How to Write a Business Request Letter

by Lisa McQuerrey; Updated September 26, 2017
Close-Up of Hand on Keyboard

A business request letter can be an effective way to ask for a payment, seek quotes or estimates or solicit information. Professionally written letters are specific, detailed and to-the-point. They also provide all the information the recipient needs to comply with the request in a timely and accurate manner.

Use Professional Formatting and Language

A business request letter should be written on company letterhead and come from the individual or department making the request. For example, a letter to a potential job candidate requesting additional information should come from the human resources or hiring manager, while a request letter asking for product samples should come from the purchasing department supervisor. Follow traditional business letter formatting throughout and use formal language to convey a professional image. For example, “Dear Ms. Smith.”

Get to the Point

Write an opening that tells the reader what you need right off the bat. For example, “Your account is 90 days past due and requires immediate action,” or, “Your resume is impressive and I’d like to see letters of recommendation as well as your college transcripts.” Don’t make the recipient wade through superfluous information to get to your point.

Be Specific

Provide all of the information the recipient needs to meet your request, such as purchase order reference or account numbers or copies of contracts or policies. Reference enclosures or attachments in the body of your letter. For example, “As you’ll see in the attached copy of our original agreement, product delivery is scheduled for the first Monday of each month. This is a request to change that date to the third Monday of each month.”

Make Your Request

Detail exactly what you want to happen next so there is no room for misunderstanding from the recipient. For example, “Your invoice must be paid in full by June 15, 2015 or we will be forced to discontinue your service.” Make it easy to comply by enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope, a link to your company’s website payment options page, a mailing label or your full mailing address.

Email Request Letters

While the same basic approach applies to email as well as regular mail letters, there are a few differences to note. Use your company logo and electronic signature and maintain all other formal business letter writing formalities. Also, request a return receipt to verify the recipient received your correspondence.

Keep Records

Print a copy of your request letters for your own reference. This is especially important if you are writing collection letters. In the event a debt must be turned over to a collection agency or attorney, you’ll have a paper trail indicating what you’ve done to collect the debt to date.

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