How to Write a Great Letter of Intent

Updated April 17, 2017

A letter of intent is a declaration of your intention to do business with someone else; it's not a legally binding document or agreement, but it can accompany legally binding documents to clarify and summarise the agreement in question. Letters of intent are often sent between companies considering a merger, or from a shareholder to an investment plan in order to qualify for certain discounts. The format for a letter of intent is easy to follow, and you can write a great letter of intent in just a few minutes.

Type the date at the upper-left hand corner of the page, below the letterhead. Use business-style margins, with every line flushed to the left without indentation.

Leave two spaces below the date, and type the recipient's address in the flush-left justification.

Leave two more blank spaces, and briefly summarise the subject of the letter in a few words on a single line.

Type a salutation, using the recipient's name. If you do not know the recipient's name, use "Dear Sir or Madam:" instead.

Skip one line below your salutation, and briefly summarise the project or agreement in two or three sentences. Address the specific goals and parameters of the project or agreement in crisp, direct language. Use a polite, professional tone, but do not hesitate to get directly to the point. Avoid vague generalisation and elaborate introductory material---this will strike the business-oriented reader as "filler."

Skip one more line, and outline the expected overall duration of the project or agreement, and when the project is expected to begin. Use the active voice, and keep your sentences relatively short. Since this is not a legally binding document, you can make a relatively optimistic estimate of project duration, but take care to keep your estimates well within the range of possibility for the project.

Skip one more line, and briefly outline the terms of payment and appropriate contact information. Double-check your information in this section, especially the financial and contract details, to be sure it's accurate, so you can avoid future miscommunications and complaints. Close by thanking the reader for his or her consideration of the proposed agreement, and mention that you're looking forward to meeting again, to discussing the arrangement further, or to receiving a reply. Type your name several lines below your closing salutation, and sign the letter in the space above your typed name.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper with letterhead
  • Computer with printer, word processor or typewriter
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About the Author

Fred Samsa has been writing articles related to the arts, entertainment and home improvement since 2003. His work has appeared in numerous museum publications, including program content for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and he was awarded a Presidential Fellowship in 2005. He holds a Master of Arts in art from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Brown University.