Writing a Winning Government Tender - 14 tips from a professional bid writer

Winning a Government tender can mean big business for your business but if you're not familiar with the right way to respond, it can be a pretty daunting challenge.  If you have a tender that's been issued by a Government Department, here's 14 tips that will help you to write a winning tender:

winning government contracts
  1. Read and analyse it thoroughly to make sure you understand exactly what the delivery requirements are and that you have the capabilities to deliver.
  2. Read through the response requirements carefully.  The tender documents will require that you respond to key criteria in the prescribed format.  It's important that your response is in line with these, and usually it will need to be completed using the response template provide by the issuer.
  3. Stick to any word limits that are included and make sure your response is in the required format - for example, if the tender requests the document to be completed using Microsoft Word 2016, don't use Microsoft Word 2008 when you complete your response.
  4. If the tender documents haven't included a response template, make sure your response is clear, logical and presented well.  The visual aspects of your response are important from a readability perspective, so make sure you leave plenty of white space where appropriate.
  5. Use pictures, diagrams and tables to make the response more interesting - this breaks up the text and reinforces your credibility.
  6. Include all relevant details about your business - usually at the beginning of your response you will  need to provide contact details, ABN and key contact information.
  7. Emphasise your experience - where possible, demonstrate similar contracts or projects where you have clearly delivered a value-based outcome.
  8. Choose the right referees - make sure that they are familiar with what you do and can testify to the quality of your products or services.  Always brief them on the main aspects of the tender so they know what it is that you're bidding for.
  9. If the tender response asks for evidence of your Health and Safety, Quality Assurance, Environmental Management systems or similar, talk to a professional tender response writer (like me) for advice.  Evidence of ISO-accredited (or similar) systems is quite a common requirement, so it's important that this is addressed convincingly.
  10. Demonstrate innovation and value-add.  If there is another way to deliver the tender requirements that's a little outside the tender specifications, highlight this and any additional value you would bring to the contract.
  11. Establish the credibility of your key people by including details of their experience and capabilities.
  12. Clearly label all appendices and make sure these are referenced in the main submission.
  13. Include a cover letter - this should be a short one or two page summary of the key points of your submission.
  14. Check the submission requirements and dates, and make sure your tender is submitted on time.  Most Government tender responses are required to be submitted electronically via an e-tender website. Response submissions can be very large, and the speed of your internet connection, and the number of other businesses submitting their responses at the same time will impact how long it takes for your response to fully upload.  If possible, submit your tender the day before upload your response.

So there you have it - my 14 tips to help you win a Government tender.  Clearly the price you submit is a critical part of your response, but the Government tender review panel have a duty to select the best value for money response.  The lowest price doesn't guarantee success but your price should be within an acceptable range.  If it's appropriate, submit a number of pricing choices, with additional value-add included in higher priced options.

If it still seems a bit daunting, give me a call - it cost's nothing for a chat!  Call me (Pauline) on 0400 514579 or shoot me an email to contact@tenderwise.com.au.