Bidding for contracts
Is your business considering bidding for contracts or looking into tendered opportunities? The process can be daunting. We’re here to help you understand how to get started when bidding for contracts and how having ISO Certification can enhance your bid or tender submission.
What is a bid?
A bid or tender is a submission made in response to a request for proposals made by a contracting body. Every time a government organisation needs a particular good or service, they are obligated by law to publish their requests for bids.
This is common procedure to stop “insider bidding,” in which contracts are secretly awarded to businesses. As a result of the competition it fosters, the government agency itself will also benefit from decreased costs.
Procurement teams assess bids returned and in most cases select a shortlist for interviews to support their decision process.
Getting started with bidding for contracts
Contracts can cover anything from government opportunities to long-term contract work as a supplier of a good or service to a bigger conglomerate. But regardless of the kind of contract, the procedures for submitting a bid are generally the same.
In the majority of cases having ISO certification in place will support your submission. We have supported businesses in winning a range of contracts and accessing supplier lists including the NHS framework.
Bidding for contracts; Research and planning
It’s important to conduct your due diligence before submitting a bid. Finding the project that aligns with your business is necessary. You should only submit bids for jobs in industries where you have a lot of experience and have already demonstrated your abilities. In some instances, you may already be on a supplier list for a company, but they have changed their requirements for procurement and need you to submit a bid for the same work.
In other situations, you may be looking to get onto an approved suppliers list or specific framework. Do the research and find out what criteria the contract requires and what is needed of your business to meet those requirements.
If the project that you are researching fits with your business, you may use your business strategy as a resource and begin developing a plan. Do some research about the company you are bidding on in order to have a plan that explains why your organisation is the best fit to handle the project. Utilise as much information as you can to tailor your bid to their various needs.
If it is ISO certification we are here to help. We have supported a range of businesses across a variety of industries in getting certified.
Bidding for contracts; Engage with the company
For each contract that you identify as a prospect, get in touch with the procurement manager. Ask whether there is any requirement for them to contract now or in the future for the services offered by your business. Find out if they have a list of prospective contractors to whom they could send a request for a bid on a contract when they need services. Ask them to add your business to the list.
It may be worth also requesting a packet of materials outlining the company’s bid requirements and procurement procedure. Fill out and return the supplier capability forms that are part of the packet that they deliver, including any necessary supporting evidence to demonstrate your company’s track record, capabilities, financial stability, and the goods or services you offer.
Consider that the form’s content may vary depending on the business you are in or the service you offer.
Bidding for contracts; Prepare your submission
Once your research is complete and you have a rough strategy in place to demonstrate why your business is a good fit for the project, you must now modify your business plan to demonstrate how you can satisfy the bid request. Naturally, you must take into account the price of labour, supplies, and time, but never underbid the work.
The project doesn’t necessarily go to the lowest bidder. Make sure your offer is aligned to a contract’s requirements.
Make sure to check the job specifications to see if there are any bid bond requirements; if there are, you’ll need to get a bid bond from a bond firm to submit with the rest of your bid.
For support on bid submissions and identifying what procurement teams may be looking for, get in touch today. Our team has a wealth of experience in tendered work and supporting businesses in their development process.
Bidding for contracts; Submit your bid
There are numerous ways to submit your bid. Most government organisations provide an online portal where you can submit your bid for review. Check that your submission goes through properly and that you are familiar with how the site operates. Avoid making any last-minute mistakes by reviewing your submission and engaging someone to check your work.
Private sector bids may not need to be submitted electronically. Digital delivery is becoming the norm, and many, if not most, businesses will anticipate that your proposal will be submitted to a cloud server or some type of digital deposit for huge files. Although it is simple to transfer digital information, it is a good idea to carefully check the submission requirements, since some stakeholders might prefer hard copies.
Compliant’s advice for bidding for contracts
Offer the highest level of quality and efficiency at the most competitive cost. Your business may be given the chance to carry on discussions with the bidding firm’s procurement manager if your business wins the business bidding process. At this last stage of the company bidding process, expect to negotiate the final cost and terms.
Compliant has assisted hundreds of clients throughout the UK and beyond in obtaining ISO certification and Bidding for contracts; for significant projects and to be included on approved supplier lists.
We provide specific certifications as well as comprehensive management systems that cover a variety of standards.
Additional advantages for companies with ISO certificates include better possibilities of landing new contracts, rising sales, and customer retention rates. ISO is one of the most sought-after standards worldwide because it is one of the organisations that is most dependable for upholding high quality standards.
For more information on how having ISO certification in place can support your business in bidding for contracts check out a recent article of ours; ‘How to win contracts with ISO certification’.
Bidding for contacts; what are my options?
There are 2 ways to bid for contracted work including doing it yourself and engaging a consultant to support you through the process.
