How to Write a Formal Bid

Writing bids is a necessary part of many businesses. When a company or individual wants to hire a contractor to do a job, the company or individual will look for the best contractor at the most reasonable cost. Companies bid on the job being offered. A formal bid is an offer to do a job in a specified time for a specified cost.

Speak with the organization who will consider hiring you. Determine the job expectations regarding cost and a time frame to do the job. Tour the job site. Make notes during this session that you will use to write your formal bid. The more information you get here, the more you will be able to work out a formal bid suitable to all parties. It will also help ensure there are no surprise additions to the job after the formal bid is written and submitted.

Figure the cost of doing the job. This will include your labor costs (hiring the people you need to help complete the job) and the cost of materials. Figure in the cost of doing the job with the percentage of profit you desire (depending upon your business structure). This is the figure you will have for doing the job. The key to a winning bid is to do make the best cost offer, time for completion offer, and quality offer possible while still making a profit. Check your figures to ensure you've offered the best cost to the customer you can, as well as a reasonable time frame for completion or delivery.

Write a detailed description of the job you intend to do. This should include everything discussed between the client and your company. The formal bid will become part of the job contract, so be thorough. It can save you headaches later.

Write a breakdown of the cost of each element of the jobs you will do. Don't include your costs in the bid. This is not for the consumer. The prices you include in the formal bid will be the prices you are charging to do those jobs. Be clear about each job and what you will charge to do it. Write these figures in list format after the initial job description, making it easy for the client to reference. The total of these figures will be the cost of the job.


  • You can create your own bid form, purchase one in an office supply store or download a free bid form online.