Jigsaw piece puzzle

Solicitation: Definition, Example and Related Terms

What is Solicitation ?

Solicitation, in the simplest terms, is the act of asking, seeking, or trying to obtain something. It's like when you're at a store and someone asks if you want to buy something.

But in the world of business and commercial contracts, it's a bit more complex. A solicitation in this context is usually a written document that's sent out by a business or an organization to ask other businesses to submit a proposal to provide certain goods or services. It's basically a formal way of saying 'Hey, we need this, can you provide it?'.

A solicitation typically includes a detailed description of what's required, including the quantity, quality, delivery details, and other related information. Solicitations are a fundamental part of the procurement process, which is how businesses buy things they need from other businesses. Think of it as a method for businesses to shop around for the best deal. Solicitations can take on various forms.

For example, they might be a Request for Proposal (RFP), a Request for Quotation (RFQ), or an Invitation to Bid (ITB), each with its own specific purpose and process. Solicitations are crucial for businesses because they help ensure fairness and transparency in the procurement process. They allow businesses to compare different offers and choose the one that best meets their needs. For a commercial contracts manager, understanding solicitations is key to managing and negotiating contracts effectively.


  • Scenario Description
    A company needs a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. The company would issue a solicitation, perhaps in the form of a Request for Proposal, detailing what they need in a CRM system. This could include specific features, the number of users, integration requirements, and so on. Different software companies would then submit their proposals, and the company would choose the best one.
    A government agency needs to build a new office building. The agency would issue a solicitation, likely an Invitation to Bid, with detailed plans and specifications for the building. Construction companies would bid on the project, and the agency would award the contract to the company with the best bid.