Tender writing – don’t delay

Tender writing – don’t delay

We are often asked to review a non-price attributes section that has failed to win a contract. ‘Take a look at it,’ the puzzled manager or company owner says, ‘and tell me why it scored so poorly’. ‘Well’, we tell them, ‘you didn’t evidence your statements; you missed out a couple of questions; you didn’t give enough fine detail…’.

Why does this happen? Usually because they ran out of time.

Receiving timely notification of relevant contracts is a core benefit of TenderLink membership, but many business owners and managers still delay starting their response until the deadline is looming - so fail to give it their best shot.

A key rule for tender writers: Don’t delay!

The time to start working on a submission is within 24 hours of receiving TenderLink’s notification.

Read the tender documents and decide if you want to win the contract
First up, read all the documentation thoroughly and decide if this contract is for you. If you opt to proceed, decide now who will work on your response – the price and non-price sections.

Make a timeline for your non-price attributes section
Before you do another thing, make yourself a timeline. Why? Because preparing great tender submissions takes more time that most bidders expect and, if you don’t treat the process as a project with specific deadlines, you’ll be disappointed and frustrated at the result – not to mention stressed, stressed, stressed!

Put your tender response ‘on ice’
Good submissions can be elevated to great submissions by stepping aside from them for a day or so once they seem to be completed – putting it ‘on ice’. Apart from finding typos, spelling mistakes and formating errors, you’ll be amazed at the new ideas and perspectives fresh eyes will bring. Be sure to give yourself ‘ice’ time at the end of the process. It can make all the difference between winning and missing out on a contract.

Evaluators cannot equate high performance with inadequate, unprofessional tender responses. Your chances of winning the contract may be thwarted if you don’t plan your response preparation time wisely.


Many of our clients are directed to Word Sense via TenderLink. TenderLink is the central gateway for tender requests from all levels of government, local authorities and private sector organisations in New Zealand and Australia. We are proud of our TenderLink association and invite you to explore their site.


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