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.

Tendering Guides and Useful 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

How to Find Tenders for FREE

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

Fit to Tender Checklist

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 to 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 post explained best practice for Answering Tender Questions:

It 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.

Understanding Tender Evaluation Criteria

Tender Evaluation Criteria and Tender Evaluation Methodology

Understanding the Tender Evaluation Criteria and Tender Evaluation Methodology is a vital part of the Bid Manager’s toolkit. Using them can help you to qualify the tender opportunity and improve your score.

Tender Evaluation Criteria

PQQs and tenders will often include a guide on how they are marked. Below is an example tender evaluation criteria or matrix. It shows a tender evaluation using weighted criteria:

Tender Evaluation Criteria Example

They all look different and criteria differs depending on each customer’s needs. The scoring can range from simple percentage splits to complex weighting systems. But the basic principles of tender evaluation criteria remain the same.

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