When putting a tender submission together for any construction project, it is essential you evaluate the opportunity, get organised with your tender team and a develop plan of action and define who you are in order to sell yourself. The final thing…It is vital to constantly review.
Half time review
Don’t assume everything or everyone is on track and the deliverables are coming together as planned. It is essential that you benchmark your progress to date part way through, including enquiry returns, supporting documentation, programme restrictions and overall risk and opportunity of the tender opportunity.
- Do we require assistance in specific areas?
- Are the questions posed in the tender actually being answered?
- Does our supporting documentation need to better highlight our company expertise?
- How are we clearly communicating risk and opportunity to the client?
If you are presented with the opportunity of a mid-tender interview with the prospective client, then use it well.
Not only to ask questions about contradictory information but also to demonstrate your early grasp of the project. Use it cover off:
- Client’s needs
- Project Risks
- Effects on others
- Early proactive engagement of specialists
- Tendering resources and engagement of delivery team within the tender
In addition, use any appropriate opportunity available to talk to prospects and get a real insight to their specific needs. Being able to pre-empt and solve clients project pressures is a powerful tool.
Read, review and repeat
It’s basic stuff, but a bid that contains spelling and grammatical mistakes, will present the client with an unprofessional impression. It’s vital to read the whole document to spot any errors or gaps.
All documents should be carefully checked before sending to the client:
- Is the content referenced and structured as requested?
- Do the answers specifically relate to the questions? Be objective.
- Do the answers exceed word count limits?
- Have you really been objective when reviewing against the client’s evaluation criteria?
- Does the organisation chart match the CV structure?
- Does the method statement reflect the proposed programme of works?
Contractors can also be penalised or disqualified if required information is missing from a tender submission.
Tender tip: When you’re at the stage where you think the tender is complete, stop working on it for a day or so. Return, read and review.
Give yourselves time to review the completed document with a fresh pair of eyes. Like a good album, go through the full playlist from question one to the end. You should still have time to be objective and make minor amendments or see how the copy and presentation could be improved.
To do this, you must plan. This is why making time for tendering is so important. This is good practice and helps avoid the usual last-minute rush.
Always get feedback
Whether you’re successful or not, get feedback. These pointers can be vital for defining your approach to the next opportunity.
Clients are usually happy to give feedback and can often be specific about how your bid was scored. Learn from this and use it to develop your tendering approach. You’ll quickly find that different clients look for different things.
- What made you stand out?
- Which solutions provided added value to your client?
- What could have been improved?
Don’t forget… day to day live project feedback is critical. It feeds into your tendering case studies, testimonials and lessons learnt. This is gold dust! Capture your successes and have them ready for your next tender.
You cannot win every tender. However, evaluating the right opportunities, taking time over tendering to deliver quality submissions and making the most of feedback will help you develop best practice in your tender process and increase your win rate.
For more information on submitting winning construction tenders and improving your existing processes, read more blogs about our steps to successful tendering on our journal, contact us for a free consultation on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected].
Communicate your competency and the solutions you can offer. This has potential to open up future opportunities as well as the one you are going for.
Follow the guidelines
Tenders can be penalised or disqualified if they do not meet the specifications requested.
Different types of tender may require specific documentation to be submitted.
Consider the tender assessment team and what they will be looking out for. They may have asked for the submission in a particular format because it then enables them to split it out and separate for review by different team members such as programme, cost plan, Health and Safety review and risk and opportunity. Getting this wrong or going your own way with the presentation of the bid information will only frustrate the assessment team. Not a great idea!
Define your branding and content delivery
By creating a well-designed, organised and compliant tender response you will draw the client’s attention to your message over and above other less interesting/practical documents.
Formatting is an opportunity maker or breaker, so:
- Check and double check that your formatting is correct and in line with the tender documents, referencing, order, type and number of copies, word count, appendices and delivery method.
- Don’t underestimate the power of consistent branding including font, colours and written tone of voice. These are essential in promoting your business and reassuring the client that your company is the right choice.
Clearly conveying professionalism and competence is everything when building relationships with client teams.
Winning tenders can be really simple but you have to remember you are selling. You need to sell your company and its services or products.
Large tenders however can be very complex and often overwhelming. Don’t get to the point where they feel more like a burden, an administrative task. It is a required part of the sales process.
