12 Steps of Planning Tenders and Bids – Bid Management

Planning tenders properly is often overlooked. All too frequently we receive a desperate phone call from someone asking for help when the tender or PQQ is due in tomorrow! Even if we had any capacity, there really isn’t enough time to do a professional job. Here are some simple bid management tips on planning tenders and PQQs:

12 Steps of Planning Tenders and Bids - Bid Management

How to Approach to Planning Tenders and PQQs

1. Start Early!

The earlier you start, the more time you have. Also getting started early takes away some of the pressure of the task looming ahead.

2. Start a Bid File

Get everything you need in one place for easy access and reference. This will save time in future. I always recommend a paper file as it’s easier to make notes. Then ring-bind it to keep everything together and in the right order order.

3. Plan & Project Manage

Setting timescales and making sure they are met will help you meet deadlines. So do follow up with colleagues to check everything is on target.

4. Read the ITT & Instructions (TWICE)

You can easily miss things first time around so always re-read. Also get other members of your team to read to make sure you have not missed or misunderstood anything.

5. Check Commercial Conditions

Firstly you need to make sure you are happy signing up to their contract. Secondly there may be some important information hidden away in the conditions eg monthly meetings or service level agreements (you may need to respond to these in your tender submission).

6. If in Doubt Ask

If there are aspects of the ITT or PQQ that you are unsure of, ask for clarification. Making a wrong assumption carries a 50/50 chance of getting it wrong. People often shy away from doing this but always ask!

7. Create Check List

1. Requirements – what’s needed?
2. Deadlines – by when?
3. Responsibilities – who’s doing what?

8. Try to Understand What They Really Want

Most tenders want ‘best quality’ and ‘best value for money’ but what else is required? A bit of research may reveal what they really want to achieve – if you can show understanding and then meet this, you stand a far better chance of success.

9. Research Prospect & Competitors

More understanding of the prospect and the competition always helps! If you are bidding for public sector or corporate contracts, they all have extensive websites full of useful information. The same normally applies to your competitors.

10. Big bids take time & money!

Be aware of this so make sure you have the resources and if necessary…

11. Re-qualify?

Is this right for you? Qualify each tenders – decide to bid or not.

12. Aim to Finish Early

Planning tenders to finish early gives you some contingency if things go wrong! But more more importantly it allows time to give the submission the ‘overnight test’ i.e. leave it and read it again the next day when your mind is fresh – this is when you will see all the little mistakes and areas or improvement.

If you want to improve the way you plan tenders, contact us for an informal discussion about our bid management and training services.


Proper planning when preparing tenders or PQQs does pay off. They do take a lot of time and use a lot of resources. As such they cost money but the payback is a nice big contract win. So do use these 12 Steps of planning tenders and PQQs.

Now read about tender planning meetings.

Any more ideas on planning tenders?

2 thoughts on “12 Steps of Planning Tenders and Bids – Bid Management”

  1. Great Tips!!! Thanks

    I find it very useful to get all of the housekeeping tasks done immediately as these small items can seriously scupper your plans at the tail end. Things like, creating an electronic copy on a printed disc, preparing the return envelope and collating any supporting docs – knowing they are ready to go can make a huge difference.

    Secondly, if you require input from other sources/depts farm out the required questions as soon as you have read and assessd them, give your targets firm deadlines for returning the information to you (or do as I do and just give them a false one – a day or so early)In the meantime you can get on with the task of completing all the standard stop/go answers such as financials/insurances etc.

    I have now been bid writing for almost 2 years having never done so in previous roles and even after qualifying the tenders/pqq's I can often find myself running up to 4 at a time all requiring a 2 -3 week turnaround. Preparation is the key, if you know where everything can be found you can save yourself considerable time and stress. The competition just in 2 years has increased dramatically and every advantage you can get over your competitors makes all the difference.

    I'm possibly quite sad as I get a real joy from seeing a fully completed tender or PQQ head off to the post office – :-~

    Rachel Williams
    Marketing & Business Development Manager
    Maylarch Environmental Ltd

  2. Hi Rachel

    Thanks for the comments – some good points made.

    For what it’s worth… I also always feel good when a PQQ is finished but I think that’s more a sense of relief that it’s out of the way! But the good feeling is always enhanced by the fact that you are on time / not rushing to meet the deadline = less pressure.



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