Bidding for a contract can be overwhelming at the best of times, particularly if you’ve never done it before. However, tendering for work is a great way to grow your business. COVID-19 has changed the way in which company’s do business. Gone are the days of face-to-face meetings and traditional networking events. As we come out of the other side, bidding for a contract is a great way to secure a pipeline of work. We have devised five steps that can help you understand what happens when bidding for a contract.
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Step 1: Find the right bid for your business

Once you’ve decided to tender for work, you’ll be wondering how you can find the right contract for your business. There’s no shortage of websites that post multi-sector opportunities and leads daily. Ideally, you should be looking for a sector-specific portal that posts unique, public and private sector opportunities.

One centralised and easy-to-navigate portal can help save you time. Simply relying on CPV codes can result in missed opportunities as they are often mislabelled. Finding a portal that uploads and categorises tender by keywords, location and budget and more can streamline the process. Our sister company, Hudson Discover, hosts 11 sector-specific tendering portals.

These sectors consist of;

Once signed up, you’ll have access to your own on-hand Account Manager. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about bidding for a contract. You’ll also get an email alert when new and relevant tenders are uploaded.

Book a free live demo of your preferred portal. 

Step 2: 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:

When bidding for a contract, you should aim to complete it with plenty of time before final submission. This can help ease the pressure and stress. Tenders can be long and complex at the best of times, so you want to allow for plenty of time. Unexpected delays may pop up and by planning ahead you can help safeguard your response in case this happens. Setting internal deadlines for you and your team can help with this.

Step 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 low as it may result in the contractor questioning your legitimacy. The evaluation criteria of every contract is different and depends on the buyer’s needs. The weightings will differ, but generally speaking, you can expect a split between two or three aspects:

The private and public sector differ in how they award contracts. The private sector isn’t 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.

Step 4: 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.

When bidding for a contract, you should aim for your response to be as close to the word or page counts as possible. They’re there for a reason. If a buyer expects a 1000-word response, simply writing one paragraph won’t do. Keep answers relevant, clear and concise.

Need help bidding for a contract?

Not everyone has the time, resources and experience to write a winning bid in-house. Outsourcing to bid writing experts can help you get on the path to success, helping you win your next tender.

We proudly have over 60 years of bid writing experience and an 87% success rate. They offer four bid writing support services that can help you when bidding for a contract. Whether you’re completely new to tendering or need your response proofread we can help.

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the perfect contract for your business, why not send it our way? Our Bid Writers can take care of it all for you. They’ll let you know what they need from you, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown. They’ll even submit it on your behalf.

Tender Mentor

If you’ve written your own tender response and need someone to double-check it for errors, Tender Mentor can help. The Bid Team will proofread your work for any inconsistencies, grammar or spelling mistakes. They’ll also ensure that it’s in line with the specification before you submit.

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 make sure you have everything in place to tender successfully. Tender Ready offers your business:

  • A 12-month subscription to one Hudson Discover portal.
  • Access to Global Bid Directors and Senior Bidding Professionals.
  • An Organisation-wide Bid library, including 3 case studies, 5 CVs and 8 policies.
  • Additional flexible benefit options.

Tender Improvement

If you’ve been tendering but aren’t seeing the results you want, our Tender Improvement package can help. Our Bid Team will assess your previous responses and tender documents, working with you to improve for future submissions.

Step 5: Submit your bid

Before you submit your tender response, you should proofread it. Leaving a day or two from completion before you submit can help with this. Additionally, having someone else read over it can help spot any spelling or grammar mistakes or inconsistencies.

Once this has all been completed you should submit your response and wait to hear back from the buyer. This can take a while, do try not to fret if you haven’t heard. Some tenders can get hundreds of responses, so obviously reviewing these can take time. Either way, the buyer will always notify you once they have reviewed all bids. They can either do this via the tender portal or email depending on the method of submission.

You may not be successful with every tender you submit and that’s ok. Ask for feedback from the buyer if unsuccessful. This can help you see where and what aspects you can improve on for future bids.

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 a contract.

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 Healthcare and Technology, 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
  • 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.

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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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