If you want to tap into the vast market of government and private sector contracts, tendering is the pathway that you need to tread. The process of tendering can be complex, demanding, and expensive – especially if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. It also helps to know where to look for tendering opportunities.
Tendering – the basics
If you want to begin tendering for opportunities in the UK, here are the basic points you need to think about.
First, you need to understand the stages involved, like PQQs, ITTs, and proposal submissions. It’s important to understand the specific requirements, evaluation criteria, and timelines associated with each of these stages, but what are they?
PQQ – The Pre-Qualification Questionnaire is the first stage filter and aims to filter out any businesses that are applying for the tender but don’t meet the requirements. It may be that they don’t have the experience or attributes needed. This stage is important as it not only saves time and money for the project but also for the contractors applying. This stage is now standard for public sector procurement and is becoming more common in all industries..
ITT – if you pass the PQQ, they you may be invited to bid for the contract. Invitations To Tender are usually given via an online portal or email and can sometimes just be the stage that follows on from expressing an interest in the contract. It presents an opportunity to read documents about the contract and decide if you wish to apply.
How you apply and what information is needed will be outlined in the documents. Even if you’ve applied for a tender with the same client for something similar before, make sure you read the documents, as the submission process is tender-specific.
How to find tendering opportunities
Google it! No seriously, searching for terms such as “UK government tenders” or “public sector contracts” can highlight upcoming projects and the organisations responsible for tendering them. There are also tender services and portals that you can sign up to be alerted of potential tendering opportunities.
How to win tenders
Winning tenders requires a competitive edge over other applicants, and this is done by writing a very clear tender bid to show how you meet the tender specification, the buyer’s needs and deliver exceptional value. This isn’t a 5 minute job, and needs careful consideration, a collaborative approach from within your business, and plenty of time!
If government and formal opportunities are something you want to pursue in the future, then the best time to start is right now.
There is a lot of common information requested no matter who or what the tender is for because it relates to your company information and examples of your experience and capabilities. Collating this information ahead of time is a worthwhile investment but copy and paste is not a solution when applying for a new tender. Each tender will be unique and needs a tailored response.
Based on our experience of competing for tenders, our advice would be to find an expert who can help steer you in the right direction. Jim has been invaluable in providing training for our team, helping us see the tender process from the prospective client’s view, and giving us constructive feedback on the documentation we are compiling so that we’re prepared when the perfect tendering opportunity appears.