How to Claim Expenses During Proposal Development

When writing your Request For Proposal, make sure it’s very clear to the bidders what expenses they can claim and what items will not be reimbursed.

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Proposal Template: Main Content

In your RFP include a section that describes what costs are allowed by the supplier as these could be claimed during the contract. Identify costs that they cannot claim and are outside the scope of the terms. It’s important to include this in the Expression of Interest document so there are no misunderstandings or assumptions regarding what cost, expenses and allowances can be claimed.

What Costs and Expenses Can Be Claimed under the Contract?

In general, costs must result from work performed under the terms of the contract or the Invitation To Tender. The contractor/supplier must provide the equipment and property needed to complete the work of the contract and provide the necessary receipts for any additional equipment, software or peripherals bought during the contract timeframe.

Allowable Costs for Suppliers & Contractors


For example. when related to contract work:

  • Salaries and benefits must be comparable to related programs within the organization and not exceed 20 percent of salaries/wages.
  • Professional services (per hour rate with estimated/budgeted time allowed).
  • Legal expenses limited to legal needs related to contract work.


When related to contract work:

  • Postage
  • Shipping
  • Copying
  • Printing
  • Office supplies
  • Telephone costs
  • Rental of office space
  • Insurance


When related to contract work:

  • Mileage rate at $0.50 cents a mile.
  • Lodging/meals reimbursement per diem according to state/national/agreed guidelines.


When related to contract work:

  • Materials and equipment necessary to perform the contract. See Bill of Materials template for examples.
  • Equipment rental.
  • Maintenance and repair.
  • Reference materials.

Indirect costs

  • Limited to 10 percent of costs of employees’ salaries and benefits (include such costs as utilities).

Special costs

Expenses that do not fit into other categories:

  • Computer software if specified in the contract.
  • Organizing meetings and conferences
  • Attending meetings and conferences—only with written permission and for presentations of information related to the contract.
  • Organizational memberships if necessary to complete contract work.


  • According to national/state guidelines.

Non-allowable Costs for Suppliers & Contractors

The Request For Proposal agency will not reimburse the following costs:

  • Bad debts
  • Computer hardware
  • Contributions
  • Depreciation
  • Donations
  • Entertainment
  • Fines
  • Interest rates
  • Legal expenses
  • Penalties
  • Supplies


Make sure that you link to websites that offer national and state rates to improve transparency and ensure that both parties are in agreement with allowable costs during the procurement process. You can capture this in the Communication Planning Phase as well.

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