Should I bid?
Before event deciding whether to put a bid together, it is worth assessing the opportunity and considering:
What does the customer want?
Customers may set out a specification based on inputs (i.e. Number of cleaning hours) or outputs (i.e. delivery of 500 school meals a day). Make sure you are 100% clear on what is being asked in the specification. If you have any questions – be sure to ask for clarification. If you make any assumptions in your bid, be sure to list these in your response so it is clear what you are offering.
If you want to put forward an alternative solution (also known as a variant bid), make sure this is acceptable as it might not be considered.
The bid team
It’s a great idea to form a bid writing team early on and ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear in order to draft up an ace bid. Its is well worth putting a bid response plan together to ensure you have enough time to present a complete bid – remember to consider holidays and leave.
The team should include all relevant areas of the business including sales, service delivery, finance etc. If you have worked with the customer before, ensure that get staff with customer insight on the bid team – they’ll have valuable input which might just swing it in your favour!
Make sure that the bid team have support from their colleagues to cover their day to day work while they dedicate time to developing the content for your bid.
The bid writing process
Tendering comes with a rigid timetable for specific activities. The tender period should be proportionate to the complexity of the bid you have been asked to prepare. If you feel that you won’t have enough time – ask for an extension at the start of the process (you’ll be more likely to get an extension early rather than last minute!)
Make sure you are aware of clarification deadlines too – ask all your questions upfront so you have time to review and respond to the responses.
Make sure you submit you bid well in advance of the deadline (i.e. the day before) so if you have any technical issues, these can be resolved without jeopardizing your bid.
Understand the Terms and Conditions
Make sure you have really understood the contract terms and conditions. Seek legal advice if needed. Variant bids may not be accepted, so its worth checking if you need to question any of the clauses - ask the buyer.
Most buyers will provide a pricing template to complete, but its also worth providing additional pricing to cover different eventualities, for example:
Make sure you are compliant
Double check you have signed all the relevant forms and documents. A non-compliant bid might not be reviewed and it would be such a shame to miss out for forgetting to sign your bid.
Check your bid
Proof-read your bid for spelling and grammar mistakes. A winning bid is well written and easy to read. Mistakes will cast doubt on our ability to deliver a truly professional service. Ensure you have allocated time for this in the bid plan.
Ask someone independent of the bid team to read your response to make sure you have answered all the questions and to check all examples really evidence your response.