16th April 2018


Not only is there an imminent deadline, but if you don’t give it your all and put everything you have into the bid, then it’s not only time you’re wasting – it’s money!

We’ve provided a few best practice principles to make sure you don’t create unnecessary panic at the last minute and can time-manage your bids more effectively. Understanding the tendering process can help you when tendering for contracts.

1. Know your deadlines

There will have been times in the past, especially if you’re handling more than one tender at a time, where a date may have been mixed up and you’ve realised that the bid is due in 24 minutes and not 24 hours as thought. Read the tender timetable carefully – this will enable you to start planning effectively. Tender Timetables are featured in the instructions to tender and look something like this:

Example Date

Example Milestone


Opportunity published


Site Visits


Clarification Deadline


Submission Deadline


Presentation Date

31-July-2018 – 03-Aug-2018



Notice to Award / Alcatel commence


Contract Start Date


2. Assess & Digest

Make sure you assess whether or not the opportunity is the best option for you. We have been behind many projects in the past, working tirelessly on content and writing bids on behalf of our clients, when 2 days before submission, they decided it’s not right for them. Don’t waste your time and money – make sure it is right for you by closely digesting ALL of the information at hand. Yes – it may be a 100-page document you have to read through but believe us – it’ll be worth it in the long run.

Check out our ‘To Bid or not to Bid’ for further information.

3. Gantt Chart is life

Once you know the buyer’s timescales, now it’s time to get your bid management in order. This is where you create a plan for the tender at hand. No matter the size of the opportunity, whether it’s £10,000 or £10million, it’s very important to make sure you’re not winging it and have a structured plan in place to manage your time and approach effectively. A Gantt Chart is typically used in project management cases for longer periods, detailing responsibilities, activities and timescales. We love a good Gantt Chart and feel this is a clear-cut process for managing those all-important milestones when developing and submitting a tender.

4. Know your portal

We’ve liaised with many customers, who have never used a specific online portal before and the submission of their tender documents have been delayed due to their lack of understanding or inability to navigate. We recommend you get to know your portal in the early stages. Have a click around and know your procedures for submission.

How to make the most your of your bid

1. Planning and research

Planning and research are a couple of the most important aspects when bidding for a contract. You want to make a note of all important dates and what documents you’ll need. These could include:

When bidding for a contract, you should double-check that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria. You don’t want to waste resources starting a bid only to realise you don’t qualify on financial standing, for example.

Check that your business:

2. Address what’s in the specification

One of the reasons that SMEs don’t win a tender is that they don’t answer the questions in the specification. That along with not pricing their good or service right. It’s important when responding to public sector contracts that you address all the questions being asked in the specification. The contracting authority is asking them for a reason. These will help them understand whether your business has the capabilities and capacity to deliver the contract.

A buyer will often want you to demonstrate in your public sector contract response that you:

  • Understand what they’re asking for
  • Have the economic and financial abilities and resources to fulfil the contract
  • Hold evidence of a track record delivering similar goods or services to similar standards
  • Have a qualified and professional team to deliver the contract.

3. Price your services right

Pricing your services right is a crucial aspect of bidding for a contract. You don’t want to price your services too little as it may result in the contractor questioning your legitimacy. The evaluation criteria of every contract is different and depends on the buyer needs.  The weightings will differ, but generally speaking, you can expect a split between two or three things:

The private and public sectors differ in how they award contracts. The private sector is bound and constrained by the same rules and regulations the public sector is. If a private organisation wants to award a contract on price alone, they can.

However, the public sector has certain rules and regulations they must meet to award a bid to a supplier. Public sector organisations will award bids to the most economically advantageous tender, known as the MEAT. The MEAT seeks to achieve the most value for money from a contract. A buyer will take into account a range of factors that will be specified in the tender documents. They’ll evaluate them both individually and in combination. They might include the following:

  • Accessibility
  • Technical ability
  • Ability to deliver on time
  • Innovation
  • Environmental considerations
  • Sustainability
  • Customer service
  • Quality.

