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The Bid Proposal: 12 Steps to Win Your Bid!

Putting together a bid proposal is similar to creating a resume and cover letter to apply for a job – and we all know how important first impressions can be. With that in mind, when submitting a proposal to the project owner, contractors need to provide the clearest view of their skills and how they can specifically apply them to the project at hand. 

Since we know that creating a great bid proposal can can be the difference between winning or losing the job,  we've compiled a list of best practices to make sure you put your best foot forward.

Below is a 12-step layout of what to include in your bid proposal to give your business the best chance of winning the project:

1). Your company name, logo, and contact information.

2). The contractor’s name and contact information.

3). The current date and proposal timeline.

4.) The project’s name and location.

5.) A breakdown of the cost of the project.

  • Include information regarding the proposal type in this section. If you are specializing in a certain type of project, such as electrical or heating, make that clear. If this project involves more than one specialty, such as a combination of mechanical, HVAC, and plumbing work, separate each of these trades in your proposal and give the specific cost of each one in a line item sheet. 

6) The overall price for the project.

  • Take the price of each of those broken down line items and include your contractor’s fee (typically 10-25 percent) to create the total cost of the project.

7) A summary of the scope of work.

  • Include every aspect of the project in this section, including the original drawings as reference. Use your line item list as a guide to detail each portion of the work you will be doing. Get specific about the numbers and materials that will be required to finish the job. Also use this as a way to clarify your intentions for any deviations from the original bid documents and any fixtures that are yet to be determined.

8) Any concerns or stipulations.

  • To alleviate your own worry (and liability), be upfront about any issues specific to your company or concerns about the project itself. As a contractor takes a risk with every project he or she takes on, include any necessary information regarding code requirements and the need to negotiate any potential changes to the plan. Base these on the specs included in the bid invitation.

9) An estimated timeline and deadline for the project.

10) Any necessary equipment to complete the work.

11) An appreciative conclusion.

  • End on a note of thanks toward the person reading your bid, thanking them for taking the time to consider it; invite them to contact you with any questions as they move forward in their selection process.

12) The actual construction contract.

  • Along with your bid, attach a contract for your work. This will give the owner a look at the conditions that come along with the bid, such as payment expectations and dates, so they can negotiate these points early on, if needed.

As a general rule, make sure that your bid proposal and contract have been edited for grammar and clarity. You aren’t trying to win a Pulitzer Prize in writing, but you do want to give a professional and polite image for your company and yourself. Putting in a little extra effort will help set you above the other companies bidding on the project.


Follow this step-by-step process to create project-winning bid proposals on a regular basis and gain the confidence to step up to the plate whenever the right jobs come your way. Of course, the best way to create a great bid proposal is to be sure you are bidding on the right projects for your company. That's why we recommend making sure you have a good process in place to select and prioritize the best work. So feel free to take a moment to run through our checklist to see if your process might be ready for an update!




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