Government contracts up for bid: how to succeed
Securing government contracts up for bid can be a great way to grow your business. The public sector spends over £285 billion annually through public procurement. They procure a wide range of goods and services across a variety of sectors.
This means there’s plenty of opportunities for your business to become a supplier to the government. The government often outsources their needs resulting in government contracts up for bid. So, if this is something you’re interested in, here’s how to find and win government contracts up for bid.
How to find government contracts up for bid
Half the battle before you even start applying for government contracts up for bid is where to find them. There are hundreds of websites posting multi-sector contract opportunities. Filtering them out can be a challenge and relying simply on CPV codes can lead to missed opportunities.
Ideally, you should be looking for a sector-specific portal that posts all tendering leads from your industry. Our sister company, Hudson Discover, hosts 11 sector-specific tendering portals. You’re able to filter the search results by location, keyword, budget and more. This helps you find the perfect bid for your business – streamlining the process and saving you time.
Our portals cover the following industries:
- Healthcare Tenders
- Creative Tenders
- Facilities Tenders
- Construction Tenders
- Technology Tenders
- Logistics Tenders
- Research Tenders
- Consultancy Tenders
- HR Tenders
- Finance Tenders
- Hospitality Tenders
Once you’ve found the right bid for your business, you should ask yourself the following before you progress:
- Am I eligible?
- Do I have the necessary qualifications/accreditations?
- Can I actually deliver the work?
- Do I have the necessary experience?
- Do I meet the economic financial standing?
- Can I write a winning bid by the submission deadline?
Assessing your bid or no-bid strategy is good to do if you want to bid on government contracts. This can help you see if a tender opportunity is right for your business. Just because you are eligible for a bid doesn’t always mean you should go for it.
5 tips on how to win government contracts up for bid
Be the MEAT
Government contracts up for bid are always awarded to the most economically advantageous tender (MEAT). This means that buyers are looking for the tenders that provide the most value for money. The buyer is looking at more than just price. A buyer could be considering a range of factors including:
- Technical ability
- Customer service
- Ability to deliver on time
Each contract awarding body will be seeking something different depending on their needs. Therefore, you should read the specification thoroughly as what they require will be noted here. This can help you tailor your response to their specific needs. It can really help strengthen your response.
Demonstrate added value
Carrying on from the MEAT, public sector organisations will be looking for tender responses that demonstrate added value. This is because the government wants to get as much for the taxpayer’s money as possible. If you can demonstrate added value, it can give you an edge over your competitors.
For example, say you are the buyer, and you are looking at two high-scoring bids. One includes added value, and one doesn’t. You would choose the one that is offering more for the same price.
When tendering for contracts, continuously ask yourself how you’re going to add value to the buyer. It’s not enough just to say how you meet the requirements. You need to state how your services/goods will benefit the buyer. This can help you write a winning bid.
Remember social value
There’s a mandatory minimum weighting of 10% on social value for government contracts up for bid. We have even seen some with a weighting of up to 30%. This means it is not something to leave as an afterthought when writing your bid response.
Social value is the economic, social and environmental aspects that should be considered when fulfilling the contract. There are five key themes that should be addressed where possible. These are:
- Supporting COVID-19 recovery
- Fighting climate change
- Improving equal opportunities
- Tackling economic inequality
- Showing commitment to health and wellbeing.
This is a chance for SMEs to shine over bigger businesses and from their competitors.
Have contract experience
Government contracts that are up for bid will require you to have a bank of contract experience. Buyers will require you to provide 2 – 3 case studies of past contracts you have delivered. These will likely need to be within the last 3 – 5 years. They should be similar in scope and complexity to the contract you’re going for.
You should include in your contract examples any challenges you encountered. Detailing how you overcame these will demonstrate your problem-solving skills and flexibility. Both of these qualities are key when going for government contacts up for bid.
You want to note the contracts that you complete on time and within budget. This will greatly strengthen your bid. It will also help instil trust in the buyer that you know what you’re doing.
Address what’s being asked in the specification
One of the main reasons businesses miss out on bids is that they don’t give the buyer what they’re asking for. Reading the specification is essential. It will detail specifically what the buyer is looking for.
A lot of businesses will go off on a tangent and just note why they are good for the job. This is useless unless you are relating it to what they are required. Stay focused on your responses. Address what they are asking for specifically.
Break the questions down and address each point within the question. Use subheadings and bullet points to ensure you are covering all bases. The buyer will want you to demonstrate in your response that you:
- Understand what they’re asking for
- Hold evidence of a good track record in delivering similar goods/services to a similar standard
- Have a qualified and professional team to deliver the contract.
You now know where to find and how to win government contracts up for bid. If you follow this advice, you will be one step closer to securing government contracts that are up for bid.