List of terms used in tendering

The A-Z of Key Tender Terms

The world of tendering can appear to be complex, but it doesn’t have to be! Check out our handy glossary of key tender terms.  

Want a printable copy of this article to go? Click here to download it now.


Addendum: Additional information provided by the buyer relating to a tender opportunity

Alternative Tender: A non-compliant tender response submitted by a tenderer as part of a tender opportunity; typically outlines a different approach to meeting the buyer’s need

Award Notice: Advice provided by the buying organisation on the appointment of a tenderer to the buyer’s opportunity; may be publicly advertised and include details on the winning tenderer and the total contract value


Bid: A quote, tender, expression of interest, or proposal document submitted by a tenderer, detailing their capability to supply goods or services based on a tender opportunity

Bidder: A tenderer participating in a bid process to supply goods or services to a buyer

Buyers: An organisation that is seeking a tenderer who will provide goods or services


Closing Time: The time, specified by the buyer, by which a tenderer must submit their offer

Commercial-in-Confidence: A by-line used in a tenderer’s response to advise the buyer that the content and pricing enclosed is confidential and should not be disclosed to unauthorised parties

Conditions of Contract: Legally binding agreement used by the buyer to engage the tenderer; contains terms relating to the supply and delivery of goods or services as outlined in the buyer’s tender documents

Conditions of Tender: Instructions provided by the buyer about the tender process and the behaviours and actions tenderers must follow; outlines the conditions under which the tenderer is to construct their tender

Confidential Information: Information that is only included in the tender process and cannot be found in the public domain

Conflict of Interest: Direct or indirect monetary interests, or other interests, that may have an impact on the buyer’s view when assessing a tenderer’s submission

Contract: A legal document that the buying organisation will use to engage the tenderer; it is expected that the tenderer abides by the conditions of the contract as part of their approach to delivering the required goods or services

Contract Variation: A formal change made to an existing contract that is mutually agreed upon by both contracting parties

Contractor: The tenderer who has been engaged by the buyer and is required to provide the goods or services outlined in the contract


Debrief: A meeting scheduled with the buyer by unsuccessful tenderers after the outcome of a tender opportunity has been announced

Direct Purchase: The process of buying goods or services directly from the supplier rather than going through intermediaries (such as brokers)

Due Diligence: A process conducted by the buyers, as part of the negotiation and contracting period, to assess the financial capability of a tendering organisation and their ability to meet future contract requirements


Electronic Means: Submissions made via an electronic format, typically through an organisation’s portal

Electronic Tender Box: A secure online portal that allows tenderers to submit tenders

eTendering: Electronic tendering whereby the tender process is run through an online portal; tender documents, questions and answers, and tender submissions are managed through the portal; documents are exchanged securely via the internet

Evaluation Criteria: The approach applied by the buyer when assessing a tenderer’s submission; scores are typically applied to assess the strength and weaknesses of the submission

Expression of Interest (EOI): The initial stage in the tendering process, seeking top-level information from suppliers regarding their capability to address the buyer’s need; can be used by the buyer as a pre-cursor to selecting a list of preferred tenderers to participate in a closed tender; rarely involves pricing


Forum: An online medium used by buying organisations to manage tenderer questions and answers


Goods: Tangible items provided by the tenderer


Indemnity: A legal principle that offers an individual security or protection against a financial loss; under an insurance policy, the individual should be restored to the approximate financial position they were in prior to the loss

Intellectual Property Rights: Information that the buying organisation or tenderer considers to be their own; the owner of the information declares how the other party may access the information as part of the tender solution


Late Tender: A tender submitted after the official closing date and time

Law: Any law (common law, stature, regulation, by-law, writ, judgement) that has an impact on the tender i.e. the client, the procurement process, or the supplier’s requirement

Letter of Acceptance: Written notice from the buyer advising the tenderer that they have been successful in securing the tender opportunity


Mandatory Requirements: Requirements outlined by the buyer that the tenderer must be able to provide as part of their solution

Memorandum of Understanding: A document used by two parties to outline their intentions; typically used by tenderers who are jointly responding to a tender opportunity; it is not a formal contract


Notification: A notice provided to a tenderer on market opportunities advertised in their industry


Offer: A formal tender submission made by a tendering organisation; an offer to provide the goods or services as required by the buying organisation

Open Tender: A publicly advertised buying opportunity


Your free downloadable copy is just a click away!



