Beginners Guide to Pricing Tenders

As part of our tender consultancy service, I often discuss tender pricing strategies with clients. This beginners guide to pricing tenders covers the most common topics we talk about when aiming for the winning bid.

You know your business, its costs, competitive pricing and your competition – if you don’t, act now! I cannot tell you what will be the winning price. But this guide to pricing tenders explains some the most important issues when bidding to win a tender.

Beginners Guide to Pricing Tenders

General Pricing Strategy

Tenders almost always have price as part of their evaluation (see MEAT below). So, you must ensure that your company’s pricing is competitive in your market sector.

When undertaking a sales and marketing review with a client, pricing strategies are always on the agenda (part of the Marketing Mix). This is a much bigger topic than pricing tenders and is too broad to cover properly in this post but let’s look at some of the basics:

There are three elements to a price:

  1. Direct Costs are the specific costs incurred to provide the product or service e.g. staff, materials / sub-contractors and supervision
  2. Indirect Costs include premises, management, professional fees, administration etc.
  3. Profit is the difference between the selling price and (1) & (2)

How to Write Tender Responses in a Positive Style (and Win More Bids!)

When you write tender responses, being positive helps you to maximise the impact of your bids. A confident tone shines through – as will any negativity. Therefore, you want to ensure that you avoid sounding negative and always be positive. You will appear confident and so encourage the markers to read your tender in an affirmative way. Hopefully leading to higher scores and therefore a win! This article explains 3 simple techniques that will help you achieve the right tone.

How to Write Positive Tender Responses

How to respond to tender questions covers all the basic steps of writing good answers to tender questions..

How to score high marks explains how to use the right language and style when answering tender questions. This includes:

  • Using benefits
  • Correct, complete and succinct writing
  • Writing in terms of ‘them’
  • Using the second or third person
  • Supporting evidence
  • Differentiating from the competition

We are now going to add some more subtle aspects to this ‘to do’ list by showing you how to write positive tender responses.

5 Things to Avoid When Preparing Tender Submissions

5 Things to Avoid When Preparing Tender Submissions or PQQs

One of the very first posts that I wrote was on the 10 most common tendering mistakes. It shows the main errors made when preparing tender submissions or PQQs. Many of these are pretty fundamental mistakes such as missing information, which will quickly lose you marks.In this post I want to explore some more potential tendering pitfalls. These are less about omissions but more about mindsets or your approach. Make sure that you avoid them when next preparing tender submissions or PQQs.

When Preparing Tender Submissions or PQQs Don’t Make These Mistakes

1. Get ‘Tender Rage’

This usually applies to people who are new to tendering. They feel annoyed by having to tender for a contract in such a complicated manner. But most of us have got angry about the whole tendering process. I call this ‘Tender Rage’. Or ‘Getting the Grey Mist’ (there’s too much paperwork involved to get the full Red Mist!).

I can completely understand why people get it. Tenders involve a lot of effort. You have to deal with numerous complex questions and pricing schedules as well as long contracts and specifications. And let’s face it, some tenders are really badly written.

I’ve seen people compile a list of 30+ clarification questions! Not just because there are that many aspects on which they are unclear, but because they want to hit back at the tender panel.

I always try and remain calm and explain to clients why organisations tender. I also explain the tendering process. Then I recommend taking a break and starting afresh the next day. But also to make sure that the tender opportunity is for you (see next point No. 2).

How to Write Tenders with Word, Page and Character Limits

My last post gave a lot of good general advice on answering tender questions. This time we are going to look at how to write tenders where word restrictions, page limits or maximum character levels apply.

How to Write Tenders with Word, Page or Character Limits

Tender Writing With Content Restrictions

This is a more recent challenge – limits on pages, words or characters. Once, you rarely saw restrictions. Now most public sector and corporate tenders have some type of limitation e.g.

  • Maximum 500 words
  • No more than 2 sides of A4 using Arial font size 11
  • Response is limited to 5,000 characters (including spaces)

The instruction will be accompanied by something like “anything over the stated limit will be disregarded and not marked”. This means that your tender answers must comply to the restriction to have any chance of getting a good score. Anything over the set limits will not earn you any scores!

The limits often seem a bit harsh when trying to answer complex questions. However, they can help us focus on writing a concise response. Which of course is the idea – no waffle!

I always say to clients that “we are all in the same boat”. Every bidder faces the same challenge; we just have to be better! And we normally are! The following techniques will help you to write tenders with high-scoring answers and observe limitations.

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