Myth Buster: How to bid for a tender – Private and Public Sector

2nd September 2019

Myths Surrounding Private and Public Sector Tendering

Knowing how to bid for a tender is more than just understanding the basic tendering process. Understanding procurement as a whole, including the subtle differences of how to bid for a tender in the public and private sectors, is essential to being able to see consistent success.

There are several myths surrounding private and public sector tendering, most of which play a significant part in putting SME businesses off of tendering. Despite what you may have been told, most of the bad things that you will have heard aren’t anything like the reality of tendering.

If you’re interested in finding out how to bid for a tender, then read on to find out why some of the common myths shouldn’t be putting you off investigating the tendering route.

Public Procurement Myths

Myth #1 – “SMEs aren’t wanted in Public Procurement”

This is not true at all and should definitely not be putting you off of tendering. In fact, the government has overhauled the way it buys goods and services, specifically with the aim of helping more SMEs to bid for contracts.

For instance, some of the legislation that has been brought in to make sure procurement is fairer to SMEs includes these rules:

  • It is now a legal requirement for public bodies (i.e. schools, hospitals, local councils) to pay suppliers within 30 days of invoice.
  • Selection Questionnaires are no longer compulsory if the contract value is under the EU threshold (this currently stands for Supplies and Service contracts at £118,133 for Central Government; £181,302 for the wider public sectors and £65,630 for Small Lots).
  • Large contracts are to be split into smaller Lots to create more opportunities for smaller businesses (this often takes the form of Frameworks or Dynamic Purchasing Systems).

Myth #2 – “The company able to offer the cheapest price will always win”

I can easily imagine that the first time somebody looks at what is involved in how to bid for a tender they could easily make the mistake of assuming that price is the most important factor, and that larger business will always be able to undercut the market and win.

This may have been true once upon a time, but these days all tenders in public procurement are evaluated using the MEAT method (Most Economically Advantageous Tender) which means that the quality of the technical response is weighted against the pricing to give an overall score. For a full explanation of what this means and how it works, check out this video on our free-to-use learning resource, Tender VLE.

Something else that is incredibly important to buyers in public procurement, is Social Value. If your company is small, but you can demonstrate that you make an impact within your local communities (and that you will be able to do the same for the communities associated with the contract), this will go a long way.

In fact, 85% of public sector organisations have confirmed that they consider the social value to have a high or medium impact on their procurement strategies. So, if you are thinking about learning more about how to bid for a tender, make sure you do your research into ways you can create social value as an SME.

Myth #3 – “The same suppliers win the contracts again and again”

Again, this is just no longer true. While it is true that the incumbent provider (i.e. the company currently holding the contract when it goes out to re-tender) has an advantage in knowing the demands of the contract, if another supplier’s tender scores are better over quality and price, then they will win it fairly.

Private Procurement

Myth #1 – “There are no rules or governing principles for the private tender process”

It might seem that way compared to public procurement, but luckily this isn’t actually the case! Although considerably less stringent that pubic procurement (which is governed by strict rules and regulations) there are still important legal principles which apply to private procurement, especially when turning over a specific amount.

Myth #2 – “You have to be on the inside to get access to private sector opportunities”

It’s easy to understand why people might think this is the case, as private opportunities aren’t as easy to find as public ones. Private opportunities are a little more hidden away, but luckily our talented team at Hudson Discover are skilled at finding tender opportunities from even the private sector and putting them up on 1 of our 10 sector-specific portals for our clients to find with ease.

If you want to try looking for yourself, then it’s worth checking the websites of private companies, who often list tendering opportunities, or may provide information about where you can find them.

Myth #3 – “Private sector tenders don’t use structured tender processes”

This is not strictly true. Just like public procurement, private tenders can use basic ITT formats, RFPs, RFTs or similar. The big difference, is even if the contract is worth more than the EU threshold, you are not lawfully required to fill out a Supplier Questionnaire/Pre-Qualification Questionnaire or an ESPD (European Single Procurement Document).  You may be asked to fill out a simplified form concerning your basic company information, but it is highly unlikely to be as detailed as the requirements for public procurement.

So, if you are concerned about how to bid for a tender in the private sector, then don’t be. At best, it should be a simpler process than tendering in the public sector, and at worst it may be a little less structured.

Further Support

If you are still unsure about how to bid for a tender in either the public or private sector, then check out our free, online learning resource; Tender VLE. There are numerous videos covering all kinds of different information on tendering, with more being added regularly.

If you have any real concerns or queries about how to bid for a tender, then contact our Hudson Succeed team today for a free chat about tender opportunities, procurement protocol and (if you’re still not convinced!) tendering myths that may be putting you off.

Need assistance when writing your next bids and tenders?

Now you’re a bit more familiar with what’s required, you may be looking for some writing support. Writing isn’t everyone’s strong suit and that’s ok. Outsourcing a bid you’ve found to bid writing specialists can help you secure that next contract.

Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being bid writing experts. We hold an 87% success rate and have over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. We offer four levels of bid writing support to suit every business need. You may not need the whole bid written for you; you may simply need it proofread before you submit. We can help with that. Our services include:

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. This is a great way of improving your skills and understanding of how to polish your tender.

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.

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