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Bid Writing For Beginners

Bid Writing for Beginners
Bid Writing for Beginners

Bid writing: where to start

Is your business starting to tender for contracts, and are you looking into public sector contracts as a route for growth? Are you asking yourself where do you start with bid writing? Are you spending hours and hours researching and trying to understand if you can win tenders? Are you asking yourself "how can I get experience and '3 references', if I can’t win a tender in the first place?" 

If the answer to any of these is YES, this article is your perfect starting point, as it is focused entirely on bid writing for beginners.

Bid writing for beginners: what is bid writing? 

Bid writing refers to the process of developing a proposal or offer, in order to win a contract or tender. It is quoting - but often a more complex and detailed quote proposal. Bid writing is also called tender writing, tendering, bidding and proposal writing. We are writers on a mission to win business! 

Most businesses have to supply quotes and proposals, so why do you need a bid writer? Bid writing is associated with more complex, strategic and higher value opportunities and tenders. This can increase the formality of the buying or procurement process. As a result and due to the transparency and accountability requirements of public sector tenders; these tenders or business opportunities have developed a structure in which you often first have to pre-qualify, followed by an assessment of your price, but also a 'quality' submission or 'technical envelope', which forms part of an ITT, invitation to tender. It is the competitive nature of these procurement procedures, which requires an individual with a certain set of skills... 

Take a mix of project management, an understanding of procurement, compliance, sales, marketing, technical and persuasive writing; and I give you, a professional bid writer! 

As a bid writing beginner, how do I find tenders? 

Find a Tender & Contract Finder are your key sources for UK public sector opportunities. 

These are sites can be a little complicated but we also have our free software Tender Pipeline, which is easy to use and collates opportunities from these key government tendering sites and a further 8! 

As a starting point, simply type in what you offer. E.g. 'cleaning' and the locations you service (or to keep it broad - UK). You will be presented with live tenders and links to find more information. Or is there a competitor you know who is winning the type of tenders you want to start winning? Great - click on the 'awarded tab', 'advanced search', and in 'winners name is' - simply type their name. You are presented with what contracts they have won and their likely renewal dates! And yes, it's free! 

Tender Pipeline
Easily find live tenders now

We have collated our answers to 51 frequently asked tender questions from bid writing beginners, which will include guidance on whether new businesses can bid, how many references do you need or what policies should be in place in order to get 'tender ready'. 

As a business you will either see an opportunity, or be invited to submit a price and solution to meet a 'buyers' or customers specific requirement.

Found a tender and it looks good? Bid writing process for beginners 

You have found a tender which looks of interest. Next you need to: 

  • Follow the guidance on the tender or contract notice (the advert) usually clicking a link to access a specific procurement portal 
  • As a bid writing beginner, you may have to register on this portal providing basic company information
  • Find the tender in the portal and register or express your interest. This is usually just pressing a button - 'express an interest' 
  • Download and/ or access the tender pack 
  • Read the documents to understand what they are looking for and assess whether you could compete or even qualify for the contract. Often called bid qualification or bid-no-bid, these are the questions you ask yourself before starting to write your tender response
  • Ask any questions you may have via the portal to the buyer. For example, confirming minimum turnover requirements if this is not clear. Please note, the answers will be shared with all bidders
  • Start planning your response, what you need, key dates and who needs to be involved. Tender deadlines are very strict! For those new to bidding, this is often quite an important lesson and ideally one only learned in theory 
  • Start completing the required documents, including selection questionnaires and answering the quality tender questions, ensuring they are good! See below... 
  • Review your draft responses and ideally have someone else read and challenge them
  • Submit the bid in good time. There can be delays and issues out of your control, so please do not leave it till the last minute. 

Bid writing for beginners - how to properly answer the question and maximise your scores 

    Our top bid writing tips for beginners include: 

    • Read the tender pack. Really ensure you fully understand what they require 
    • Follow the instructions word for word. Word count, fonts, deadlines, use of supporting documents - all the good stuff. Your bid needs to be compliant
    • Look for pass/fail questions and make sure you can create a pass. If not, you will fail... If you aren't sure - ask a question
    • Review the evaluation criteria - what will it take to get full quality marks? 
    • Assess the specification or requirements 
    • Start to structure what will be required in order to answer each question and sub question. The structure of the question, is the structure for your answer and will make evaluating the bid far easier
    • Within this answer structure or storyboard, start to add in relevant details such as key areas from the specification which are important to cover, the evaluation criteria as a reminder and what it is about your specific service or solution, which best meets their specific needs (win themes)
    • Consider what evidence you can find to support the statements you put forward in this structure. When writing bids we refer to benefit, feature evidence. This should always be in mind 
    • Start filling in the gaps ensuring you are answering each point of the question 
    • Many procurement people or buyers may not have your technical knowledge, so make you use their terminology but also lead with why it meets their requirements, why it is good for them - the benefit, providing the technical or operational elements in plain English 
    • Keep it bespoke! Generic bids do not win tenders. Think practically, if you were awarded the tender and based on the price you want to submit, how step by step, at a granular level, would you deliver it? Would the location impact things? Who would need to be involved, where would they be based? What other information would you need? By showing you have a highly practical and tailored offer, you will score higher quality marks and win more tenders. 

    We provide further depth and detail within our Bid Writing Ultimate Guide.

    Bid writing quote? - contact us now

    If you are new to bid writing but working on an important tender, please contact us, and we can see how we can best help. We are flexible with our bid writing services. 

    We will review the tender pack, understand your business and provide free advice while we assess if we can help. If we can, we will provide you with a quote. While supportive, we are also very honest. Thornton & Lowe has grown from repeat business and by offering genuine guidance. This means it is part of our role to tell you if a specific tender is high risk. If you win, we win, because you come back for the next opportunity, and also recommend us.

    Whether we can support or not, and highlighting our concerns is part of our bid writing quoting process and is not a service we charge for. It can however, be very useful for bid writing beginners or those new to public sector procurement. 

    Bid writing for beginners course 

    Our bid writing for beginners training course gives practical advice and tips on how to bid and start securing formal contract opportunities. It will save you time by providing you with the required tools, skills and knowledge to exceed, get tender-ready and win tenders for your business. 

    We have several courses, but our bespoke bid writing for beginners course, includes: 

    • 90 minutes 1-2-1 time online with one of our highly-experienced Bid Team
    • Reference and support materials to save you time
    • Plus a writing exercise which we will provide you with feedback on for you to apply on your bids. 



    • Where to find tender opportunities
    • Where to even start looking for suitable bid opportunities that your company could go for.
    • What bids and tenders look like
    • Tenders come in different formats, not always just as word documents or online text boxes.
    • Terminology
    • From SQ to CQs, theres a fair bit of bid specific jargon to get familiar with.
    • Looking at compliance (as an initial bid/no bid
    • Not every bid is right for you and you will need to get over the show stoppers first, so you can spend your time on the right opportunities
    • Policies & procedures
    • Responding to a bid requires more than written answers. We will go through the type of documents you will need to have in place.
    • Writing tips
    • Bid writing is its own style. We’ll provide you with tips and suggestions to get you started and on the path to success.
    • What to write about. Bids require you to provide particular information in your responses. We’ll provide you with some areas to include to help write strong responses
    • How to gain relevant experience. 

    You will need to show you can deliver what the buyer is asking for. We will provide pointers and tips on how you can easily get this valuable experience.

    Bid writers for beginners is suitable for anyone new to bidding and wants to bid successfully for contracts and frameworks.

    Require some help?

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