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'Tendor' meaning? Or is it 'tender'?

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Jun 07, 2024

Tendor meaning and its importance in procurement

At Thornton & Lowe, we often encounter variations in how procurement and bidding terms are spelled and used by our clients. One such variation is "tendor," which is frequently used by SMEs looking to "tendor meaning" or to tendor for business." In the procurement and tendering world, the correct term is "tender."

Tendor meaning = Tender

'Tendor' is therefore a misspelling of 'tender', which refers to the noun or verb sense of the word related to formal offers to supply goods or services.

A tender is a document that outlines the requirements and specifications of a project or contract, and invites potential suppliers or contractors to submit their proposals or bids. For example, think of a local council who has a requirement. They develop a tender pack or document. They then invite relevant companies, or advertise the tender. You therefore here the term invitation to tender or ITT. So, a tender can also be the act of submitting or receiving such a document.

A tender is a common way of conducting public sector procurement activities, especially for large or complex projects that require multiple criteria and evaluation methods. A tender aims to ensure a fair, transparent, and competitive process that results in the best value for money and quality for the buyer.

Invitation to Tender (ITT)

An invitation to tender, or ITT, is a specific type of tender that is used to solicit bids from qualified suppliers or contractors for a defined scope of work. An ITT usually includes detailed information on the project background, objectives, deliverables, timeline, budget, and evaluation criteria. An ITT also specifies the format and requirements for the submission of bids, such as the documents, forms, policies, and references that must be included. An ITT is typically issued after a pre-qualification or expression of interest stage, where potential bidders are screened and shortlisted based on their suitability and capability. An ITT is a formal and binding document that sets the terms and conditions of the tender process and the contract.

Bidders who respond to an ITT, which you may have referred to as a 'tendor', must comply with all the instructions and stipulations, and must be prepared to enter into a contract if they are selected as the successful bidder. Our bid writing guide provides further insight and guidance on bid writing and tendering.

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'Tendor meaning' - other definitions

The word 'tendor' does have other various meanings and uses depending on how it is spelled, used and whereabouts in the world you are.

A few other meanings and definitions of the term 'tendor':

- Tendor (noun) - a person who tends or looks after something, such as a garden, a flock, or a machine. For example, a gardener is a tendor of plants, a shepherd is a tendor of sheep, and a mechanic is a tendor of vehicles.

- Tendor (verb) - to offer or present something formally or officially, such as a resignation, an apology, or a bid. For example, a politician may tendor their resignation after a scandal, a celebrity may tendor an apology after a controversy, or a company may tendor a bid for a project.

In the UK we would still use 'tender'.

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