What is the difference between a bid and a tender? 

In short, they are the same thing. 

Traditionally a ‘Tender’ is a formal offer (bid) to supply goods, works, or services, but it is now also commonly used to describe the contracts people are bidding for – which can be confusing. While we might be able to rely on context to identify which is being described, there are alternative terms you can use to help avoid confusion.  

Interchangeable terms used to describe a procurement need within the public sector 

Request for Tender (RFT) 
Invitation to Tender (ITT) 
Contract opportunity 

Interchangeable terms used to describe a formal offer from a supplier to fulfill the procurement need


Learn more about bidding for work in the public sector 

If you would like to learn more about tendering terminology and improve your bid writing skills, we would recommend our 7hr training course – An Introduction to Public Procurement and Bid Writing. This course has been designed to equip you with everything you need to confidently bid for work in the public sector. It is delivered online over two interactive sessions lasting three and a half hours each. 

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