I often get asked – I am new to tendering, what tender documents do I need to have to compete for work?When we assess businesses to see if they are tender ready, we look at:
- The value of any work, services and/or goods your business already delivers to other companies.
- Who your tendering marketplace is – where will you find your tenders, and which tenders you would like to win?
- Have you done quotes and/or tenders before?
- Do you have an existing capability statement?
- What systems, processes, and documentation your business already has in place?
For many businesses new to competitive tendering, it is a giant leap to get started. The companies that do it well recognise that it is not an overnight success but needs to invest some time, effort, and resources to get their tendering documents ready for success.
So, what typical documents do you need to be tender ready?
We divide it into the following four areas:
1. Mandatory Requirements
This includes documentation such as special licences and/or qualifications. For example, suppose you deliver pest control services. In that case, you will often need to demonstrate that you have a valid pest licence for your business as part of the mandatory requirements, but all of your pest technicians also have the relevant pest technician licences. If you do not have the required mandatory items, you cannot compete in the tender process.
2. Compliance requirements
This includes items such as insurance and meeting financial obligations. It can include items such as police clearances and working with children checks (WWCC). If a tender has no mandatory requirements, it often includes licences, qualifications, and certifications as part of the compliance requirements.
Many tenders will allow you to get the required compliance items – for example, where you need a higher insurance coverage than you currently have in place, you can commit to getting this when you win a tender.
Many tenders do not require the supply of financials but have the requirement for a financial check (often by a specialist third party) on your business’ financial capability to manage the contract when successful. Therefore, up to date financials are essential to have in place.
The tendering compliance requirements will generally indicate whether you need to already have the required compliance items in place or if you can get it in place when successful with your tender.
Where you provide goods and services to business, it is important to have:
- Safety, health and environmental policy and management plan(s)
- Quality policy
- Details available of how your business supports local business
- Information on any buying from Aboriginal businesses.
For many small businesses new to tendering, this is the biggest hurdle. It is tempting to grab someone else’s documents. We get a plan from one of our friends that this person got from another friend, and before we know it, we have a safety, health, and environmental management plan in place that binds your business to all kinds of areas – often not even apply to your business.
Worksafe generally provides useful starting templates for small businesses. This is an area where I would recommend investing in getting someone who specialises in this area. It will ensure that you have systems in place that work for your business, allowing your business to grow responsibly and keep your people and yourself safe.
4. Client Specific Requirements
Certain industries have specific requirements. For example, when you provide services in the construction industry, you will often be required to provide:
- A construction methodology
- Detailed price breakdowns but a lump sum price– therefore, you need to understand your price estimates
- A project schedule (or Gantt chart)
Simple Tips to get Tender Ready
- Look at current tenders and previously awarded tenders in your area of service delivery.
- This will give you a good understanding of what is available in the marketplace and who your competitors are. It will also show you what documentation you would typically need.
- Do a gap analysis to work out where the gaps are in your business.
- We do this for many new starters, and most often, the most significant gap is in having the proper tendering documents and systems and processes in place.
- Make sure you invest where the biggest return on business growth investment will be. A gap analysis will also indicate where you should start – where to focus your competitive bidding and where to start.
- Invest in the right resources to complete professional, well-presented value for money bids. This can be in-house or externally.
- And lastly, but very importantly – make sure that you keep up to date with when the quotes and tenders are advertised. Australian Tenders provide a value for money service in this area, ensuring that you will not miss out on opportunities.
Don’t know where to start? I would start with the first tip: look at what is available and what had been previously awarded in the area of your service delivery. Do some research into the market, what is available and how your competitors are doing in terms of previously awarded contracts. You do not need to have perfect systems and processes in place before you start – tendering helps fill the gaps and grow the capability of your business. It may take time, but it is a valuable investment in the success of your business. Our recommendation is always to do your homework before you jump into tendering.
If you are new to tenders and tendering, download Australian Tenders' free Introduction to Tendering eBook.