Types of offer in contract may vary depending on a number of factors. An offer refers to an invitation to enter into a contractual agreement. When the offeree accepts the offer, a legally binding contract is formed. An offer can be made by one or both parties of a contract or met with a counteroffer. It can also be clearly or implicitly expressed or valid for a short or long time.

Types of Offer

Also known as a proposal, an offer can be classified based on:

  • The way the offer is made.
  • The party to whom the offer is made.

Specific Offer

A specific offer refers to an offer made to a specific individual or group of individuals. It can only be accepted by the individual or group of individuals to whom it is directed.

General Offer

When an offer is made to the general public, it is called a general offer and can be taken up by any person who wishes to fulfill the terms of the offer. When an offer is accepted by the individual to whom it is directed, the offeror and the offeree enter into a contract.

If the offer is accepted by a large number of people, the number of contracts formed will be equal to the number of individuals who accept the offer. If a reward is offered for completing a certain task, only the person who completes the task can accept the offer.


In the event that the offeree is only willing to accept the offer if certain modifications are made, he or she is offering a counteroffer. A counteroffer is itself an offer, and it is considered a rejection of the initial offer. It is a new offer that terminates the initial offer, making it impossible to be revived at a later time.

A counteroffer can be accepted or rejected by the party who offered the initial offer. If that party accepts the counteroffer, a contract is established.

Cross Offer

A cross offer is made when two parties make the same offer to one another without knowing the other party has made an offer, and the terms of both offers are identical. In this situation, there will not be a contract because it cannot be construed that one party's offer is accepted by the other party.

Standing Offer

An offer is regarded as a standing offer if it is meant to remain open for a certain amount of time and can be accepted any time before the deadline. When a company needs a large quantity of products from time to time, it usually invites tenders for the supply of the products through an advertisement. Such a tender or offer is referred to as an open, continuing, or standing tender of offer.

When a party accepts the tender or offer made by the offeror, it does not result in the formation of a legally binding contract until an actual order is placed. It only means that the offer or tender will remain open for a specified amount of time and can lead to a binding contract when the required quantity is ordered. As such, a contract only exists when an order is placed in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer.

When a standing offer is accepted, it means an order will be placed with the party who submitted tender whenever the products are required, and a distinct contract will be made for each order.

Express and Implied Offers

When an offer is expressly communicated by the offeror, it is regarded as an express offer. The communication of an express offer can be written or verbal. An offer that can be understood by circumstances of case or the conduct of parties is known as an implied offer.

For example, when a bus transport company operates its bus on a certain route, it is making an implied offer to transport passengers to a specified location at a certain fare. Also, a public telephone or weighing machine in a public place offers its service for a certain amount of money. Such a machine is offering an implied offer.

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