Panel: A buying approach used to appoint multiple tenderers; does not guarantee any volume of goods or services to be provided

Panel Contracts: A procurement approach used by the buyer for opportunities that multiple suppliers can be appointed to; a panel arrangement sees suppliers appointed to provide goods or services for a set period of time under agreed terms and conditions; once a panel has been established, a buyer may purchase directly from a panel member or approach multiple suppliers to seek competitive quotes

Portal: A website that may include advertised tender opportunities and allows tenderers to register their interest, receive updates, and submit their tender

Preferred Supplier Arrangement/Agreement: A contracted agreement which defines an ongoing relationship between a buyer and supplier; the supplier may provide goods or services under preferential conditions that benefit both parties

Price: The cost associated with an offer made by a tenderer

Prime Contractor: When more than one tenderer is involved in delivering the buyer’s requirements, a single tenderer acts as the leader of the opportunity; typically the leader will sign the contract with the buyer

Principal: Typically how the buying organisation refers to themselves in relation to the contract

Private Tender: The buying opportunity is only available to select, invited tenderers

Procurement: The process of buying goods and services

Procurement Plan: Information on procurement activities planned by the buyer for the forthcoming period, typically a financial year; covers details of the types of procurements, and the procurement approach that will be applied to secure those goods; typically prepared for major, strategic procurement activities

Procurement Process: The process applied by buying organisations of how to appoint a tenderer to supply goods and services; covers planning, specification development, tender period, tender conditions, evaluation, contract negotiations, and supplier appointment; outlines decision making and delegations required to manage the process

Profiles: Information the buyer is seeking from a tenderer that outlines: key personnel (their skills, qualifications, roles and responsibilities in managing the buyer’s requirements), client profiles (the tenderer’s current and past client experience relating to the buying opportunity), and company profiles (the tenderer’s company history and capability, typically including years of operation and industry experience relating to the opportunity)

Public Authority: A government agency or department that has the right to procure services or goods on behalf of the government sector they operate within

Public Tender: A tender notice publicly advertised in media, tender notification services and government portals

Purchasers: Buyers seeking to appoint a tenderer to provide goods or services


Quote: A type of tender opportunity issued by a buyer seeking the supply of goods or services; typically used for the supply of commoditised items for instance, office stationery and vehicles, or used as part of a panel program where registered panel members are required to quote on a specific opportunity


Registration of Interest (ROI): See Expression of Interest (EOI)

Request: An opportunity issued by a buying organisation, including a Request for Tender, Request for Proposal, or a Request for Quote

Request for Information (RFI): Issued by a tendering organisation seeking additional information from the buyer about a tender opportunity; seeking clarification on the specification, contract or other conditions associated with the buyer’s opportunity

Request for Proposal (RFP): A type of tender opportunity issued by a buyer seeking the supply of goods or services; the buyer has defined their requirement and is asking suppliers to outline their ability to meet it

Request for Quotation (RFQ): A type of tender opportunity issued by a buyer seeking the supply of goods or services; typically used for the supply of commoditised items for instance, office stationery and vehicles, or used as part of a panel program where registered panel members are required to quote on a specific opportunity

Request for Tender (RFT): See Request for Proposal (RFP)

Requirements: Typically the buyer’s specification, outlining what they are asking tenderers to provide

Respondent: A tenderer who has submitted a tender response to a buyer’s opportunity

Response Schedules: A format provided by the buying organisation that the tenderer must use as part of their submission

RFx Number: The number allocated to the tender opportunity issued by the buyer


Services: Details of what the buyer is seeking a tenderer to provide; part of the buyer’s specification

Service Levels: Performance requirements that the buying organisation expects the tenderer to meet

Software as a Service (SaaS): A licensing and delivery model, centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis; on-demand software

Specifications: Services the buyer is seeking the tenderer provide as part of their solution

Successful Tenderer: The tenderer whose response is accepted by the buying organisation as the winning bid

Supplier: The tenderer seeking to provide goods or services to the buyer


Tender: An opportunity issued by a buyer seeking the supply of goods or services

Tender Box: Physical, secure location for a hard-copy tender to be submitted

Tenderer: The organisation responding to a tender opportunity

Tender Portal: Website where a tender may be advertised and submitted

Tender Process: The process that the buying organisation applies to secure goods and services, and defined conditions that tenderers are expected to follow

Timetable: The time frame that the buying organisation will apply to manage a tender opportunity; typically covers advertising, tender period, evaluation, presentations, negotiations, contract discussions and appointment

Total Contract Value: The estimated value of the contract over the period of the contract term, including extensions


Validity Period: The period of time in which the buyer expects the tenderer to maintain their price until an offer is accepted by the buyer

Verbal Quote: The verbal issuing of a price by a tenderer


Written Quote: A price put forward in written form; it may form part of a formal Request for Quote


Zip File: A format that allows tenderers to submit a large number of files (or files of a large size) to the buyer, improving the speed of transfer and uploading time; buyers may issue tender documents in zip files as well 


Now that you’re a pro in tender terminology, check out some of our other resources to further boost your tender game! And don’t forget to grab a printable copy of these key tender terms.