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Bids & Proposals

The life of an organization depends on Bids & Proposals (B&P). More than a simple price quote from a catalog, these documents outline the product specification, services, terms and conditions (T&C), and other information vital to the evaluation and award of a contract. Many organizations have individuals or teams dedicated to B&P, and customers expect complete, accurate, and timely information upon which to base their decision.

Some B&P may only require a single-page response with price and standard T&C, while others fill several volumes with entire sections dedicated to technical specification, management, prior performance, and cost or price details. Read the Request for Quote/Proposal (RFQ/P), know the difference, and know what is expected. Submitting an incomplete bid may disqualify your organization from further competition on the effort or may cause a determination based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

RFQs are solicitations under FAR 13 “Simplified Acquisition Procedures.” RFPs are solicitations under FAR 15 “Contracting by Negotiation.” IFBs (Invitations for Bids) are solicitations under FAR 14 “Sealed Bidding.”

“Offer” means a response to a solicitation that, if accepted, would bind the offeror to perform the resultant contract. Responses to RFQs (simplified acquisitions) are “quotations,” not offers, responses to RFPs (negotiation) are called “proposals,” and responses to IFBs (sealed bidding) are called “bids” or “sealed bids.”


A quotation is not an offer and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Issuance of an order by the Government in response to a supplier’s quotation does not establish a contract. The order is an offer by the Government to the supplier to buy certain supplies or services upon specified terms and conditions. A contract is established when the supplier accepts the offer.


RFPs are used in negotiated acquisitions to communicate Government requirements to prospective contractors and to solicit proposals. RFPs for competitive acquisitions describe the:


  • Government’s requirement
  • anticipated terms and conditions that will apply to the contract
  • information required to be in the offeror’s proposal, and
  • factors and significant subfactors that will be used to evaluate the proposal and their relative importance.


Use the resources below when reviewing and preparing responses: