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 or 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

How to Write Tenders 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.

Tendering Guides and Helpful Information on Tenders

Dealing with tenders can be very confusing. We created a series of tendering guides to help people gain a better understanding of PQQs and tenders. These guides deal with some of the most commonly asked questions and provide lots of useful information on tenders.

All of the tendering guides have recently been updated and now have the facility for printing and PDF downloads.

How to Find Tender Opportunities

Tendering Guides - How to Find Tender Opportunities

For anyone new to tendering one of the most common questions is “how do I find tenders?”. The good news is that it is easy and free to search for public sector contracts.

This guide explains how to use TED, Contracts Finder and other web-portals to search for high and low value contracts. They include Government, councils, housing associations, NHS and other public funded authorities.

www.zemaitis-uk.com/free-resources/finding-tenders-free/

Get Ready to Tender Check-list

Tendering Guides - Get Ready to Tender Check-list

The next most commonly asked question for companies looking to try and win tender contracts is “what do I need to do to start tendering?”.

This is why we created the fit to tender check-list:

1. What information you need to have in place

2. What documents you need

3. Other key issues like qualifying tenders – being realistic about success rates

www.zemaitis-uk.com/free-resources/fit-to-tender-checklist/

How to Answer Tender Questions and Score High Marks

This guide on how to answer tender questions will help you to create better tender responses. Previous posts have been combined with some new information to provide a comprehensive resource on answering tender questions.

To win a tender (or get through a PQQ) you need to score high marks. Answer tender questions well and submit a competitive price then you should score highly. And hopefully win the bid!

How to Answer Tender Questions and Score High Marks

Answer Tender Questions Effectively

Once you have qualified the tender and made a plan, you can start writing. NB make sure you avoid the most common tendering mistakes.

An earlier series of posts explained best practice for Answering Tender Questions:

Part 1 explains how to approach each response so that it is correct, complete and succinct. So often I see answers where waffle or irrelevant information is used in place of a crisp precise answer. Sometimes this is due to copy and pasting of a past response which is similar (but not identical) to the current question. It is important that you focus your response on the question in hand.

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