Price lists, estimates, quotations and tenders

Prepare a price for a tender


If you provide goods or services to other businesses or the public sector, you may have to compete for contracts by submitting a tender. Although value for money can be an important component of many tenders, the way you price your bid can also make the difference between winning or losing business.

Although price is important, there are many other factors that your potential customer may be looking for, from your ability to meet their operational needs to your environmental credentials. The more you can find out in advance about their requirements, the better you can tailor your tender accordingly.

As with quotations, you're committed to the price you submit in a tender if it is accepted.

Before you price a tender, check the instructions in your client's bid specification. These will usually detail how the costs should be displayed so that bids are easier to compare.

You may be asked to provide:

  • a breakdown of component costs at each stage of the project - eg weekly or monthly
  • staff time and costs
  • management time and costs
  • administration time and costs
  • estimates of reimbursable expenses

Even if a detailed breakdown isn't asked for, it's in your interest to provide one. It can help you to win contracts by showing your client you're offering good value. For more advice on how to price contracts, see win contracts at the right price.

In your tender document, your overall price should be set out in both words and figures. It should be clear which currency you are dealing in and whether your price includes VAT.

You should also state how long your prices will be valid. It can sometimes take a long time for tender decisions to be made - by which time your costs may have increased.

It's a good idea to add a contingency for any unexpected costs or additional work that may arise. Explain where and why you have included this in your bid.