How to tender - 5 rules to follow & 3 pitfalls to avoid

Instructions on how to tender and when to submit a bid are always provided in the tender guidelines issued by organizations, both in the public and private sector. Tips on how to bid successfully:

Rule #1 - Follow the instructions to the letter

Each tender or bid advert indicates, usually in a covering letter, where you can collect the tender documents, where they should be submitted and by when. Bidders that do not comply with the basic requirements for submission will be disqualified in the first round.

Rule #2 - How to tender: Submit all required forms and certifications

Included in the tender will be requests for supporting documentation including company profile, references from satisfied customers, tax clearance certificates, company registration documents, audited financial statements etc. Care must be taken to complete these forms correctly, get technical advice if needed. Finally, check for errors and completeness before submission.

Rule # 3 - Submit your bid before due date and time

Every tender has a closing date. To ensure that the bid is delivered on time a project plan should be prepared detailing the internal milestones to be achieved and allocating the tasks. Ideally there should be a bid manager or tender leader to make sure that you are on time, Closing dates are exactly that, late bids are disqualified.

Rule # 4 - How to tender by focusing on the evaluation criteria

Organizations issuing formal tenders usually outline the judging criteria, sometimes they often include the points allocated to each area. This provides clues to the importance of each criteria, e.g. price, quality, after sales services and support. Take time to understand both the price and non-price measures purchasers to evaluate tender bids.

Rule #5 - How to tender by differentiating yourself from the competition

Your competitors are also submitting tenders, so structure your tender response so that you are in a position to win even if yours is not the cheapest bid. Include value-added services in the price or offer creative price structures. The key is to be organized - focus on the parts of your tender where your competitive advantage lies and use examples and client testimonials.

How to tender : The pitfalls

Pitfall #1 – Compulsory Briefings

Look out for any compulsory briefings or site meetings or any other special conditions of contract as non-compliance can disqualify you. If you do not attend the compulsory meetings, you will not be able to tender.

Pitfall #2 - Failure to Comply with how to tender rules

Take time to understand and then adhere to the tender’s legal requirements and stipulations. This is particularly important in public sector tenders where the regulations are defined by law and these may differ for different government departments and local authorities. Failure to comply will disqualify you.

Pitfall #3 - Be totally honest.

If the tender asks whether your organisation has suffered deductions for liquidated damages, or whether a previous contract has been terminated, or not renewed, be truthful. Follow the 5 rules on how to tender and they will work in your favour.

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