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Private Sector Tenders

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Feb 22, 2021

Thornton & Lowe specialise in bid writing and bid management and can support businesses through the procurement process. Private sector tenders can be difficult to source and even tougher to win- enlisting the help of experienced professionals such as ourselves is a great way to increase your business’s chances of securing private sector contracts.

What are private sector tenders?

Private sector tenders are tenders that are sent out for bids by privately owned organisations. These types of tenders don’t legally have to be published on Government e-tendering portals like Find a Tender Service and therefore have their own procurement policies that enable them to choose where tenders are advertised and who can bid for them.

Due to the increase in control that private sectors have over their tenders, and the rules being more lenient, certain bidders may find it easier to win bids depending on the organisation. Private sector tenders are often B2B tendering and tend to focus more closely on specific information about the bidders when choosing their bid. This information typically includes:

  • Past relationships with the bidder
  • Efficiency
  • Levels of technology/machinery/equipment they have
  • Previous experience
  • Price

Private sector companies are also concerned with bidders having necessary or advantageous accreditations, just like public tenders. Usually, as they are less regulated, private companies can select bids based on price and past relationships. This could be beneficial for some bidders, but cause trouble for others.

What is the role of private sector tenders?

Private sector tenders allow businesses to gain opportunities away from the usual tendering processes and portals. Private industries tend to deal in a greater selection of goods, products and services that aren’t usually available in the public sector.

How do I find private sector tenders?

Finding private sector tenders is more difficult than finding public sector tenders, as they aren’t required to be published on the Government’s e-tendering portal. Sometimes private sector tenders are advertised on Find a Tender Service, but this isn’t particularly common. These tenders are often found through traditional sales methods or through word-of-mouth from previous procurement and business relationships.

Building relationships with other buyers can allow you to be made aware of private tendering opportunities before others, giving you an important advantage. There are not easy ways in which to find private tenders, so there is often more work required in order to find what you wish to bid on, and even more work that goes into winning them.

If private sector tenders are publicly advertised, then they will appear on e-tendering portals such as Tender Pipeline. It is always worth checking these subsidiary portals to aid your search and help you to find the contracts you are looking for.

Pro’s and con’s of private sector tenders

There are both positives and negatives of private sector tenders, and the key issues that are often associated with these tenders are how well they compare to the public sector.


  • Less rigorous procedures as they are not regulated by Government
  • Good relationships with private companies are favoured
  • Lack of advertising can reduce the competition for some tenders
  • Opportunities in different fields of work that aren’t usually available publically
  • More freedom in regards to bid proposal and document design


  • Less private sector tender opportunities than public
  • Private companies are not obligated to offer equal chances to bidders
  • Private companies don’t have to provide feedback to unsuccessful bidders
  • The standardized questionnaire set out by the Government to aid the procurement process is not required to be used in private tendering

Private sector tenders are more difficult to find and win than public sector tenders, but they can often offer so much more for the bidder. If you are interested in searching and bidding for private sector tenders, enlisting the help of experienced professionals, such as ourselves, is vital.

Public versus private sector tenders

There are many differences between public and private sector tenders. Some of the most notable differences include:

  • Private sector tenders do not legally have to be published on Find a Tender Service (FTS), whereas public tenders over the procurement thresholds do.

  • Private tenders don’t have to follow the procurement principles set out by the World Trade Organisation, public tenders do.

  • There is no obligation for private companies to provide feedback to bidders, whereas public tenders are expected to inform bidders of their reasons for their choices.

  • Public sector tenders are advertised on FTS and on subsidiary platforms such as Tender Pipeline, whereas private tenders are not always available on these portals.

We can help to support businesses through both the public and private sector tendering process. No matter what the contract, a bid proposal has to be strong and showcase your skills and suitability to the job - even more so in the niche private sector.

How to win private sector tenders

To win private sector tenders, a lot of thought has to be put into the bid writing process. The tender document needs to be thoroughly understood and your bid needs to be tailored specifically to the details it mentions. Emphasising why you deserve the contract is crucial, especially in private sector tenders whereby money is often the biggest deciding factor. If you aren’t in the position to compete with funds, your bid writing needs to be strong.

Researching the company you are bidding to work for is important and can help you to tailor your bid to reflect their values. Referencing your past work is a great way of attracting private companies- discussing how you have worked with similar companies and having positive feedback could set you apart from the rest of the bidders, including those who may beat you in funding.

Winning private sector tenders can be tough, but following these main points can help you to secure the contracts that you want:

  • Highlight all of your accreditations and positive past experiences.
  • Make your bid stand out with a focus on what you have to offer, such as equipment, machinery and technology.
  • Emphasise your work ethic and reference their values to show that you would make a good partner.
  • Bid for tenders that you have a realistic chance of winning to avoid wasting time and money.

The most important element of writing bids for private sector tenders, is to involve the right people who can provide you with a successful service that can help you to win more contracts. If you’d like more information on bid writing and winning tenders, you can look at our bid writing guide or get in touch with us to discuss our services here.

Bid Design

With private sector tenders being less regulated than public tenders, you can often have total freedom in regards to the format and layout of your bid document and proposal. You are not restrained by font size or word count, and can use this to your advantage. This means that your business really has the chance to stand out through both demonstrating why your solution is best and by highlighting your professional approach and brand.

Thornton & Lowe can help you to design your bids to give you the best chance of winning private contracts. You can read about our bid design services here. Some of the key elements that are often required in a private bid document are:

  • Front page
  • Covering letter
  • Contents page
  • Exec Summary
  • Understanding your needs
  • Your solution
  • Account management team
  • Experience, accreditations and performance
  • Price

Winning private sector tenders with Thornton & Lowe

Private sector procurement can be difficult and can present far more challenges than public sector tenders do. Finding private sector tenders, researching the company and writing a successful bid is a tough process that requires you to be completely committed.

Thornton & Lowe can help businesses win all types of tenders through our process that includes the tender pitch and the proposal. There may be a private sector contract opportunity available that you still need to develop a proposal document for, just like you would in the public sector. We can have involvement in this process with anything from reviewing and assessing your bid writing, training you and your team to write bids effectively, or to aid you completely in the writing of the bid.

There are plenty of brilliant opportunities within the private sector and securing these contracts can be crucial for some businesses. If you want to maximise your chances of winning private sector contracts, contacting our team is the best option for you. We will help you to secure those difficult yet worthy, private sector tenders.

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