Tender for a contract

Writing your tender


Once you have decided to bid, you'll need to decide how you'll manage the bid:

  • Who gathers information and does research?
  • Who co-ordinates all the material you need?
  • Who writes the drafts?
  • Who checks them?
  • How will the rest of your firm's work get done?

A good starting point is to make a list of all the questions you would ask if a company was submitting a tender to provide a product or service to you.

Clients will expect you to:

  • state the purpose and origin of the bid
  • summarise your work as a contractor, past experience and credentials for this job
  • say how you'll carry out the work, and how and when you will meet the client's needs
  • explain the benefits and value for money of your bid
  • detail when and how goods and services are to be delivered, and provide a timetable
  • demonstrate your team's skills, experience of similar work and their responsibilities if you win the contract
  • explain how you will manage the project
  • give details of your pricing and any aftercare arrangements within the price
  • be practical and identify potential problems, but do not make promises that are clearly impossible for you to deliver

Include a covering letter that responds to the bid invitation, summarises your main message and explains how the documents are organised.

You should also be aware that information from your tender may be disclosed in the future under the Freedom of Information Act. This gives anyone, including your competitors, the general right to see information held by public authorities - including the information in your tender.

You should clearly indicate which information is commercially confidential. If the information is particularly sensitive, you might want to ask for a non-disclosure agreement.

    If the tender is for a public sector contract, then follow the instructions given in the tendering documents carefully. The documents will be clear on what the client needs and the criteria for evaluating the tenders.

    Use the award criteria headings to structure your bid, and do not assume the evaluation panel have any prior knowledge about your organisation.

    Ensure that you answer all parts of the tender and upload all the required supporting documents. Check your pricing schedule to ensure that you have included all the requested items. Failure to provide a complete pricing schedule could lead to your tender being excluded.