Blog • 25.05.23

Tendering for contractors – Is your business compliant to win new business?

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When it comes to choosing contractors to work with, companies are increasingly using the tendering process to make sure that they only select people as part of the procurement and purchasing decision who operate safely, ethically and sustainably.

As an increasing number of new business is being awarded via the tendering process, it’s worth taking the time to understand what steps you need to take to make sure your bid pays off more often.

See it as an opportunity, not a challenge, because the companies who will be looking for your services are likely to only want to work with contractors who can prove that they’re compliant with regulations and that you’re qualified to do what you say.

With that in mind, it’s important to focus on the bids you genuinely want to win and deliver. With a selective approach, you can increase your win rate and spend your time and money more efficiently.

Working through the process to get new business

The first steps in the tender process means getting to know all you can about the client and keeping your competitors front of mind when developing your own bid. At the click of a Google search button, you can unlock a collection of resources that will give you the insight you need. All that info will help you to write your bid, so it appeals to their requirements and demonstrates you have the same values and principles in common. Better knowledge = less guesswork.

The majority of tenders include scoring guidance in the bid document if you’ve been selected to take part. Make sure to read it carefully before making a final decision on whether you’re going to bid or not, as the process takes time and resource.

If you go ahead and bid, then you can start to structure your pitch. Getting help from people you work with can be a great additional support to get you started. Don’t just dive in and write to fill a space. Plan what you want to say and make it user-friendly.

When it comes to writing your bid, be crystal clear about what makes you the right choice, and what you can bring to the table. Don’t overlook key facts or data. You’ve got to bring front and center proof of competence and experience with facts.

If you find writing your pitch difficult, in a nutshell think of it as an elevator pitch: This is who we are, what we do and why we’re the right fit for what you need.

Once it’s written, make sure to review the document thoroughly. Put yourself in the client’s shoes and ask if you would work with this business based on the proposition. Then, once you are happy, it’s time to submit it.

What are procurement teams looking for?

As part of your planning, you’ll also need to understand the different needs and concerns of the key people involved in the process – namely the procurement team, who will be looking to:

  • Contribute savings for the business
  • Provide objective and measurable evidence of effective management in procurement
  • Influence and improve ethical practices in the supply chain

That means you need to think how they think, in terms of:

  • Costs
  • Competitive advantage
  • Innovation
  • Product/service range
  • Brand reputation
  • Customer care
  • Any risks that can impact their supply chain

What can you expect next?

An invitation to tender (ITT) or Specification Document, which is a formal procurement document that the client will send, inviting bids for the contract. Typically, the information required includes more detailed information about the goods or services you provide and specific considerations they would like you to evidence so they can select the most suitable candidate.

This typically asks for information on:

  • Total costs
  • Added value
  • Technical merit
  • Quality
  • Innovation
  • Sustainability
  • Ethical sourcing

A service-level agreement (SLA) may also be required, setting out the level of service the business expects from you.

Once the evaluation team has reviewed each tender, they’ll either make recommendations to the business or will award the contract based on their assessment. Is you’re awarded the contract, expect to be asked for performance measures that cover all aspects of a contract.

Whether you’re successful or not, it’s helpful to ask the client for constructive feedback on your submission to improve your tender process in the future.


Download our guide “Tendering for Contracts” and checklist.