5. Write a high-quality bid response

Writing a high-quality bid response is crucial. As mentioned above, even if the weighting on quality is less than cost buyers care about the quality. You want to be persuasive when bidding for a contract. You want to convince the buyer that you are the best business for the job.

Clearly format your response with subheadings and bullet points. Often you will be able to break down the question and use these as subheadings. This can help ensure that you are covering and answering every aspect of the question asked. Bullet points can also help keep your response ordered. This will help you get in the buyer’s good books. Put yourself in their shoes. If you’re having to evaluate tens to hundreds of bid responses, you’ll favour those that are clearly laid out. This helps you outshine your competitors as opposed to submitting a chunk of text.

Furthermore, don’t allow the buyer to make assumptions from what you’ve written. Leaving room for assumptions can allow for the wrong assumptions to be made. Clearly explain everything and avoid overly technical jargon. Don’t assume they know anything about you, your business or your bid.

Tips to writing winning bids:

  • Be clear and concise

You want to make sure that your tender response is clear, and the language is concise. If you use complicated language and long sentences a buyer may lose what you’re trying to say. Buyers might not understand your point and you may lose marks. Keep sentences short and to the point.

  • Stick to the word count

Word/page/character counts are there for a reason. If a buyer thinks that a response needs a 1000-word answer, write a 1000-word response or as close as you can. A buyer will be expecting a response meeting this word count. Don’t go over and try not to write an answer that’s too short of the word count either. If they’re expecting a 1000-word response and get 300 words, they won’t be best pleased. Often tender questions have multiple aspects within one question. If you write less than the word count, there’s a good inkling that you’ll be missing out important information.

  • Avoid overly technical jargon

Often, a buyer won’t be an expert in your industry, hence why they’ve put the contract out to tender. So, it’s important that you don’t use overly technical jargon. Use laymen terms were possible and explain processes in a step-by-step way if you can. When writing bids, it’s important you explain everything appropriately.

  • Format your responses

Formatting your response can help you subconsciously get in the reviewers’ good books. Breaking your text up with subheadings and bullet points can help. A buyer would rather see this than blocks of text. This can also help make sure that you have answered every aspect of the question. Tender questions are known for asking three questions in one.

  • Leave enough time for a bid review and proofreading

A common mistake that many suppliers make when tendering, is that they don’t leave enough time for proofreading. This is an important part of tendering for work. You want to ensure that your response is free of any grammatical and spelling errors. This may give off the impression of laziness and lack of attention to detail.

In summary

In summary, when writing bids, it’s important that you take into consideration a number of factors. You want to make sure you’re managing your time well. It’s no good writing a winning bid and ending up missing submission due to temperamental technology.

You want to make sure that your bid is the best it can possibly be. If you follow our tips, you’ll be well on your way to writing winning bids.

One of the key things that our group of companies can offer you is the chance of receiving the opportunity from the get-go, meaning you won’t be days behind other competitors – if anything, you’ll be days in front: –

Our Hudson Discover service is the home of our industry-specific platforms that enables you to receive both public and private opportunities all in one place, that is specific not only to your sector but your service within that sector. Get those all-important opportunities from when they are published, allowing more time to focus on your time management when developing your response[s].

Where can I find tenders for my business?

You may be wondering where you can find tenders for your business. There’s no shortage of websites offering multi-sector tendering opportunities and leads. Ideally, you should be searching for a sector-specific site that posts all 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 about public sector contracts. You’ll also get an email alert when new and relevant tenders are uploaded to your sector.

Need help when tendering for business contracts?

No matter the sector you’re in the quality of your response matters. We understand that running your own business can be fairly time-consuming. You don’t necessarily have the time or resources to write a winning response in house. If this is the case, outsourcing to bid writing experts can help you win your next public sector contracts. Here at Hudson Succeed, we pride ourselves on being tender writing experts.

We proudly hold an 8&% 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. Whether you’re completely new to tendering or need a response proofread before you submit – we can help. Our services on offer include:

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 Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect public sector contract 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 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 public sector contracts.

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 Technology and Healthcare, 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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