process. A non-compliant document will usually prevent you from progressing to the next round. 

RFI – Request for Information

The initial step in the procurement process, where the client requests general information from you. An RFI can lead to a RFQ or RFP. 

When responding to an RFI it’s important to understand what the information is for. Information received from the response can often be found in the next stage documents. You don’t want to give away your trade secrets to a competitor. Be thorough in your understanding of the requirements of the RFI and the next steps.  

RFP – Request for Proposal

An invitation for you, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal for specific products or services. The scope is usually not as defined as an RFT, and may provide flexibility for alternative proposals or solutions.  

RFQ – Request for Quotation

A formal procurement process where you submit a quote for specific goods or services. The information required in an RFQ may be significantly less detailed than an RFI or RFP.  

RFT – Request for Tender

This involves a full, formal tendering process where the client will evaluate your information and your ability to provide specific products or services. The RFT is usually comprised of: Conditions of Tender, Conditions of Contract, Statement of Requirements, and the response framework. The tender response must include detailed information according to the prescribed framework. A successful submission, along with the Conditions of Contract, will form the basis of the final negotiated contract between you and the client. 


What else? 

Other common terms used in the tendering process are: 

Tender Submission (Response Document) 

The tender response document must include detailed information according to the prescribed framework or format. It must address all the specifications and be submitted according to a set deadline. A successful submission, along with the Conditions of Contract, will form the basis of the final negotiated contract between you and the client. 

Conditions of Tender (Conditions of Offer) 

 The conditions that the supplier must agree to and meet, to be considered by the client.  

Conditions of Contract 

All the Terms and Conditions of the work that is to be performed, and the rights and responsibilities of all parties. 

Statement of Requirements (Specifications) 

information that must be provided by the supplier about the specific project relating to pricing, delivery, timing and performance.  

Selection Criteria (Evaluation Criteria) 

The requirements specified by the client that must be included in the tender response. These may contain mandatory and non-mandatory criteria.  

Tender Schedule (Response Framework) 

The form that the supplier is required to complete and submit as part of the tender response. Usually, this will be a highly structured and formatted template.  

However, a free format submission is where the client has not defined a structure for the supplier’s response. The free format provides an opportunity for the supplier to expand on their capabilities, professionalism and experience. 

Non-price Attributes 

The “quality” part of the supplier’s offer. These requirements will often be evaluated by the client according to pre-determined weightings given to each attribute. 

Conforming (Compliant) 

A bid or tender response that meets the requirements of the document in full. 

Non-conforming 

A bid that does not comply with the provisions within the tender document.  

Evaluating panel (Evaluator) 

Tender responses are usually assessed by a panel or committee. The first step is to check the response is compliant. Then it will be evaluated against the criteria as specified in the RFT documents.  

Successful / Unsuccessful tender 

The suppliers who have been awarded the contract will be advised in writing. Unsuccessful bidders are also be advised in writing and allowed the opportunity to debrief with the client.