5 Things to Consider When Going Out to Tender

16th June 2021

Going out to tender: where to start

[last-modified: July 2021]

 Are you thinking about going out to tender? If you’re not already, you should be! Tendering for work can help secure your business a pipeline of work.

If you’re thinking about going out to tender, you might be interested in knowing some more information. You may be wondering what to expect, or if there’s any tendering processes or procedures that need to be followed.

5 things to consider when going out to tender

  1. Public vs Private tendering

 The public and private tendering experience can be rather different if you’re going out to tender. The private sector isn’t bound by the same rules and regulations the public sector is. A private buyer can simply award the contract to the cheapest bid.

The public sector, however, has certain rules and regulations they must meet. This is because they must demonstrate that they are spending taxpayer’s money through an open and transparent process. They aim to award contracts to those who present the most value for money.

If you’re going out to tender in the public sector, you can expect either an open or restricted tender procedure. A restricted tender process has two stages. A pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ)/selection questionnaire followed by an invitation to tender (ITT). An open procedure has only one. This enables bidders to complete one document with both stages combined into one.

If you secure a public sector contract, you are guaranteed payment after invoicing. This can be a relief for any business. The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) must pay contractors within 60-days of invoicing. This is to comply with the Prompt Payment Code (2008).

  1. Can you deliver the contract?

Before you begin your tender response, you should first question if you’re able to deliver the contract. This is vital, as there’s no point wasting time compiling your response if you can’t deliver. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at the businesses that don’t consider their ability/resources prior to bidding.

In most cases, the contracting authority will be able to assess your capabilities based on the information you provide. Therefore, if you provide a weak response, you won’t be awarded the contract. It’s as simple as that.

This is apparent particularly when responding to the quality questions. If there is a word/character/page count and you don’t match it best you can, it reflects poorly on you. This will suggest to the buyer that you can’t be bothered. Those counts are there for a reason. If a buyer is wanting a 1000-word response that’s what they’re expecting and that’s what you should give them. If you then write a couple of bullet points in response, that won’t go down well.

  1. Your economic financial standing

When going out to tender you must consider your business’ economic financial standing. This is typically assessed during the PQQ/SQ stage. If it is a two-stage process, this will be assessed in the initial stage. Buyers will typically set a minimum economic financial threshold. If you do not meet these, you won’t be eligible to apply for the contract. An economic financial standing will consider your business’:

If the financial threshold isn’t outlined, there is a general rule of thumb to be followed. You should not bid for a contract that is more than half your annual turnover. If your turnover is £200k, your business should only go for contracts with budgets of £100k or less.

  1. Do you have the experience?

You will likely be asked for 2 – 3 case studies when writing a bid. This means a buyer wants to see previous contract examples you have delivered successfully. These must be relevant in scope and complexity. A buyer will also specify the time they should be from (typically within the last 3 – 5 years).

Keep each contract example relevant. Try and demonstrate how you overcame any unexpected challenges. This is demonstrating your flexibility and problem-solving skills. This will make the contractor feel at ease knowing you’ve completed something similar successfully.

This is why we usually recommend that you have:

  • Been tendering for at least two years
  • Previous 2+ contract examples before you start going out to tender.
  1. Pricing your product/service right

When you’re going out to tender, you need to consider the cost of your product/services. You want to ensure your pricing is competitive, fair and accurate. You want to ensure that your pricing doesn’t undercut your competitors by too much. If you price your services too cheap, it may lead to the buyer questioning your legitimacy. If you price them too high, you’ll likely miss out on the contract. I know – it sounds a bit like Goldilocks! It isn’t unheard of for bidders to win on quality but lose on price and therefore miss out on the contract. We don’t want this to happen to you, so just be prepared.

Hopefully, these five things have been helpful if you’re considering going out to tender. The procurement world can seem daunting at first. However, if you’re confused, or just need a helping hand – we’re here to help.

Where can I find tendering opportunities for my business?

Now you know what going out to tender requires, you might wonder where you can find tendering opportunities. There’s no shortage of websites offering multi-sector tendering opportunities and leads. Ideally, you should be searching for a sector-specific portal that posts unique, public and private sector opportunities.

Simply relying on CPV codes can result in missed opportunities as they are often mislabelled. Finding a portal that uploads and categorises tenders by keywords, location and budget and more can streamline the process. Our sister company, Hudson Discover, hosts 11 sector-specific tendering portals. One centralised and easy-to-navigate portal can help you save time, streamlining the process.

These sectors consist of;

Once signed up, you’ll have access to your own dedicated Account Manager. They’ll be able to answer any more questions you may have going out to tender. You’ll also get an email alert when new and relevant tenders are uploaded to your sector.

Need help when tendering for work?

No matter the sector you’re in, buyers care about the quality of your tender response. If writing isn’t your forte, then outsourcing to bid writing experts can help get you on the path to success. Not everyone has the time, resources or experience to write a winning response. Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being bid writing experts. We can you if you want to to know how to win a tender.

We hold an 87% success rate and have over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. At Hudson, we offer four levels of bid writing support to suit every business need. Whether you’re completely new to tendering, or need a response proofread before you submit – we can help.

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect bid for your business, send it our way. Our Bid Writers can take care of the whole thing for you they’ll even submit it on your behalf. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready 4-week programme is perfect for businesses that have never tendered before. A Bid Writer will work with you to ensure you have everything in place to tender successfully. Tender Ready offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to one Hudson Discover
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CVs and policies.
  • Additional flexible benefits.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing success from your current efforts, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents. They will work with you to improve for future submissions. This package includes a 12-month subscription to a Hudson Discover portal and additional tendering development services.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your own tender response and need it double-checked for errors, Tender Mentor can help. A Bid Writer will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar or spelling mistakes. They will also ensure it’s in line with the specification before you submit.

Discover Elite

Upgrading to Discover Elite can help optimise your tendering efforts – even when you’re busy. Our two new time-saving tools can improve your competitor awareness and success rate when bidding for a contract.

The Ultimate Time Saver package offers your business:

  • A maximum of five tender breakdowns per month.
  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Hudson Discover sector-specific portals. This option can help businesses that overlap two industries such as Healthcare and Technology, for example.
  • Pre-market and award engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Buyer portal management, including registration, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid or no-bid strategy.
  • Weekly phone calls with your dedicated Account Manager to discuss viable tendering opportunities.

The Become a Pre-Bid Master package also includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Up to seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.

Contact us to find out how we can help your business grow.

Find more helpful tips and advice in our blogs. We cover topics including:

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