Documents are constantly being exchanged and most times, these documents need a form of explanation to let the recipient know what the document is about, and what is expected of them. This explanation that goes along with the document is what is called a transmittal letter.
Not all professional documents require transmittal letters. If you feel like you can send a document without the need to explain what it is, then, by all means, do. But in the cases where you do need to explain to the recipient, a transmittal letter is needed. This letter ensures there’s no misunderstanding and the recipient knows what documents they just received and more importantly, they know the actions they’re required to take.
Like all professional letters and emails, transmittal letters follow a set of guides that makes them effective. In this article, we’re going to list everything about transmittal letters and top it off with some samples to help you write the perfect transmittal letter.
What is a Transmittal Letter
A transmittal letter is a professional letter that follows a document explaining what the document is to the recipient, and instructs the recipient on the necessary action they’re to take, like setting up a meeting, sending it back to you with inputs, or simply acknowledging it.
In essence, transmittal letters are cover letters accompanying business documents. While these letters serve to explain with the document is about, they also serve as receipts acknowledging the documents were sent (especially when you CC and BCC the involved parties).
If this document has changed hands more than once, and certain changes have been made, a transmittal letter is most important as it briefly explains to the recipient what changes have been made and the actions the recipient is supposed to take as they follow up on the document.
When Should You Send a Transmittal Letter?
It is standard practice to always accompany a document with a transmittal letter, this is to serve as an explanation to your recipient and to also officially acknowledge the document.
While it is important to send a letter of transmittal along with all documents, there are some instances and documents that are more sensitive than others and as such, mandate that a letter of transmittal accompany them. One of the said instances is when you’re sending a document outside your company or outside your team. If there’s any chance the recipient may be unfamiliar with the details of the document, then a letter of transmittal must be included alongside the document.
In this section of this article, we’re going to discuss some of the most common cases where a letter of transmittal should accompany a document. Some of them are:
- When Sharing Technical Documents: If you’re sending technical documents to a non-technical audience, addressing some of the technicalities in your letter is a great example of a transmittal use case.
- When sending a proposal: When sending a proposal, you can use the opportunity to briefly reintroduce yourself and give a brief rundown of what the proposal is about and what they should expect.
- When sending reports: Reports can be of different types, and sending a transmittal letter along with the report will make it easier for your audience to digest as it should give them a brief summation of what they should expect when they get into the report.
- When sending sensitive materials or confidential documents: When dealing with documents like these, it is important to give your recipients a heads up so they know the kind of documents they’re dealing with and to know how to handle them. In this case, a transmittal letter should clearly state that they’re handling sensitive documents that should remain private. You can decide whether or not to state why the document is private.
In general, if there’s any information you want your recipient to take or there’s any information you want them to know in regards to the letter, the best place to include this information is in the transmittal letter.
Step-by-step Guide to Writing a Transmittal Letter
Like all professional letters, transmittal letters should follow the same pattern. This means using a professional heading, using a professional letterhead, starting and closing your letter in the right manner, etc. In this section of this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know to write a perfect transmittal letter.
Include a formal heading
In the top left corner of your letter, include a heading: your company address and full name, and date. One line below that, includes the recipient’s full name, official title, organization, and company address.
Address the Recipient Appropriately
A letter is not complete without properly addressing your recipient. You should start your letter with a short greeting addressed to the recipient.
Write the Body of the Letter
This is the most important part of the entire letter, and it should be broken into sections, each section handled in a paragraph.
The purpose of the letter: The first paragraph of your letter should explain what the document is and gives the reader context into what the letter is all about. If you’re sending sensitive documents, this is the section of the letter where you make this known.
Go into detail about the document: In this section of the letter, you give a summation of what the document is about. Highlight the important details about the document so your reader knows what to expect before they read it.
In this section of the letter, also tell the recipient the action you expect them to take with respect to the document. Are they supposed to sign it and send it back to you, are they supposed to acknowledge receipt, etc?
Also, do not forget to include the name of the document. This may seem like overkill, but it goes the extra mile to provide context for the letter.
Encourage the recipient to follow up: This is the section of the letter where you encourage the recipient to reach out to you if they have any questions or further inquiries.
Include your contact information: If there are multiple points the recipient can contact you through, make sure to include this in the letter. If the most effective method to communicate with you is a simple reply, also make sure to include this in your letter.
Close the Letter
The final stage in the transmittal letter is to close it. Close your letter using closing salutations such as. “Regards,” “Sincerely” etc.
Letter of Transmittal Template
Your Name Your Job Title Your Company Name Your Company Address Date Recipient’s Name Recipient’s Job Title Recipient’s Company Name Recipient’s Company Address Dear [Name of recipient], This section should explain who you are and give a brief description of what the document is about. Provide more detailed information about the documents and highlight the key points in the document. Clearly state the action you want the recipient to take, also, encourage the recipient to reach out to you if they have any inquiries or concerns. Sincerely, [Signature] Your Name
Sample of Transmittal Template
Jeremy Smith Branch Manager Woculus Inc. 17 Oxford Avenue New York City, February 12, 2022 John Doe Director of Finance Afrimash Company 456 Company Rd Detroit 1235 Dear Mr. John, Please find attached the Industrial report of Afrimash attached to this letter. This report collates all the industrial analyses of the last 5 years from the audit we did for your company. We also included our thoughts on the recent downtrend in the Industrial section. Our report shows that your Industrial arm has been experiencing a downward trend for the last half-decade. Our analysis highlights the problem which is the increased cost of raw materials you buy from Zed Industries. We have included some solutions we believe can solve the problem. We hope to have a sit down with you after you've had the chance to study the report. If you have further inquiries, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you for your continued partnership. Sincerely, Jeremy Smith Branch Manager.
As with all professional letters, please ensure your transmittal letter is straight to the point and does not include any unnecessary information. A letter of transmittal is an important part of any document you send. Our samples should serve as a guide to help you write the perfect transmittal letter.