Contract Proposal writing

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Contract Proposal writing

Every contract process starts with a proposal or an offer made by one party to another. To secure a valid agreement such proposal must be accepted. Therefore, a construction proposal is a written offer from a bidder to an owner to carry out and to furnish all labor, materials, equipment and/or services for the prices and terms quoted by the proposed contractor.

Writing a contract proposal requires that you compose an intriguing and compelling narrative that explains why your company is best-suited for the work the client whether public or private sector is asking for.

Proposal writing is a very important skill every enterprising project manager or entrepreneur should know. Many online-guides on this subject abound, indicating that this skill is unarguably extremely important. But being able to write a winning contract proposal takes more than just good writing skills and English language prowess. It requires a high level of coordination within the contracting team, a profound knowledge of the nature and scope of the job as well as the capacity of the contracting firm to deliver on the said proposal.

Almost all government projects require contractors to submit proposals/bids so that contracts are awarded on a fair and competitive basis. Because public sector proposals are the most challenging to write, and often the most time-consuming to construct, as there are a lot of details and modalities to pay attention to, if you know how to write a winning contract proposal for the government, writing one for private-sector work will not be a hassle.

Important features of a valid contract proposal

Let us quickly look at some features of a valid proposal

1.A proposal must allow for legal implications

A valid proposal must lead to a contract that compulsorily creates legal relations thereby inducing legal consequences in case of non-performance. Therefore, a contract which does not create legal relations will not be valid. A casual lunch offer from Mr. Boniface to Mr. Duke is not a valid offer.

Defaulting in the terms of a valid contract will attract legal implications. This is termed a breach of contract.

2. A proposal must be clear and unambiguous:

The terms of the proposal should be very clear and definite. If the terms are vague or unclear, it will not amount to a valid offer.

Sometimes contractors submitting proposals employ ambiguities as technique to alter contract terms and sums as in the case of the Nearby McMahon building. However, as much as possible an offer should be clear enough for both parties to adopt. Take for instance a proposal to conduct a statistics of people living in Enugu.   This is not valid since indices such as sex, age range, subject of statistics (whether people living with particular diseases or living under a stated condition), period under review, etc are not represented. Again a proposal to construct a living home is still not valid since specifics such as number of floors, project schedules, quality required, construction and finishing materials quality, etc are not listed.

3. Stakeholders’ awareness:

No proposal is sealed without proper chain of communication between stakeholders in the proposed project. It must be clearly communicated to the client and other stakeholders involved. No client can accept the proposal without knowledge of the terms of agreement. It should be noted that acceptance ignorance of the proposal does not amount to acceptance.

4. An offer may be conditional:

Most times in project management, a client can offer to seal a deal with a contractor on the basis that the contractor meets some terms which are part of the project in question. These terms could be to finance especially initial work packages involved in the project, expect advance payment or undertake some oversight functions involved.   At this juncture, the contractor can accept, reject or make a counter offer.

5. Offer cannot contain a Negative Condition:

The non-compliance to any terms of the offer cannot lead to automatic acceptance of the offer. Hence it cannot say that if acceptance is not communicated by a certain time it will be considered as accepted. For instance in site supervision, oral instructions from consulting firm to contractor is considered a valid instruction. However such instructions cannot be followed through with until a written document representing the instructions by the consultant is forwarded to the contractor. In case such written documents does not come immediately, the contractor has to wait for one week duration before sending in writing an articulated format of the already given oral instructions to the consultant who goes through it to ensure whether it represents her position regarding the condition at hand.

6. Offer may be Expressed or Implied:

The proposed client can make an offer through words or even by his conduct. An offer which is made via words, whether such words are written or spoken (oral contract) we call it an express contract. And when an offer is made through the conduct and the actions of the offeror it is an implied contract.

Basic Components of a winning proposal:

There is no strict step by step guide on writing proposals. However, it is to your advantage to always frame your proposal to align as closely as possible to the funders programs’ mission without going so far that you are compromising your interests.

In writing, you clearly specify what problem you will solve or what task you will accomplish. You say when, where, and how you will do this. You specify how the funding agency will be able to assess your progress and determine when you have appropriately completed the project. The proposal is a very detailed plan of how you will perform the job. It specifies what resources are needed, how they will be used, and when they will be used. If the proposal is funded, you will hire staff and put people to work on a plan of action calling for specific tasks to be accomplished by specific deadlines. Such administrative details can be identified and written into the proposal, easing implementation of the project after funding.

It is worthy to note that your interest as a writer is to convince the Resource Provider that you will be successful in what you are undertaking to do. Your attention to detail in the proposal provides evidence of your knowledge of the entire project process and your ability to carry out all tasks involved. Hence, ensure you have a recommendable understanding of the overall mission or purpose of the project and the goals you want to accomplish.

Problem Statement. 

A concise description of an issue to be addressed or a condition to be improved upon is stated. Identify the gap between the current problem and desired goal of the project. This could Include needs assessment and brief summary/analysis of the literature.

Planned Activities:

Provide a detailed discussion of steps to be followed in achieving the project. There could be an established methodology the contractor hope to apply. Under this section, he outlines the means of implementing this methodology.


This covers means of assessment to guarantee that the objectives of the project is going to be achieved. This assessment could be in form of result measures with necessary timelines. Reports, audits, inspections, review meetings and appraisals could be necessary for these checks.


Analyze the adequacy of total resources available to you including local and grant-provided resources. Give the names and qualifications of personnel who will be working on the project. Provide a description of the overall capabilities and resources of the organization submitting the proposal.


Analyze the short- and long-term impact of the project. Before you start writing a proposal, make sure you have an understanding of the overall mission or purpose of the project and the goals you want to accomplish.

A simple, short, clear statement of the overall objective or purpose is highly desirable. This statement will appear in the abstract and body of the proposal, as well as a number of times in other components throughout the document. It is common to include it in the first paragraph of the proposal. Such statements could be drafted to look catchy.

After your general purpose becomes clear, begin to think about more specific goals and objectives. These goals are stepping stones to the successful fulfillment of the larger mission.


Include a detailed budget and budget notes. All financial responsibilities and obligations to be taken care of by third party should be noted. Sponsorship is also noted.

Project Schedule:

Timeline for all activities necessary to achieving the overall goal is noted here. All projects must have a definite start and finish date, hence this is indicated in the schedule.

Executive summary

A brief introduction of the proposal, describing your business, the problem that the project intends to solves, your target market, and financial highlights is written under the executive summary. The executive summary is usually written last to ensure it covers in entirety the details of the proposal. However, it appears foremost in the document.


An introduction is the beginning section which states the purpose and goals of the proposed project/program. It’s one of the very important parts of a proposal and should be drafted convincingly.

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