Draw on all your relevant experience
So many times tender submissions don’t explain how good a company is.
As a tendering contractor, you must show how good your solutions are and how they would benefit the end customer. This directly links to your investment in the tendering process.
Take the time to create a library of good examples of your previous projects, successfully delivered to use as evidence of your capability:
- List out your successfully completed projects
- Brush up your case studies. Identify the most relevant ones and match the tone required to boost your submission
- Highlight your testimonials and good client references
- Showcase any award wins and nominations or other accolades
- Include CCS reports
- Add a gallery of before, during and after photos
- Submit fully completed site audits, project reports, risk assessments, method statements, training examples and Toolbox Talks
Having a ready made pool of previous work examples will make your tenders stronger and help support future opportunities.
What are your next steps?
Take a look at our journal for more tips on successful tendering or call us on 0115 7060338 for a chat about how we can help you improve your success rate when tendering for new construction projects.
Without investing time and resources into your tender process you won’t get the results your business deserves.
If you’re in, go all out
If it’s at all possible then visit site.
Every construction site is different and failing to visit it prior to submitting a tender can mean that you don’t have a comprehensive enough understanding of the requirements of the project, the needs of the client and the conditions that need to be met within the bid.
The last thing you need is to win the job then be hit with surprises that complicate and compromise your delivery strategy, programme and increase costs.
Detail, detail, detail
Any misunderstanding of the specifications can create ambiguity. You can end up doing a lot of work for nothing if you make incorrect assumptions. It can be really costly in time, money and opportunity.
Every tender submission needs to be tailored to the opportunity to demonstrate that you clearly understand the client’s requirements.
Don’t just show that you’ve identified the clients’ needs. Demonstrate that you have given them careful consideration and:
- Thought about how you are going to meet their expectations and then how can you surpass them
- Understood the requirements and proposed a clear solution
- Highlighted possible challenges posed by solutions offered
- Presented previous relevant lessons learnt (good and bad) with supporting evidence
Engage with your key supply chain
Make time to review, plan and engage with the specialists you need to make this a successful tender submission.
Use their expertise and your previous working knowledge to find, present and report on previous cost or time saving initiatives. Involve your key supply chain in the tendering process throughout.
Note of advice:
Have open and honest discussions. Sometimes contractors need to realise that subcontractors are experts in their specific fields and hold the relevant skills and advice that you don’t offer.
Make the most of this specialist knowledge to demonstrate expertise and competence.
Note of caution:
Be cautious not to split the scope of works out into multiple packages searching for minor budget benefits. This may only lead to an increase in issues with compatibility and technical coordination.
If you are looking for a construction consultant to give an objective overview of your tender submissions, contact us on for an initial chat on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected].
For other successful tendering tips, including evaluating opportunities and organising your tender team visit our journal.
…We recommend a thorough evaluation of your offer in line with the needs of the client. And then, if you’ve decided to go ahead with submitting a bid, here’s a few more top tips to get organised.
Make time to tender
Tendering for new projects and contracts can be a challenging process and requires detailed planning and adequate time to create a winning response.
Remember, by evaluating, planning and creating clarity and time for your team to produce the best possible responses, you are giving yourself the best possible chance of success.
Each construction tender opportunity has a minimum tendering window to allow you to create a winning bid.
There are two key things to consider:
- Find the opportunities as early as possible, to give yourself the maximum time to evaluate, plan and deliver a strong response.
- Dedicate the time and resources you need to coordinate and compile a bespoke bid.
Once you’ve found and evaluated the tender opportunity and decided to go ahead, then it’s all systems go. Get a plan together and get organised.
Hold a tender kick off meeting
Assemble the wider team, review the tender information pack in detail to identify what’s needed.
Be sure about what the tender deliverables are, who is allocated the responsibility for providing which relevant documents or information. Be clear on the programme for completion of those tasks.
Realise and recognise your obligations
Understanding your obligations is vital. Know what you will be expected to sign up to if successful.
Make sure you investigate and understand your obligations with the form of contract, programme, management of “others”, design liability and relevant insurances.
All of these variables can have a significant impact on the contractor’s project risk profile, which will have a very real effect on your tendering approach, delivery strategy and preliminary costs.