On your own
You can find contracted work on the Government’s ‘Contract Finder’ website here. Contracts Finder lets you search for information about contracts worth over £10,000 with the government and its agencies. Contracts Finder can be used to:
- search for contract opportunities in different sectors
- find out what’s coming up in the future
- look up details of previous tenders and contracts
It’s worth remembering that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own dedicated public sector procurement websites. These are:
- Public Contracts Scotland for opportunities with public sector bodies in Scotland
- Sell2Wales for opportunities with public sector bodies in Wales
- eSourcing NI and eTendersNI for opportunities with public sector bodies in Northern Ireland
Another useful site for tracking tender opportunities is ‘Tenders Direct’. You can register with Tenders Direct to receive notifications about new opportunities that align well with your business. A dedicated Account Manager will ensure you get the most from their service, and if you require additional tendering guidance one of their in-house bid consultants will help you get started.
For small and medium sized vendors, locating viable contracts at the county, regional, and municipal levels might take a lot more time. It might be challenging to stay on top of the thousands of requests for proposal and invitations for bid that are released daily.
To get started you will need to access bidding portals and local administration websites in order to identify opportunities. You must go through a registration process on the majority of these portals. It is worth considering the time needed for monitoring opportunities and assessing what bids could work for your business.
The do-it-yourself approach may be effective for you if your company employs someone whose main responsibility is to investigate contracting opportunities. However, keep in mind that the time needed to determine whether a contract is appropriate for your company can result in spending a lot of resources on research and evaluation rather than placing bids on contracts.
Engaging a consultant or using a bid service
Vendors can learn about contract opportunities that are a perfect fit for their business needs via bid services. A bid service may offer you all of the pertinent contracts that are currently up for bid in your area.
Vendors can spend more time crafting proposals, quotes, and bids by using a bid service rather than searching for the contracts they want to bid on. Engaging a consultant is a worthwhile investment for smaller businesses that don’t have the resources to allocate to this process.
Bidding for contracts: how to write a high-quality response
It’s critical to craft a strong bid response. Organisations care about quality; the lowest bidder is not always guaranteed the contract. When putting in a bid for a contract, you want to be convincing. You need to persuade the team reviewing submissions that you are the right company for the project.
Conduct a business analysis and ascertain the contract values you are eligible for before moving forward with any tender.
The tender specification will frequently include the contract value. You shouldn’t submit bids for contracts that would need you to spend more than half of your yearly revenue. If your annual revenue is £100,000, for instance, you shouldn’t bid on contracts that are worth more than £50,000.
When writing bids you should consider:
Don’t let the review team infer anything from what you’ve written. Making the wrong assumptions is possible when expectations are left open. Avoid excessive technical jargon and be sure to clearly explain everything. Don’t presume they are familiar with you, your company, or your offer.
Your response should be formatted clearly with subheadings and bullet points. You can frequently divide a question into smaller parts and use these as subheadings. By doing so, you can make sure that you have addressed every facet of the query and provided an adequate response. Using bullet points can also help you organise your response.
When deciding between tens to hundreds of bid responses, companies favour those that are well-organised. A clear and well thought out submission will make you stand out from the competition.
In many procurement-related industries, innovation is a new trend. When purchasing goods, works, or services, buyers expect to see the most cutting-edge inventive solutions. This could involve creative environmental solutions or inventive teamwork. Most industries look for innovation in tendering answers, along with research, technology, healthcare, construction, and creativity.
When submitting a proposal for a contract, try to stick as closely as you can to the word or page limits. They exist for a purpose. Simply writing one paragraph won’t cut it if the customer demands a 1000-word response. Keep your responses brief, pertinent, and relevant.
For more on bidding for contracts read on.
Before submitting your bid
Always consider whether having certain certifications in place such as ISO will support your bid. We have helped companies to become ISO certified in just 6 weeks; so if you are in need of a quick turnaround we can help.
As mentioned above, proofread your tender response before submitting it. This can be helped by waiting a day or two after completion before submitting. Additionally, having it read aloud by a third party can aid in identifying any grammatical, spelling, or consistency issues.
Try not to worry if you haven’t had a response within a certain time limit. Reviewing all of the submissions to some tenders may take some time.
Compliant’s tender support can be helpful if you have been tendering but are not getting the outcomes you want. We will review your prior submissions and tender papers and make recommendations for improvement for further submissions. If you are implementing ISO certification to better support you with tenders, let our team know. We are here to help.
Requesting your quote
We deliver a range of ISO certifications and offer payment options including a 20% deposit followed by flexible monthly payments and can pass preferential rates from partnering certification bodies directly onto our clients.
There is no one else that better understands your business. Compliant will go the extra step in an initial teams meeting to fully understand your business, its requirements, the structure of the management system required, and the organisational context. We will then submit all your information to one of our preferred certification body partners.
If you need an additional quotation at any point just fill in our FREE quote calculator.