The Bidding Language

The Language

This is a list of commonly used procurement terms in the US and Europe. It is not an exhaustive list, we’ve tried to cover the main terms, you will invariably collect more on your bidding journey.


Award Criteria

The criteria by which a contract is to be awarded.


Best And Final Offer (BAFO)

Following clarification /negotiation, the bidder’s final offer not subject to further discussion.

Generic term for the document you submit to a buyer for work in a competition.

The organization competing for the contract through a competition.

The organization buying the goods, services or works.


Capability Statement
A one or two pager summarizing an organization’s background, their core competencies, experience, capabilities, and past performance.

The Commercial and Government Entity – is a five-character ID number that identifies government contractors. Used by the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation and NASA, among other federal government agencies.

Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
A register operated by many federal, state, and local government agencies that requires a potential bidder to be registered with them before they do business with you.

Contracting Authority (CA)
The government/public-sector body buying goods, services or works.

Contracting Officer (CO)
The person(s) with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts.

Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR)
COR will assist the Contracting Officer in administering specific aspects of a contract, will provide financial or technical expertise.

Contract Notice
An advertisement notifying suppliers of a contract opportunity.


Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise (DVBE)
A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the military.


Evaluation Criteria
The method by which a tender response is marked.

Expression Of Interest (EOI)
A request to advise the procurer that you are interested in the tender opportunity.


Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
A standardized set of regulations used by all federal agencies in making purchases.

Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA)
Law enacted in 1994 to simplify US government buying procedure, and lower barriers to procurement.

Federal Fiscal Year
The federal fiscal year runs from October 1 and to the following September 30.

Fair And Reasonable Price
A price that is fair to both parties and is subject to statutory and regulatory limitations.

Framework Agreement
A formal agreement with selected suppliers.


General Services Administration (GSA)
A centralized federal procurement and property management agency, GSA acquires products and communications for government offices and provides office solutions for federal employees.

GSA Schedule Contracts
Indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ), long-term contracts which involve pre-negotiated prices, delivery terms, warranties, and other terms and conditions which streamline the buying process.


Invitation For Bid (IFB)
This bid method is typically used as part of a sealed bid process. Contract is usually awarded to the lowest priced bidder.

Invitation To Participate In Dialogue (ITPD)
The document inviting bidders to participate in a competitive dialogue procedure.

Invitation To Tender (ITT)
The suite of tender documents issued to bidders invited to tender for a contract.


Minority Business Enterprises (MBE)
Minority businesses must be at least 51% minority-owned operated and controlled.


Official Journal Of The European Union (OJEU)
The official publication in which all high-value public sector contracts in the European Union must be advertised.

Open Procedure
Procurement method for high-value public sector contracts. Suppliers can apply without prior selection for example through a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.


Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS)
The government wide single repository of contractor past performance data. The only authorized application to retrieve performance information.

Generic term for the document you submit to a buyer for work in a competition.

Point Of Contact (POC)
A person or a department serving as the focal point of information concerning the procurement activity.

Pre-Bid Or Pre-Proposal Conferences
A meeting for bidders held by the buyer after the Invitation to Bid or Request for Proposal. Buyers will typically present the project, and bidders get the opportunity to understand more and ask questions.

Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ)
A questionnaire used to shortlist bidders and invite them to tender.

Pre-Solicitation Notice
Provides notice that a solicitation will be released and solicits capability responses from bidders.

Prime Contract
A contract awarded directly by the Federal government.

The process of buying goods and services.

Generic term for the document you submit to a buyer for work in competition.


Restricted Procedure
Procurement method for high-value public sector contracts. Supplier are selected by an open first-round invitation e.g. a Pre-qualification Questionnaire.

Request For Information (RFI)
Used to gather information to inform buying decision.

Request For Proposal (RFP)
A formal request for a proposal.

Responsible Procurement
Also known as sustainable procurement, generally considered to be a procurement process that takes into account social, environmental and economic impacts.

Request For Quote (RFQ)
When a buyer asks a firm to submit a quote for the specific activity or item.


Solicitation Announcement
Used to inform potential suppliers of the goods or services to be procured.

Solicitation Document
Used to request potential suppliers submit a quotation, bid or proposal to provide the goods, services or works to be procured.

Small Business Specialist
Employed by the Federal government buying office to help small businesses with bidding to government. Most federal buying offices will have one.

Standard Selection Questionnaire (SSQ)
A questionnaire used to shortlist bidders and invite them to tender.

Statement Of Work (SOW)
A detailed statement that defines the buyer’s entire scope of work and requirements.

Supplier Diversity
A proactive business program aimed at attracting small and diverse suppliers into the supply chain.


Generic term for the process of submitting an application to bid for work in a competition.


Woman Owned Businesses (WOB)
A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a woman.