The following are the ‘nuts and bolts’ of writing a good tender response.
Use the templates or formats provided
Tender specification documents will probably include a response template that has sections for you to fill in. These sections may have word limits and require certain file formats.
By accurately following all of the requirements in the response template, you will make it easy for the tender review panel to consider your offer.
Structure your tender document clearly
If the tender specification documents haven’t asked for a particular format or structure, keep your tender response document clear, logical and well organised. Include a clear and persuasive introduction that states the purpose, rationale and central proposition of your bid. If you don’t know how to begin developing your tender response, use our tender development checklist as a guide.
It can also help to use diagrams as your develop your tender response. This can be an effective way to break up blocks of text and communicate to the reader complex propositions.
Provide all relevant details
As with quotes, tenders must include certain information in order to be considered, including:
- your organisations full name and registration number
- a company profile and capability statement
- whether you propose to subcontract
- the price for each product or service you propose, and an indication of whether these are fixed or variable (e.g. based on exchange rates or consumer price index variations)
- any conditions affecting the price
- delivery details and charges
- a proposed schedule indicating milestones or delivery dates
- whether goods or services are periodic or recurrent
- details of any applicable taxes
- applicable insurances
- intellectual property rights where relevant
- a description of any variations you propose in meeting the conditions of the contract.
Address the selection criteria
Closely follow the criteria in the tender request. Make sure your proposed offer precisely meets the buyer’s needs. Describe the benefits the buyer will receive from your products or services.
Provide specific examples of how you meet the selection criteria rather than simply stating that you do. It is important to highlight your credentials and provide verifiable experience, as well as explaining how your approach to delivering the tender will meet the buyer’s needs. Identify the requirements that are most important to the buyer and cater for this in your tender response.
Choose the right referees
Another key part of delivering a successful tender response is choosing the right referees.
Use referees that know your products or services. Make sure you get permission to use referees before including them in your response. Brief them on the highlights of the request so they can target their comments to the job specifications.
Proofread your tender
Use spell check and, if possible, ask someone outside of the tender development process to read your tender response and give feedback. Ideally, get a professional copy editor or proofreader to carry out this task. If several authors have contributed to different parts of the tender response, ensure that one person reads the entire tender response document for consistency.
Submit your tender in time
Late or incomplete tender responses are usually excluded from consideration barring exceptional, pre-agreed circumstances.
If you are submitting online, do not leave your tender submission until the last minute in case you have computer, internet or network issues. If your tender response is to be posted, make sure you allow time for delays. Consider using ‘same day delivery’ for courier services or hand-delivering your tender response (if allowed).