Successfully preparing for tenders can help you to win large orders, however, the process can be time consuming, costly and tie up valuable resources. Before you begin, use this document as a guideline to weigh up whether or not a tender is well suited to your business’s product offering and if so, how to win it.
Choosing the right tender
To decide if a tender is right for your business, after reading the bid/ Request For Proposal notices, ask yourself:
- Can you match the skill and experience requirements?
- What are the costs involved versus the potential earnings?
- Would the work fit into your business strategy and positioning?
- How will the contract affect other work, staffing and ability to take on new business?
- What does the client want? If you have queries contact them, which also helps to build a rapport before the tender document is submitted, or attend the pre-bid meetings to clarify any queries.
How to manage your bid
Within your company, decide who will gather information and do the research; who co-ordinates all the material you need, who writes the drafts and who will check them.
Steps to writing a winning tender
Ensure that you match the tender specification.
Talk about the client’s needs and how you can contribute, proving that you have the skills and experience to fulfil the clients requirements. Summarise your work, past experience and credentials for the proposed tender. Prepare the bid bond/bid security/earnest money deposit that you may need to submit with your bid.
Explain how you will manage the project.
It is important to outline how your company will carry out the work, clarifying when and how the client’s aims will be achieved. Provide a timetable of when services will be delivered-give details of your pricing. Be practical - identify potential problems. In some cases a site visit is done by the tendering authorities. Therefore it is important that your submission mirrors the reality of your business.
Make your application stand out.
Help the client by coming up with ideas but consider protecting your company intelligence by including a non-disclosure agreement. Give details of your team, emphasise strengths. Highlight successes with similar projects as well as qualifications and experience.
Pay attention to the look and feel.
Spend time working on the format. Decide on a typeface, layout and type size – stick to this format throughout the entire document. Use appendices for supporting documentation and include a contents page.
Number paragraphs so material can be easily located. Check the documents, get a colleague to read through it for meaning, typing errors and omissions.
Include a covering letter that responds to the bid invitation which emphasises your main message and explains the document order.
Meet the deadline.
Ensure that your tender is delivered on time and in the manner outlined by the tendering authority. Late submissions are not usually considered.
Try to attend the bid opening session conducted after submission as sometimes the tendering authority will disclose the prices offered by all participants and whether they have considered their bids or disqualified any of the participants.
Maintain communication flow.
Follow up with the tendering authorities until the final result is made public.
If you were unsuccessful, try to get back the bid bond/bid security/earnest money deposit if it is refundable.
If you are a winning bidder, the tendering authority may further negotiate and award the contract. You may now be asked to provide evidence of your performance bond and execute the contract.
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