Tender for a contract

What to put in your tender

Guide

Make sure you read the specification carefully and answer all sections of the bid fully.

Summarise your bid and explain why it answers the client's needs. Write this last but put it at the beginning of your tender.

Crucial rules for your tender documentation

  • Focus on the client - talk about their needs and how you can solve their problems. When you write about yourself, it's to prove you have the skills, experience and organisation to fulfil the client's requirements.
  • Help the client by coming up with ideas - from alternative ways of doing things to how to tackle possible worries about future maintenance and staffing implications.
  • If the client has provided a qualification document, make sure that you cover everything in the document.
  • Value for money and not price alone decides most bids. Try to bring something to the work that can't be done by the client or your competitors. Emphasise business benefits, service improvements, risk reduction, low maintenance, quality, reliability, previous satisfied customers, lifetime costs etc.
  • Analyse all the cost and pricing factors of the contract. Don't ignore fixed costs such as pay for staff who could be working on something else.
  • Consider whether to include some protection of your information from future disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. You may wish to indicate which information you consider to be a 'trade secret' or is likely to prejudice your commercial interests if disclosed. You could also include a non-disclosure agreement.
  • Contract management - show you have the resources to do the work in a cost-effective way to meet the client's needs, hit deadlines and respond flexibly to changing situations.
  • Show you have thought about - and can manage - potential financial, commercial and legal risks that could cause contract failure.
  • Give details of your team. Emphasise strengths - CVs or tailored biographies should highlight successes with similar projects as well as qualifications and experience.