If you are a business looking to expand, bidding for government contracts can be a great place to start. Securing a contract for your company provides a guaranteed income across a set timescale and is a fairly risk-averse method of growth.
A 5 step guide: how to tender for contracts
- Make yourself aware of the public sector tendering process (see our resources area for an in-depth guide) including how and where contracts are advertised, how to express an interest, and how to tackle the PQQ document and the ITT document.
- Ensure you are ready to bid. There are always certain criteria set out by a contracting authority for prospective bidders, usually incorporating 2-3 years of trading, and requirements on turnover, trade accreditations and experience relevant to the contract.
- Research possible contract opportunities relevant to your industry, geographical location and capabilities as a company.
- Complete the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ). This document is designed to shortlist potential bidders and focuses on what your company currently does. This stage of the bidding process can be largely data-driven, in order to eliminate some applicants.
- You have passed the PQQ stage – next is to complete the ITT document. This is likely to be more complex and onerous than the PQQ, concentrating on what you will do to deliver the contract and your company processes and procedures. This is the last stage of the process and is extremely competitive.
A low risk method of expansion for your business
It can be a large decision (and risk) for any organisation when choosing to expand, as it involves an increase in resources and business. However, starting slowly and spending time to secure the right contract is a great stepping stone to growth for a company, through establishing relationships with contracting authorities and putting practices in place for future success.
Tendering is a fairly low risk and low cost option, as you do not need to implement all new measures and increased resources until you successfully obtain the contract. Unlike other methods of growth, you do not need to commit yourself to all demands of the contract until you are deemed successful.
The ITT document itself helps identify and implement a plan to be used if you are successful in obtaining the contract, including aspects of business continuity, staff levels, delivery and quality assurance. Although the bidding process may seem onerous and time consuming, it does force your management team to consider all aspects of the contract and how your company will be affected by the increased growth, again minimising the risk.
Longer term strategy
Unlike entering a new market or service area, you are expanding upon your existing offerings through a secure contract and over a given time period, helping to form a longer term strategy for your organisation. Creating partnerships with other businesses or contracting authorities is also beneficial in terms of growth and will put your organisation in a better position to win more contracts.
Once you have secured your first contract, this can be a basis to bid for further opportunities as you have increased experience to draw upon and a better knowledge of the process.