Tendering: definition and how it works

10th January 2023

Tendering: definition and how it works

What is tendering?

The tendering process is where a buyer, in need of goods/services, issues an invitation called a Request for Tender (RFT) to suppliers. Suppliers will then submit a proposal/tender to provide the goods/services. Finally, the supplier will be chosen by the buyer!


Tendering vs bidding?

What’s the difference between tendering and bidding? They’re the same! The term ‘tender’ is most commonly used in the UK, while ‘bid’ is used most readily in the US.


The Tendering Process

  • Opportunity advertised by the buyer
  • Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) – If a closed tender, a PQQ is issued to identify suitable suppliers, who will then proceed to the ITT stage.
  • Invitation to Tender (ITT) – If an open tender, the process begins here for any suppliers.
  • Evaluation of Tender Submissions – Once all the tenders have been received, they are evaluated against criteria and how they suit the buyer’s needs.
  • Award of Contract – Now that a supplier has been selected, they are awarded the contract and the work can begin!


What’s an RFT?

An RFT (Request for Tender) is released by the buyer to suppliers, outlining their demands and the terms and conditions of the contract. This includes:

  • Tender conditions – including how to respond to the tender.
  • Tender form – details needed from the supplier in their response.
  • Scope – required details from the supplier regarding their goods/services provided.
  • Evaluation criteria – how the buyer will evaluate responses.
  • Conditions of the contract – details of the legal contract if awarded.


Note: it is vital to follow the buyer’s criteria to a T!


Other tendering methods

The term ‘tender’ can confuse those not familiar with its processes as it is often commonly used to refer to the RFT, Request for Quote (RFQ), Request for Proposal (RFP) and Request for Information (RFI). However, these terms can also vary in terms of the documents required from the supplier and the outcome of the request. For example, an RFI is simply the process of gathering information from suppliers regarding their goods/services. However, an RFQ is the process of suppliers submitting quotes for their goods/services.


Who can tender?

Anyone! Many different businesses in various sectors, of various sizes tender for opportunities. In short, the public and private sectors, including non-profits, use the tendering process.

Tendering is most common in these industries, though it is not limited to only these:

Tendering is mostly used by:

  • Government
  • Council
  • Education
  • NHS
  • Non-profits
  • Various private-sector businesses


Advantages of tendering!

Tendering can benefit suppliers (vendors) and buyers alike! Here are just a few top benefits of tendering:


  • Competitive tendering allows the buyer to get the best value for money possible, by selecting the supplier with the most advantageous price.
  • Tendering has many stages to ensure the supplier chosen has been sufficiently screened in terms of reliability. This decreases the risk for the buyer!
  • Depending on the style of tendering (open vs closed), there is usually a fair and balanced tendering process when selecting a supplier.


  • Visibility – making your reputation known to buyers by building a portfolio of successful relationships with other buyers can increase your long-term financial stability.
  • Expansion – similar to increasing your visibility, expand your business by developing a portfolio of successful relationships with buyers to expose your business to new opportunities.


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


Contact us:

Contact us to find out how we can help your business SUCCEED!


Additional support:

Do you only require assistance with PQQs or SQs? We can help!

Submit the relevant information regarding the work you need, and we will provide a quote for the work agreed upon.

We provide support at all levels of the bid writing process, so if you simply need it proofread before you submit it, we can also help with that!

Discover Elite

Upgrading to Discover Elite can optimise your tendering efforts!

Our two new time-saving tools can improve competitor awareness and success rate when bidding for a contract:

The Ultimate Time Save Package (for those on the go!)

  • Five tender breakdowns per month.
  • Annual subscription to two sector-specific portals.
  • Dedicated account manager.

The Become a Pre-Bid Master package

  • All of the above.
  • Seven tender breakdowns per month.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager (minimum five years experience). Our Global Bid Director will manage the bid strategy.


Our other divisions:


Wanting to impress a buyer? Our creative content agency Vocal is always on hand to help!

Our Vocal team are never afraid to be heard – we’re a loud bunch!

From micro-businesses to large organisations, we provide ways to make your business stand out from the crowd. We can transform your bid into a professionally designed tender document!

Vocal specialises in:


Our online virtual learning environment for Education, Enterprise and Home Learners is currently being used to power our platforms – Tender VLE and Procure VLE (Coming soon).

We believe in learning at your own pace, wherever you are!


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

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