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Article Details

Published Date: 20-01-2014
Author: Executive Compass
Category: Tender Writing & Bid Management
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As an independent bid writing and bid management company one of the first questions we are asked is what our services cost.

The problem is that it is not as straightforward as some people think to answer the question: how much will it cost?

There are so many variables in the bid writing process to take account of, and that means we cannot provide a quote without first seeing the document you need us to work on. The one thing we can say outright is that our writing the bid will be more cost effective, with a much higher chance of success, than you undertaking the bid yourself.

Bid Writers at Executive Compass

Cost Of Bid Writing

If you write the bid yourself these are the issues you need to consider. Not all are cost based, but some may cost you dearly if you do not address them:

  • How much time does your internal team need to focus on the bid? Typically, professional bid writers are four to six times quicker at writing than the average Manager or Director. After all, they are professional writers, usually touch type and are experienced in the language and terminology required to write a complex tender submission. If a tender writer charges you £200 for half a day’s work, to deliver the same volume internally in a cost effective way, you will have to be paying your staff £50 per half day and for it to take them two days to be cost neutral (based on being only four times quicker.) This is often overlooked when calculating the benefits of hiring professionals. Plus, the internal team writing the bid also have other functions. What tasks are they not doing while they are writing?
  • Knowing what you are doing: our writers are experienced and can write structured, persuasive and compelling responses. It is not the cost of writing a bid you should consider, it is the cost of writing a losing bid that should be uppermost in your mind.
  • Understanding the bid questions: many internal teams simply lack the experience to understand the questions posed fully. While they may understand the higher level question, often the detail and underlying question remain unaddressed.
  • Back up and managing the bid: most in house bids run out of time and are rushed at the last minute. The bid is often unfinished and has not been fully reviewed. In addition, most firms do not have backup systems, version control and resource contingency if a staff member falls ill half way through a project.
  • Quality assurance: the best an internal bid can hope for is to have other members of the organisation review the responses. It is doubtful if they read the evaluation criteria and even if they do, unlikely that they will understand it all. Our bid writing team is subject to strict quality assurance procedures and yes, this adds cost in terms of time and expertise.

How Do We Quote?

Costs for independent bid writers are not as high comparatively when one factors in the cost of failure, the cost of internal staff salaries and the cost of additional resources such as designers or printers.

As a guide though, here are some things we consider when providing a quote:

• What is the page or word limit to each question?
• How many questions are there?
• How long will it take to physically write the bid?
• Are the questions complex or straightforward?
• Will we have to generate lots of additional material in terms of evidence to support the bid?
• When is the submission date?
• Do we have to design a template for the narrative responses?
• Will we have to write from the client’s premises or can the work be undertaken remotely?
• Have we worked for the client previously?

As you can see, there is no standard response to the question and no standard price for writing a bid or for bid management. There really is no such thing as an off the shelf bid or a standard price.  One thing I can say is that the cost does not correlate with the contract value. This is because contract value is no indication of the amount of work that is required. Previously we have written bids of 48 pages for a £200 million contract and written bids of 250 pages for contracts worth less than £1 million.

Want to know more? Then check out our ‘Cost of PQQ & Tender writing’ video below:

If you are really eager to know how much a bid will cost to write or manage simply send us the details and we will provide a quote.

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