A Beginner’s Guide to Bids and Tenders
Published 23/06/2021
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Are you interested in procurement and wondering what bids and tenders are? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This blog contains a beginner’s guide to bids and tenders. It will answer all of the frequently asked questions you may have.
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What are bids and tenders?

So, let’s start with the basics, what are bids and tenders? Well, bids and tenders mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.

They are documents that are a written request that is sent out to potential suppliers. A buyer will release an invitation to tender (ITT) when they are looking to procure a good, service or product. They are essentially looking to outsource a solution to a supplier.

tender document is the basis of a tendering process that details certain contract criteria. This allows qualified and interested suppliers to compete for the contract. A buyer will then evaluate the responses and award the contract to their chosen supplier.

What is the benefit of winning bids and tenders?

There are many advantages of securing bids and tenders, for example:

Securing a pipeline of work

Bidding for work can help you secure a pipeline of work for your business. Particularly if you secure a place on a framework agreement or Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS). These systems are frequently used in an array of sectors including healthcare and construction. The benefit of these is that they can run for years at a time, with the possibility of extension.

Guaranteed pay (in the public sector)

If you’re responding to bids and tenders in the public sector, you will be guaranteed pay upon winning a contract. This is because public sector organisations are bound by their contractual agreements. The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has to pay suppliers within 60 days of invoice. This is to comply with the Prompt Payment Code. This can give suppliers piece of mind when delivering contracts.The same can’t be said for the private sector. They aren’t bound by the same rules and regulations as the public sector. It’s something to bear in mind when tendering for private sector organisations.

The government wants to award contracts to SMEs

If you’re a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME), we’ve got good news. If you think that only the big corporations can secure public sector contracts, you’d be wrong. The British government actually has a target to spend £1 in every £3 with SMEs. This means they are actively looking to award contracts to smaller businesses. This means you’re in with a good chance when applying for public sector contracts.

Gain experience

Bids and tenders will often require you to include 2 – 3 case studies of past contracts you have delivered. Securing smaller contracts can help you build up that experience. The more case studies and experience, the bigger contracts you can go for. The bigger contracts you can go for, the bigger your business will grow. Securing a place on a framework or a DPS is a great place to start.

What is the tendering procedure?

The two most common tendering procedures are the open tendering procedure and the restricted tendering procedure.

Open tendering procedure

This is essentially the simplest tendering process. An ITT is released by the buyer and any prospective supplier can submit a response. The responses are then reviewed and evaluated, and the contract is awarded. If tendering in the public sector, the contracts will be awarded to the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT).

Restricted tendering procedure

A restricted procedure will likely be used for the procurement of more complex goods or services. They are usually used for contracts with a higher budget too. For this, a buyer will want to shortlist the bidders ensuring that they’ll be able to deliver the contract. This procedure is a two-stage process:


A pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) or selection questionnaire (SQ) is released. Prospective suppliers will have to meet certain eligibility criteria in order to progress. You can expect to be asked about your business:

  • Turnover
  • Insurance
  • Non-collusion
  • Qualifications and accreditations
  • Contact information
  • Relevant policies and procedures
  • Case studies/testimonials


Once the buyer has assessed questionnaire responses, they will shortlist eligible businesses. These businesses will then be sent an ITT. These companies will then go onto submitting their ITT response and the contract will be awarded.

Before you begin, you should consider the following:

How long have you been trading for?

It is common for buyers to ask to see at least two years’ worth of accounts when tendering for work. Although this is not always the case with smaller contracts, sometimes strong case studies can be used instead. In our experience, three years of trading is a strong base to start tendering for work.

The minimum economic financial standing

When applying for bids and tenders, your economic financial standing will be assessed. This will be determined by the following:

  • Annual turnover
  • Financial ratios
  • Insurance[s]

Do you have the necessary experience?

Bids and tenders will require you to include up to three case studies of past contracts you have delivered. These must be similar in scope and complexity as the one you’re bidding for. They should be within the last three to five years. A buyer wants to see that you have delivered past contracts successfully and that you’re reliable.

Can you fulfil the contract?

Before you start writing your response to a bid, you should first ask yourself if you can fulfil the contract. You should read the specification carefully. There may be certain qualifications or accreditations you need in order to be eligible. Once you’ve established that you meet all the criteria, think again. Do you have the resources to actually deliver the contract? Are there multiple locations? Do you have enough staff? These are all things you need to consider before progressing with your bid response.

Where can I find bids and tenders?

So, now you know the processes and procedures of bids and tenders, you may be wondering where to find them. 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, private and public sector opportunities.

If you’re simply relying on CPV codes, you may be missing relevant opportunities. This is because CPV codes are often mislabelled. Our sister company, Hudson Discover, hosts 11 sector-specific tendering portals. You are able to filter results via keyword, budget, location and more – streamlining the process.

These sectors consist of;

  • Healthcare Tenders
  • Creative Tenders
  • Facilities Tenders
  • Construction Tenders
  • Technology Tenders
  • Logistics Tenders
  • Research Tenders
  • Consultancy Tenders
  • HR Tenders
  • Finance Tenders
  • Hospitality Tenders

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. 

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About The Author

Hudson is a global provider of tendering and business development solutions. The Hudson Group is split into eight strands, allowing us to help businesses at every level. No matter the size or industry, we help companies, both nationally and internationally, to reach their full potential. Our team has decades of experience, helping companies to find and win the contracts they want to deliver. Last year alone, we secured over £300 million in direct contract wins for our clients.

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