Difference Between a Tender and Expression of Interest
Do you find it confusing to find a Buyer advertising a Tender and another asking for an Expression of Interest (EOI) ? This handy guide spells out the difference simply for you.
An Expression of Interest (EOI) is part of the qualification process to receive a tender document. The Buyer (the government or private organisation asking for the response) is requesting the supplier/contractors (you) to express an interest in providing goods and services for a project, such as a construction job.
You are being asked if you would like to be considered for the formal bidding process with an EOI.A decision on who gets the job is not decided at this stage.
An EOI is often the first step in a multi-stage tender process whereby more detailed requests for proposal or tender are issued to the shortlisted or registered suppliers. These tenders are sometimes referred to as invited or selected tenders.
An EOI typically seeks information from the supplier that demonstrates the capacity to perform a contract and can result in the supplier entering a negotiation for a contract or being shortlisted for a subsequent tender.
The main difference between an EOI and a tender request is that there is typically no requirement for you to submit a price. The general intent is to enter some form of negotiation or process which may lead to a contract in the future. Unlike these requests, a tender response can be accepted immediately and you can then be legally bound to enter into a contract for the work at the price tendered.
A Tender is similar to the EOI, but it’s a more structured invitation document that seeks more detailed information from the suppliers and contractors. With a tender you will need to provide more information, for example, the estimated cost of the project, time-period to complete the project and financial viability.
Insight: An EOI is very similar to a tender, and like tenders the devil is in the detail. Be sure to read the requests documents carefully, in particular the conditions, to understand your legal obligations when submitting a response.
If you're curious to see an EOI standard form, check out the NSW Government Procurement website. Note that these forms are examples only for the construction industry and EOI forms will differ for different projects.