Often the first step towards winning a contract involves completing a PQQ – Pre Qualification Questionnaire. When a company puts a project out to tender, the PQQ is used to create a shortlist of applicants who have the ability to deliver the job.
It’s vital that you take time to complete the PQQ properly; mistakes at this stage will lose you the opportunity of bidding for the contract. If you find yourself completing PQQs regularly, it’s useful to have a system as a lot of the information – though not all – will be repeated. Here are some tips to give you the best chance of submitting successful PQQs.
Build up a database of information
All PQQs require basic information on your company, so keeping all the necessary documents in one place will make PQQ completion an easier process. Make sure you have easy access to the following:
Company name, type of business, contact details
Vat number and registered address(es)
Details of any ISO certification
A summary of your company and your business model
5 years’ accounts
Policy documents, including H&S, environmental and bullying policies
Risk management strategy
Create a pricing strategy
While all contracts must be awarded on “best value” rather than price, it’s important that you get your pricing strategy right. When completing your PQQ, if you pitch too high you won’t progress any further in the process. However, setting your quote too low could indicate that you haven’t fully thought through the contract; alternatively, you could win the contract and then find you can’t actually deliver the goods at the price you quoted. Set up a pricing strategy as part of your system to ensure that you quote the right price every time. Make it a habit to keep tabs on the following:
Your costs – both in the short and long term
The competition – do you know what they are charging? If you don’t, how can you find out?
Discounts – can you offer discounts for repeat customers, over longer contracts etc?
Credibility – how much credibility will you “earn” through winning certain contracts, and how will that influence future quotes?
Perfect your presentation
- You may be the perfect bidder for the job but if you deliver a scruffy, badly presented PQQ you’re unlikely to even be considered. Set up a system to make sure that you complete every PQQ exactly as required and in a professional way. Here are some tips for perfect PQQ presentation:
- Follow instructions regarding fonts and word count. Using Times Roman instead of Arial or going over by just one word could damage your PQQ chances.
Read all the questions carefully. Many PQQs are very similar but even if there’s only one different word it could change the entire meaning of the question. Make sure every question is answered accurately and with relevant information.
Be consistent throughout and if possible, within the requirements of the PQQ, use your corporate identity.
- Prepare a snappy, honest summary of your company that you can use for all PQQs.
- Put together a library of relevant images and graphics that you can use, where relevant, in PQQs. However, always ensure you have permission to use photos.
- Think about how you will present your PQQ, and remember that it may be read by lots of people. Can you print and bind it properly in-house, or should you send it to a printer?
- Put together a timetable for completing PQQs so that you never miss a deadline.
- Nominate a member of staff to complete all PQQs. PQQ completion can be a time consuming task and they will be less easily distracted if it’s a specific part of their job. Also, in time they will become familiar with the format and information required.
- Better still, consider using a professional PQQ writer. They understand the process and know how to complete PQQs successfully. Once you’ve found one you like, stick with them for future PQQs and tender submissions as they will build up a thorough understanding of your company.
Whatever you do, do not leave your PQQ until the last minute!