What Is a Bid Cover Letter?

by Clayton Browne; Updated September 26, 2017

Almost all business proposals or applications today require an accompanying cover letter. Depending on the context and the proposal, the cover letter can range from a brief introduction to a thorough synopsis of the contents of the proposal. When writing a cover letter for a formal bid for a project, know the essential components to make your letter stand out.

Contents

A cover letter for a formal bid for a project should appear professional in all respects and reflect the business expertise of the company. At a minimum, the cover letter should include a reference to the project by name and project number, if available; the general terms of the bid, including deadlines; and a complete list of all documents and attachments sent with the cover letter.

Length

The length of a bid cover letter can vary significantly based on the size and specifications of the job. While it is generally best to be as brief as possible, make sure to include all necessary information and don't make the letter so short that it looks as if you put minimal effort into producing it.

Header Information

Include the date the cover letter was written in your header, along with full contact information. Reference the project name and project number in the header of your letter and again in the body of the letter. Use stationery with letterhead if possible, or at least good quality bond paper.

Exclusions

Do not use a "canned" letter as potential clients may pick up on this. Take the time to customize each letter. Do not specifically mention the bid price in your cover letter, unless instructed to do so. This type of detailed information should be reserved for the bid itself. Do not overuse technical jargon. Aim to sound professional, but not pretentious.

About the Author

Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.