Tender for a contract

Five top tips for public sector tenders

Guide

There are a number of ways that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) can successfully tender for public sector contracts in the UK. Follow these tips to help your business win government contracts:

  • Start small - Start with low value procurements to build up a government customer base. Aim for opportunities under £100,000 where government has abolished Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs). Building up your base this way is a great foundation for competing for bigger sales in the future.
  • Spot opportunities early - Keep an eye out for potential opportunities before they formally go to market so you can be prepared. Attend information days and sign up for email alerts. See finding out about private and public contracts.
  • Play to your strengths - Public sector procurers see SMEs as flexible, quicker to react and able to offer better prices. Use the pre-market engagement to show this by reacting quickly to questions, offering options and evidence of where you've responded to change in the past. Recognise that you are likely to be cheaper than bigger players and show evidence that you offer value for money.
  • Pass the test - No matter how good you are, success hinges on making your strengths clear on paper.  Think of your bid documents as an exam - take it seriously and answer the question being asked. Consider getting advice if it's your first time. 
  • Provide evidence - If you say your offering will do something, prove it. For example, include a screen shot of how it works or other tangible evidence.

See prepare your business to tender for contracts for further advice on getting ready to bid successfully.