How to bid for government contracts

Key points in this article

  • Planning your tender
  • Researching your bid
  • Preparing your pitch

Register to tender

The first step is to register with the Australian Government tender system. When opportunities come up to tender for government agencies your business will be ready to go through the process and put its name in the hat.

Once you’re registered, you’ll get notifications via email of any opportunities of interest that come up as they’re published on the site.

Understand, analyse and plan

To successfully compete for government work you need to:

  • Understand your customer – in this case it will be a government agency or department so be aware of how they work, what they’re looking for, and their decision making process.
  • Analyse the opportunities – only the ones where your business is an expert.
  • Plan each tender – go over the tender documents as soon as you decide that your business will make a bid. Attend any pre-tender briefing sessions and ask for explanations on any points you’re unsure about. You need to determine if you can complete the tender on time.

There are hundreds of people across Australia making buying decisions on behalf of the Australian Government, so it’s worth investing time to find out about the specific business needs of different agencies.

Planning will be a significant part of your tender bids so take enough time to be successful

Form a strategic partnership

If the job is taking place in a different state to the one your business is in, it’s sometimes worth forming strategic partnerships with businesses in that state. You’d need to outline in the tender how you intend to fulfil the job and how the partnership will work.

For example, a highly successful rail company won a bid to design, manufacture and maintain new trains for Sydney thanks to the help of an external marketing team that worked on two and a half years of submissions.

Research the bidding process

It’s really important to make sure you find out the steps you’ll need to take, and how key decisions are made. So keep in mind:

  • The bid deadlines – there may be more than one for different aspects of the bid.
  • The decision maker(s) – who’s responsible for deciding whether you get the green light?
  • The key details – make sure you’re aware of what the job itself entails, so that your bid can outline how you have the experience and ability to fulfil it.

It’s important to decide who will be responsible for gathering any information on the bid

Commit to the process

After you’ve registered and have decided on the right tender to bid for, you’ll need to knuckle down and get the pre-tender work done and commit to the process, which could take some time.

Build a body of work

Many government agencies think of past performance as a vital indicator of potential success. Aim to get your foot in the door by working on smaller contracts to build your credibility.

Prepare your pitch

It’s easy to get lost in the bidding process without being totally prepared for pitching your bid to the best of your ability.

Develop a plan for how you’ll pitch your bid when the time comes. Some of the actions you’ll need to take include:

  • Prepare to pitch to the right audience – this is where building a relationship with the government workers will prove invaluable.  Understand your audience and what they expect, and bid accordingly.
  • Responding to each clause – go through the government contract and document each clause that requires a response. Be careful not to miss any responses or your whole bid might become ineligible.Top of Form

If you’ve planned out your pitch well, you’ll give your business the best chance to win the contract

Next steps

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