What Is a Letter of Intent to Bid?

An image of a man with his typewriter is used for The Bid Lab's Learning Center article, "What Is a Letter of Intent to Bid?"

A Letter of Intent to Bid isn’t always a required RFP document, but may be one your organization considers implementing into your response process. You may be asking why you should bother with it if it isn’t required? After all, RFPs have enough requirements all on their own! So, let’s dig in.

Imagine your business intends to respond to a Department of Defense RFP that’s not due for four (4) weeks, or maybe longer. Especially when dealing with larger government contracts, there are myriad reasons why delays or changes in their procurement process may occur. In turn, these changes directly affect your response and associated effort. It will make all the difference to your team’s response management process if you’re notified of amendments as they happen. Especially when time and money are at stake!

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What Is a Letter of Intent to Bid?

A Letter of Intent to Bid (or LOI for short) is a very simple business letter that a vendor sends to the RFP’s procurement contact notifying them of your “intention to bid” on their RFP.  LOIs are also referred to as a Statement of Intent or Statement of Interest (these are used interchangeably but also have their own places within the RFP process). However, the LOI step happens after your team has reviewed the RFP thoroughly and knows you can fully comply with the RFP requirements. 

It’s important to note that an LOI isn’t necessary for vendors to send for every RFP. Rather, they’re best for large contracts, typically for agencies with longer timelines, various phases, and numerous meetings or conferences. Then, followed by question and answer periods. Basically, send an LOI for any RFP that you want to absolutely ensure you have all available information for in order to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunication prior to submitting a response.

When Is a LOI Required?

Procurement offices might require vendors to submit an LOI to help them gauge the level of interest in the RFP.  

Government agencies must follow strict procurement guidelines when spending taxpayer dollars. To further this, the agency must have a specific number of vendors interested in responding to their RFP to ascertain competition and ensure that all vendors get fair consideration. By requiring an LOI from vendors, the agency is able to make an educated decision on whether to continue the RFP process if enough interest is received. Alternatively, if not enough vendors show interest, this allows the agency to save the time and resources by pausing the procurement process sooner rather than later.

How to Write a LOI

Sometimes, when LOIs are a requirement, agencies will provide templates for vendors to fill out to submit. Many other times, it’s up to the vendor to create the letter. But, don’t fret, the LOI is probably the simplest document a vendor can provide as part of the RFP process. The goal of the letter is to confirm to the agency that your company intends to bid on the specific project, and would like to be notified of any updates before the required due date. 

Using proper business letter formatting, your letter of intent should include:

  • Your company’s name and contact information
  • The proposal’s contact information 
  • The RFP title
  • A short confirmation of your intention to bid on the project. For example:
  • A short closing, thanking them for the opportunity to bid on their project
  • A handwritten signature

It’s that simple! Keep in mind that the LOI should not be used to ask questions or include information on how your company plans to respond to their RFP. All of those details will have their opportunity to shine during the remainder of the response process. 

Finally, implementing this simple tool at the beginning stages of an RFP response can help you stay ahead of the competition. Addressing the procurement team and stating your interest and intention to bid on their project will help your business stay top-of-mind when comparing your response to the competition. So, even when an LOI is not a requirement on a project you want to acquire, we recommend taking this simple extra step to go the extra mile.

Looking to Stand Out Against the Competition?

The Bid Lab helps small and medium-sized businesses win big opportunities within the procurement world. We help your business stand out by implementing our tried-and-true methods to organize your data, processes and people. So, contact us today to see how we can make your experience a positive and informative one!


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