How to apply for public tenders

Finding a relevant tender for your business is often the hardest part of the search process. Once you have found the right opportunity, we recommend that you start responding to the tender right away.

The tendering process can be extremely complex; therefore, it is vital that you give yourself enough time to prepare, write and check your application – leaving it to the last minute will not do your business any favours.

Learn more about how to apply for public tenders.

tender search

applying for tenders

Step by step guide to applying for tenders

There are a series of steps that need to be taken throughout the application process; to be successful it is important that you tick all the boxes.

Get started with our step by step list below:

Is the tender right for you?

There is no point in applying for a tender that isn’t relevant to your business.
Before you spend time preparing and writing your bid, ask yourself: “Can I fulfil the requirements of the tender?”. There are many elements your business should consider for this:

• the technical skills and experience required
• the strategy and positioning outlined in the tender specification
• the time and resource required to bid
• the evaluation criteria and weightings that will be used to score responses

Expression of interest

If your business can fulfil the terms of the contract, it’s time to get stared.

Any business tendering with the public sector must send a formal response to the buyer. This is called an ‘expression of interest’.

This stage is straightforward. In the past a supplier would contact the buying authority to request the full documentation; nowadays this should be available to download electronically.

Once your business has this documentation, you can then move on to the next step.

expression of interest

tender response

Preparing your response

So, you’ve read through the tender, know what the requirements are and your business can fulfil them – the next step is preparing your response.

By now, the buyer should have sent out a Selection Questionnaire / Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) to obtain further information. This can be used as an aid during the selection process.

As you have received the criteria in advance, make sure that you consider the weightings allocated to each section when preparing your response.

A standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) document can be previewed here.

Invitation to tender

Once the buyer receives a PQQ from a supplier, it is assessed, evaluated and scored by the buying authority against their weighted scoring criteria.

If a supplier is successful at this stage, they will then join the buyer’s shortlist and will be given an Invitation to Tender (ITT). This is a formal notification from a buying organisation inviting a supplier to submit a full tender response.

tender response

tender response

Submitting a tender response

Now it’s time to submit your tender response.
Invest time when writing and submitting your full tender response – it could make or break your chances of winning.

A good supplier will create a ‘bid team’ that will support them in putting together a bid that is thorough and comprehensive.

Be confident and make sure that you are selling your business. List and explain the benefits your business can bring to the buyer.

Once you have submitted your response, it will then will be scored by the buying organisation who will decide on that basis if your business is the best fit for the services they require.

Learn more about the tender process

New to the procurement process? If you would like to learn more about public sector procurement in the UK, register for free to gain access to our ‘Introduction to Procurement’ guide.

Learn More

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Select Countries

Take out one of our country plans and you can add another country for 30% discount, add 2 more for 35%, add 3 for 40% or add 4 for 45%!

Get Started

Select Countries

Take out one of our country plans and you can add another country for 30% discount, add 2 more for 35%, add 3 for 40% or add 4 for 45%!

Get Started