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  • Writer's picturePeter Searle

Bidding - a guide to writing tenders

When you tender a project, time is of the essence. The pricing and review of the contract conditions will be carried out by someone who does this regularly for you but the narrative which goes with the bid is more complicated, as the evaluators ask different questions. Therefore, pulling all the information together can be time consuming and ultimately, unless you are well organised, can detract from your submission, or even disqualify you.

To make things easier it is worth putting together a bid library in preparation for a bid. Whilst the library will not be specific to the project, it will provide you with a lot of the standard information requested, especially if it is a two-stage bid.

Typical contents of a bid library

· Organisation information, Charts, Registration Numbers, Insurances

· Policies – for example:

- HR policies

- Modern slavery

- Anti- bribery

- Social media


- Business continuity

· Finance and accounts – 2 or 3 years

· Quality control procedures

· Certification

· Health & Safety

· Environment

· Social Value

· CV’s

· Training records

· Discipline specific information

· Testimonials

· Case studies

· Pictures

Bid Strategy and program

Every project bid should be approached with enthusiasm to win it. If not, there is no point in doing it. You should identify your edge. Lowest price is not always the case. A faster program might be what the client wants, or a phasing of the payment terms. If you have done your background work before the tender lands, then identifying your winning edge could make the difference.

Establish a responsibilities matrix for who is doing every part of the bid, so nothing is left out when it is returned. Set out a program of when the elements should be finalised for checking and formatting for inclusion in the bid.

Write up.

It goes without saying the that the write up should address the questions asked. Keep to any word counts and font sizes that are specified. As the library of tenders builds up, resist the temptation to cut and paste. Invariably, incorrect information will be included if you do this, which will detract from the submission.

If the write up is being compiled by several people it is worth either having some style rules or arrange for a copy writer to rewrite it at the end, so it flows.

Proof reading and submission

Finally, those who have contributed to the bid will have lived and breathed it for a few weeks. They will be close to it and blind to what is about to be submitted. It is always worth getting someone independent to read and check the final submission before it goes in. They should not only be proof reading the words for spelling and sense but check that the narrative ties up with the commercial submission. Any qualifications should be clearly stated, and a covering letter sent with the tender which can provide an executive summary to wet the reviewer’s appetite.

If the tender is to be uploaded to a portal, allow enough time for the upload and regardless of the method of submission gain a receipt for it.

If you would like any help with preparing a bid library, gaining the relevant accreditations or bid writing, please contact

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