Allocate roles, responsibilities and accountability
Choose your tendering team and involve the key players, administrators and management personnel. Consider also using external ‘resources’, including consultants (you know we do that too?). External consultants, such as Cube, can provide a new perspective on the tendering process. For example, identifying alternative methods of working, design solutions or new supply chain engagement.
Pick the right people
Choosing the right person with the relevant experience for the task identified provides added value. They may propose solutions which have not otherwise been considered, perhaps by highlighting quicker programme options, reducing costs or revealing risk.
Different partners bring different perspectives. Get their experience and knowledge down on paper. Remember your operational staff are not only good at construction delivery, they’re also experts in their respective fields and may welcome the opportunity to get involved and share it with you in the early stages.
Use this construction expertise to create the tender. Engage with the team you will allocate to complete the works and get them to help develop the methodologies you will need to write about.
Compiling a compelling bid
If you work together as soon as the tender lands and plan your response, you will immediately start creating a compelling bid.
Your humble blog writer has had first-hand experience of this… The Operations Manager on a particular job took one look at the client’s designs and immediately gave alternative methods to achieve the same result with fewer materials and less cost.
Encourage alternative thinking
Encourage thinking that considers alternative options of design, programme, logistics and methods of construction. This behaviour sparks reflection of best practice previously employed, lessons learnt and benefits to the client which should definitely be highlighted within your tender submission.
If you are looking for a construction consultant to give an objective overview of your tender submissions, contact us on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected].
However, that doesn’t mean they have to be complicated and when successful, the hard work is well rewarded.
In our latest series of blogs, we’ve reflected on several years of experience in supporting construction clients to prepare successful tenders and win more work. Unsurprisingly there are a few common themes that we’ve encountered over and over again and we thought we’d share a few tips that could improve your chances of future success.
Back to basics
Standardise all your policies; health and safety, quality statements, insurances and latest sets of accounts. If you have them all ready electronically, they are quickly where you need them, when you need them.
Most of all get organised. Have confidence in your plan of attack. Is it the right opportunity for you? Have you got the relevant skills and sector expertise? Do you have supporting evidence? Can you deliver, profitably?
When you tender for construction bids, you need to go into it without trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Be selective. Go for the tenders that you have a realistic chance of winning or that are likely to create the basis for future relationships, where you’re able to demonstrate competence and expertise.
Evaluate the opportunity
Tendering is time-consuming. It’s better to spend time searching for opportunities that are the best fit, rather than wasting time tendering for contracts you’ll never win.
It’s your business and you are the experts. You know your business’ strengths and limitations.
Be honest about what you can deliver well and what you would need extra support to deliver. Your core team will need to be brutally honest about what you can clearly demonstrate you’re the experts at, giving you the opportunity to tailor your tender submission toward these areas of strength.
As soon as possible, review all the key factors and decide if and how you will proceed (and if you will even bid at all?).
Consider the following variables:
- What is the market sector?
- What’s its relevance to your own business plan and future goals?
- Consider the geography, logistics, contract value and delivery timescale
- Does the opportunity fit with your strengths?
- Do you have the relevant in-house experience to manage this form of contract or project?
To tender or not to tender
Do you have sufficient resource to manage the tender and do it justice?
Yes? Then pick a core team and go for it. Assemble your tender team to assess the opportunity as you see it from the initial appraisal. Then, evaluate what you can really offer the client.
Evaluate your client offer
Clients appreciate it when you follow the instructions and supply relevant supporting evidence, including additional details that relate to your mutual contacts and direct relationships.
What have been your success stories? What have been the challenges? How did you solve problems for the client and benefit from lessons learnt?
Highlight relevant existing personal connections and experiences that you have.
As well as your direct history, consider current market intelligence. Understand how your potential clients are currently operating. Are they encountering their own challenges that could offer intelligence about how you present your tender submission?
Understand your client
It’s important that you understand what the client’s strategic plans are for the future and identify what’s important to them. By doing this you can tailor your tender approach to show the client how your construction services and team structure will support the successful completion of mutual goals.
Identify what pains they are experiencing and highlight how your project delivery strategy would provide solutions. What does their future look like? Could your offering support that?
An objective opinion
Could you do with an experienced and impartial view to evaluate your tender process or PQQ submissions? Why not contact us for a no obligation chat on 0115 7060338 or email us at [email protected].