Should you tender?

Bid or no bidTendering is the process of expressing your interest in response to an invitation or request for tender.  It is where you make an offer, proposal or a bid to supply the product or service.  Tendering organisations will seek other businesses to respond to a particular need, such as the supply of goods and services, and will select an offer or tender that meets their needs and provides the best value for money.

Requests for Tender (RTF) and Requests for Proposal (RFP) are the invitations for you to tender.  These are the tender request documents.  They outline the needs of requesting organisation. These documents also outline the particular requirements, criteria, and instructions that are to be followed.

In general, tenders are advertised to offer opportunities to a number of suppliers, encourage competition and provide a greater pool of offers to select from.  Here in Ireland, you can look at and

Interested suppliers will then prepare a tender; the documents that outline the offer that they are making, and will include pricing, schedules as well as their eligibility for the project or procurement. An important task is that they have to show their understanding of the tender.  This is not as easy as it sounds.  They will outline their advantage over competitors; provide information on qualifications, competencies and experience. Further, they have to demonstrate how their bid offers the best value for money.  They will have to produce a plan of action and a methodology for the project.

The submitted tenders are then evaluated with regard to defined criteria, which you will have been told about in the tender request. In a normal tendering situation, this process should be conducted fairly and honestly, and in a manner that is free from bias or favour. The offer that best meets all of the requirements outlined in the request, and provides value for money should win the contract.

The tendering process is generally utilised for procurements or contracts involving substantial amounts of money. Tendering is used by:

  • Government departments, semi-state offices and agencies
  • Private sector companies and businesses are beginning to use the more
  • Overseas markets and businesses

Before you become involved in a tendering process, it is important to understand your businesses suitability for the project; whether your current situation will allow you to tender, as well as your ability to manage the contract if you are successful in winning the tender.  This process will be part of your decision to ‘bid or no bid’.  From here you have to develop a plan and form a team.  Your team can be made up of both internal and external people.

By understanding these points and ensuring you can demonstrate that you are able to meet the criteria and offer a competitive bid, you will increase your chances of success.


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