DECLINING TO BID? ions ted Nat

Practical guides to doing business with the United Nations
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Sample Sentences
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Declining to Bid? Sample Sentences
Time to Decline to Bid?
No matter how much you want UN business, sometimes you may have to decline to bid. The
scope of the actual RFP or ITB may be different to what the Expression of Interest led you to
believe, or you may have capacity constraints to meet the expected delivery dates. You might
also be running short on man power and time to prepare a good quality proposal in a time
frame stipulated in the bid documents. Or the bid is simply out of your business scope - maybe
you never even expressed interest for it; it just came with the mail out of the blue.
Never bid out of courtesy. Bid only if it makes good business sense to you.
If you do not intend to bid, let the sender know you won’t, in writing. This is about being
responsive and shows you care enough to take the time to communicate. It is also a decent
thing to do.
What should be in the letter?
When declining to bid, and if the bid package does not include a form that can be used for the
purpose, draft a letter; then email, fax or mail it, as instructed in the bid.
The letter should include the following elements:
The bid reference
A clear statement of you declining to bid / not submitting a proposal
Reason for declining
Brief summary/statement of what you may have done to try to overcome the issue that
prevents you from bidding
 A statement of interest for future opportunities
The tone: courteous but to the point.
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Declining to Bid? Sample Sentences
What should not be in the letter?
Stay focused. A well formulated decline to bid can make you more memorable (in a good way)
than a bid that is put together in haste, and submitted merely for the sake of appearances.
 Do not add information, news or requests that are not related to that specific bid—do
not seek meetings to introduce our new CEO, or send the latest industry statistics with
your Decline to Bid.
 Do not combine several bid references into one letter.
 Do not seek an extension of the deadline to submit a bid in your Decline to Bid letter.
If the time line is your real issue, and you have a good justification, seek an extension
to the submission deadline in writing as soon as you have reviewed the bid package.
Asking for an extension late in the process, or citing timing issues without even asking
for an extension gives the impression that timing is really not a genuine concern.
 Do not introduce grievances or complaints about the bid or the bidding process that
you have not even tried to address before by following the due process and right
channels for this. If you know or believe, for example, that the specifications are not
generic, or feel that the tight time lines unduly limit competition, address that in writing
together with your ‘evidence’ as soon as you make your discovery. Sitting on an issue
silently does not make it a credible concern. And if you have no supporting facts to lean
on, it is not, in my opinion, even worth pursuing.
However, if you have raised an issue and followed the due process, you can go on
record in your Decline to Bid letter and refer to your earlier communications regarding
the matter. That demonstrates that you had indeed tried to bring a concern, and
possibly even a potential solution, to the client’s attention, because you wanted to be
part of the bidding process, but that their decision (or indecision) not to revise the
specification (or the dead line, the scope etc.) is the reason you cannot participate.
But do note that the UN’s operational circumstances may drive requirements and time
lines that can at times seem unreasonable without being that. So don’t be petty, just
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Declining to Bid? Sample Sentences
Sample sentences
To: xxxx
Date: xxxx
Subject: RFPS [ITB]-123xxx for the Provision of xxxx
We appreciate having been given the opportunity to review the subject bid
documentation. However, after careful review of the subject RFP [ITB], (and
the related clarifications dated xxxx,) we are regrettably not in a position to
submit a proposal.
If your reason is related to TIMING:
Although the bid is within the scope of our business, and we are interested in principle, at
present, we are unfortunately unable to respond, due to other commitments entered into
--Although the bid is within the scope of our business, due to the high demand of our products
and the related capacity constraints in our production facility, we are unable to meet the
expected delivery date for the full quantity as required in the bid documents. We also note
that our suggestions for a staggered delivery / partially postponed deliveries / air freight
options are not acceptable to the xxx, as confirmed to us in writing by xxxx on [date].
--In our opinion, the set lead time for providing a meaningful and high quality proposal is too
short, especially considering the scope and complexity of this RFP [ITB]. We already voiced
our concerns in this regard in our communication dated xxx to [person name], however, we
have noted in your clarifications dated xxx that the original deadline cannot be extended due
to xxxx.
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Declining to Bid? Sample Sentences
If the bid is OUT OF SCOPE for your business:
Although xxxx is part of our business activity / product range in general, we are unable to
adhere to the mandatory requirement of xxxx, as specified in the RFP [ITB], paragraph xxxx.
And while we would be able to meet the requirement by way of xxxx, it has been confirmed
to us by [person] on [date] that not meeting such mandatory criteria as per the RFP [ITB]
renders the bid/proposal technically non-compliant.
--While we have been providing similar equipment to xxx for xxx years, your special
requirement for [e.g. ongoing maintenance globally, 24/7 help-desk, permanent presence in
xxx, user training in xxx languages etc.] can only be realized starting xx months after contract
signing. However, you are not in a position to accept this type of arrangement, as per the
clarifications we received [date] from [person].
--The services / products described in the subject RFP / ITB are not within our area of
expertise, nor did we express interest for the said requirements. Our company provides xxxx.
Accordingly, the UNGM commodity codes we have registered for include xxx.
--Given that the bid specifications relate to the products of xxx brand, and as these products
and related services can only be provided by xxx, we are understandably not in a position to
submit a proposal. As already stated in our communication dated xxx which was addressed to
xxx, we find that the way the specifications have been formulated continue to limit
competition. And although we suggested that ‘or similar / equivalent’ be added to the bid
specification to make it generic, the communication dated xxx and received from [person]
confirmed that such a suggestion could not be entertained for xxx reasons. As such, we are
unable to participate in this solicitation.
However, we remain interested in similar bidding opportunities (or in
opportunities in the area of xxx). Accordingly, we hope to be included into the
relevant bidders lists even in the future. We will naturally also monitor the
Requests for Expression of Interest.
Should any of the above require further clarifications, please do not hesitate to
contact [person] at [email address & telephone].
Yours sincerely,
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Declining to Bid? Sample Sentences
You can read more about the situations where you may be better off declining to bid than
spending time in preparing a submission, in this EzineArticle ( ‘When
Companies Are Better Off Declining to Bid for the United Nations contracts – The Five
Scenarios’. 
Disclaimer: The above content is solely for informational purposes and represents the views of the author,
and is based on professional experiences from the UN system 2004-2012. It is not intended as legal advice.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of the content, the author and
assume no responsibility for errors and omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information
contained herein. While this content may be used by companies as reference for drafting letters of decline to
bid, the content may not be redistributed, copied, amended, or commercially exploited without expressed
written permission of, which permission may be withheld at the sole discretion of
Content by: Kaisamaija Valimaki, Principal Adviser,