Offer (business administration)

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With the offer or offer a provider responds to the request of a potential customer and lays down the conditions under which he is willing to products or to provide services to be provided.


While the legal offer ("application" in the legal sense) deals with legal issues, the commercial offer deals with economic aspects. The commercial offer belongs either to the operational function of sales or procurement . In sales, own offers to customers ensure that they order products or services; in procurement, external offers from suppliers are the basis for purchasing . Correspondingly, the processing of offers within the framework of the process organization is a task of the customer management or the purchasing department .

Offer processing

There are individual offers in the sales department, in particular for individually manufactured products outside of mass production . In the case of mass production, individual offers are primarily made when bulk buyers or regular customers request certain sales volumes . Then an offer calculation is required on their request or customer order . This is a preliminary calculation that includes a forward-looking calculation of the cost of products or services to be manufactured in the future. It is used to determine purchase prices or sales prices , which become the binding contractual basis when the order is placed. The result is the cost price or the sales price containing the profit margin , taking into account VAT. The purchase price is the most important part of an offer. It must be determined in such a way that, on the one hand, the order is not lost to the competition due to excessive pricing and, on the other hand, a profit can be made if an order is placed.


The offer is to be prepared with the care of a prudent businessman . Since the legal offer must also be definite in terms of content in addition to the willingness of the offeror to be binding, the commercial offer must contain the following minimum information:

The content can be the subject of an offer comparison in which comparable offers from several competitors are compared with one another. This applies in particular to the tender.

If the provider wants to limit or remove the binding effect, he must include an exemption clause in his offer. Typical exemption clauses are:

The Court , however, is in some cases in such exemption clauses of a breach of competition from.


The standard offer is used when no individual adjustments to special customer requests or bulk buyers are required. The special offer - usually limited in time and limited to individual products - offers products or services at purchase prices or other conditions that are more favorable than the standard offer. The tender offer is to be prepared for tenders and takes into account the possible tender tactics of the competitors. Because of the deviation from the standard price , special offers and tenders are often linked to the lower price limit . A decoy offer is an advertising measure for a particularly inexpensive offer that is not available in sufficient quantities. The advertising brochure is an offer within the meaning of Section 5a (3) UWG . For an offer within the meaning of this provision, according to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), it is sufficient that the consumer can make a business decision on the basis of the information provided in the advertising brochure. According to this, it is not necessary for the consumer to be able to submit a declaration of intent to purchase the advertised products. In the case of a defense offer , an impending deal or an inquiry is not rejected directly; instead, an offer is made that is so bad that it becomes of no interest to the customer. This can also be done in the form of a counter-offer to let a business fail without specifically canceling it. Instead of an open rejection of the business, this is sometimes perceived as offensive in the business-to-business area and can permanently burden or prevent further business relationships .

Industry specifics

In the project business , the preparation of offers can cost several hundred thousand euros (including personnel costs). In the construction industry , offers are mostly standardized; the standard service book (STLB-Bau) is used here, which is intended to enable a largely dispute-free agreement on services and prices. The reputation or reliability of a provider in previous transactions is often taken into account. Providers who are finally not get the other a supplement only by cheaper offers or taken out of the narrow considerations are referred to as being offered . In the area of public contracts , offers are created as part of tenders . The public procurement law differentiates according to several criteria, e.g. B. according to construction work or other services as well as the size of the project.

The more complex the preparation of the offer, the more important it is to select a suitable project in order to reduce the costs of preparing the offer. However, if the offer creation costs are low compared to the possible turnover, this does not matter. In simple cases, the cost of preparing an offer can be less than one per thousand of the potential sales.

In complex projects, the preparation of an offer can cost several percent of the possible turnover. It has therefore become common in some industries to introduce a suitable offer process for the creation, the so-called internal offer, as a validated cost estimate. Client and contractor are in an internal relationship of the respective legal unit. However, the parties involved recognize the statements made in the internal offer as binding in the sense of a business transaction resulting therefrom . The participants ( sales engineer , product manager , account manager , sales manager, designer , production , procurement) set by operational transparency, the economic processing internally secure and ensure economic processing through this process as well as the end user a common understanding facilitates project start-up in case of order. In the event of a non-award, the carefully considered content of the offer is still available for reuse in the product or project business.

An offer can be submitted informally (verbally, by telephone), although the written form is common . Usually, a buyer compares offers based on several offers received and then places an order. If this agrees with the offer, there are two identical declarations of intent through which a purchase contract has come about. There are also offers for long-term obligations such as rental agreements or leasing . If the order deviates from the offer, which can supplier with an order confirmation confirm this otherwise order. This creates a sales contract, which is followed by the delivery or service and further processing of the purchased goods in the operational service process.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. Walter Eversheim / Wolfgang Minolla / Werner Fischer, quotation calculation in single and small series production , operational series RWA / REFA, 1977, p. 72
  2. BGH NJW 1984, 1885
  3. BGH, judgment of September 17, 2015, Az .: I ZR 92/14; "while stocks last"
  4. BGH, judgment of February 4, 2016, Az .: I ZR 194/14
  5. ^ Günter Wöhe : Introduction to general business administration . 16th edition. Verlag Franz Vahlen, Munich, ISBN 3-8006-1202-X .
  6. ^ Sönke Peters: Business Administration: Introduction . 6th edition. Oldenbourg, Munich, ISBN 3-486-22737-8 .