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Tenders - Reaching a Bid/no Bid Decision

Simon van Os


Business Efficiency

If your company has found a tender that you are considering taking part in, what elements of the tender should you take time to consider when you are trying to reach a decision if you should tender for the opportunity or not? Our partner has decades of experience in tendering and has helped their clients win over £5bn worth of contracts.

Here are the key areas they say that you should review before deciding whether to bid or not:

Bidder Requirements

A tender may stipulate that you hold certain accreditations, insurances and memberships. These may involve specific ISO accreditations, requested insurance levels and industry specific accreditations such as cyber essentials. If you do not hold these specific requirements, your tender may not pass the initial evaluation stage.

Read Pass/Fail Criteria

Tenders will detail what will constitute a pass and a fail as part of their evaluation process. This can be in relation to your responses to yes/no questions and if your business is in possession of accreditations or qualifications. Review provided evaluation criteria guidance. Any red flags?


Many tenders stipulate desired financial performance. This can be through either a minimum turnover requirement or results of a series accounting measures such as liquidity ratios, turnover V’s contract value or credit scores. If in doubt about these, always involve an accountant to run these checks to ensure you will pass this stage before committing to the tender.


Usually, three references are needed when tendering. Ideally, these need to show your experience in the same sector. On occasions, tenders stipulate that references must be in specific industries with the same customer demographics, e.g. working in schools or higher education establishments. Check to see if the reference element of the tender is pass/fail and if there is an opportunity you might fall at the first hurdle. Case studies are also common and can help add to the quality of your bid.

Evaluation Criteria

Review how the tender will be evaluated. Evaluation guidance will detail price and quality weightings. If the tender is driven around price, can you be competitive? If it has a large quality element, do you have the skill and resources to put together a compelling quality response?

Quality Questions

Nearly every tender features quality questions a bidder must respond to. This is the scary part of the response process for most bidders. Answering these questions takes not only great skill, but also a lot of time and resources. Remember, there will be a tender deadline where all of this work needs completing by.

Responding to a tender requires plenty of resources and time. Checking the areas listed above can help you decide if the opportunity warrants a response or not.

For more information around tenders, please do not hesitate to speak to our Business Efficiency Team on 01273 424904.

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