How to Present Figures in a Bid Submission

Using Figures in Tenders

How to Present Figures in a Bid Submission

Most RFP responses, and even business reports, are littered with inconsistencies when using figures.  Here are a few rules from the Economist Style Guide to keep you on the straight and narrow.

In the style guide of most publications figures start at 10, but avoid mixing figures and words:  For instance, write ‘9 – 10’ animals instead of ‘nine -10’.

Don’t start a sentence with a figure; write the number in words instead.  Use words for simple numerals from one to ten inclusive, except: in reference to pages; in percentages (e.g. 4%); and in sets of numerals, some of which are higher than ten.

Births with this condition in the past three years were 19, 8 and 5.

Always use numbers with units of measurement, even for those less than ten:

6 centimetres, but 6 cows.

Decimal Point

Use figures for all numerals that include a decimal point (8.75).


Figures may be appropriate for fractions, if the context is either technical or precise, or both:

Though the poll’s figures were supposed to be accurate to within 1%, his lead of 4 ¼ points turned out on Election Day to be minus 3 ½.

Where precision is less important but it is nonetheless impossible to shoot off the fraction, words may look better.

Though the beast was sold as a two year old, it turned out to be two-and-a-half times that.

Fractions should be hyphenated (one-half, three-quarters, etc.) and unless they are attached to whole numbers (8 ½, 29 ¾) spelled out in words, even when the figures are higher than ten:

Fractions and Decimals

Do not compare a fraction with a decimal.  So avoid:

The rate fell from 3 ¼% to 3.1%.

Hyphens and Figures

Do not use a hyphen in place of ‘to’, except with figures.

He received a sentence of 15-20 years in jail but he promised to have escaped within three to four weeks.


Hopefully these bid writing tips will help you understand the correct way to use figures the next time you have to tender for a government contract.

For more information  about our Public Sector and Government bid consulting services please contact us on the form below.



Related posts

Winning a Rebid as an Incumbent

Winning Renewals

Winning a Rebid as an Incumbent What do Margaret Thatcher, Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin all have in common?  The answer is that all were once the incumbent leaders of their respective countries. Thatcher was ousted in November 1990 after 11 years as Prime Minister and fifteen years as leader of the Conservative Party.  Obama

Continue Reading
Here's What To Do After Winning

After Winning a Tender

Here’s What To Do After Winning When responding to a RFP, if you have a good understanding of client concerns, an innovative approach to service design and good internal writing capability you should score well across all categories. What is a buyer looking for when you are responding to a question with regard to your

Continue Reading
How To Present Memorable Ideas

Great Bid Writing

How to Present Memorable Ideas When Writing Bids When you’re pitching to a client you have to work hard to make sure that your product, service or idea stands out from the competition.  Writing about outsourced services or accounting software is not sexy, but one of your competitors will understand the importance of presenting and

Continue Reading

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: