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Tender Writing: Everything You Need to Consider

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Apr 16, 2024

Tender writing is an increasingly crucial aspect of the business world, as it involves the preparation and submission of proposals to secure contracts or projects. It requires careful consideration and attention to detail to ensure that your bid stands out amongst the competition.

This detailed article is based on the questions we have been asked over the last 14 years, by both clients looking for tender writing services, and candidates starting or looking to develop their career as a professional tender writing consultant.

In addition to this article, we also have an equally detailed Guide to Bid Writing, which offers specific insight into working within procurement requirements to effectively respond to a tender.

What is tender writing?

Tender writing refers to the process of preparing and submitting proposals or bids in response to a formal request for products or services from an organisation or government body. This formal request is often referred to as a "tender," and the entire process is known as "tendering" or "bidding."

The purpose of tender writing is to competitively bid for contracts or projects by presenting a comprehensive and persuasive proposal that meets the requirements outlined in the tender document or from a more informal brief or Invitation to Quote (ITQ). For formal tenders the process typically involves the following key steps:

  • Businesses identify opportunities by monitoring tender notices, requests for proposals (RFPs), or invitations to tender (ITTs) from potential clients, government agencies, or organisations seeking specific products or services. For UK public sector tenders the key government tender alerts sites are Contracts Finder and Finder A Tender. Our free software Tender Pipeline, collates this information, along with a further 7 UK sources to provide a tailored alert and competitor intelligence tool. Depending on the structure of your business, opportunity identification and monitoring may also be the responsibility of a tender writer, however, often part of a Tender or Bid Administrator or Coordinator role. At Thornton & Lowe we have a dedicated team responsible for bid and tender research who provide our clients with a consistent and highly tailored service. This is via our Bid Administration Service (BAS) or Search & Selection (S&S), depending on our clients budget and requirements.
  • Once a relevant tender opportunity is identified, businesses conduct thorough research to understand the client's needs, project scope, evaluation criteria, and submission requirements. This information is used to plan the tender response. This preparation and coordinator if often the role of a tender writer or manager.
  • Tender writers or bid teams create a detailed proposal, tender response or bid, that addresses all the requirements outlined in the tender document. The proposal typically includes information about the company's qualifications, experience, approach to the project, pricing, and any other specifications requested. The tender writer will work with the wider team, subject matter experts, surveyors, HR and contract managers in order to collate the key facts and details required in order for the tender writer to then analyse this content, alongside the buyers requirements, wider market and competitor intelligence in order to produce a draft bid or tender response.
  • Before submission, the tender response undergoes a rigorous compliance check to ensure that it meets all the specified requirements. This includes verifying that all necessary documentation, certifications, and information are included. A tender writer will often provide a compliance check as part of their procedures and bidding checklist, however, a second opinion or fresh set of eyes can help challenge and add value. Quite often Thornton & Lowe are sent a draft bid produced by our client in order to provide advice and guidance on how the bid could be improved. Our highly experienced tender writing consultants, check for compliance but also win themes and wider areas of improvement.
  • The completed tender response is submitted to the client or organisation before the specified deadline. Submissions are often required to be in a specific format and may include both electronic and hard-copy components. This may also be the role of a tender writer. As tender writing consultants we support our clients to submit their bid, however ask this is a collaborative exercise.
  • The buyer evaluates all submitted tenders based on predetermined criteria. The winning bid is selected, and the successful bidder is awarded the contract or project. The tender writer is often the central coordinator who will likely receive a notification via a portal that a bid decision has been made.

Companies often engage professional tender writers or consultants to enhance their chances of submitting successful and competitive bids. This is the service we offer at Thornton & Lowe, focused specially on helping SME businesses win UK public sector contracts.

Can I outsource tender writing?

Yes, you can definitely outsource tender writing. In fact, many businesses are increasingly embracing this approach due to the numerous benefits that come with it. Engaging a professional tender writing service can ensure that your bids are comprehensive, persuasive, and tailored to meet the specific requirements of the request for proposal (RFP), but available as and when required.

Tender writing is a specialised skill that demands an understanding of the procurement process, sales process, extensive research abilities, and strong writing skills. Not all businesses have these capabilities in-house and it is often added onto another teams remit, such as sales or marketing. However, usually after losing several key tenders there is an assessment of how they can better manage tenders and bids. For many this leads to outsourcing tender writing. Thornton & Lowe are seasoned experts in tender writing, procurement and supply chain and we have been offering a bid partnership programme for our clients for over 8 years now. Allowing our clients to benefit from an expert, consistent and scalable team, who are available on demand. This programme is our Bid Success Programme which form part of our bid and tender writing services. Outsourced tender writing services can not only help you save time and resources but also increase your chances of winning the bid.

Moreover, an experienced tender writer can bring an objective perspective to your bid. They can critically evaluate your proposal from the buyer's standpoint and identify any potential weaknesses or gaps. They can also help you articulate your unique selling proposition (USP) more effectively and highlight why your product or service is the best fit for the buyer's needs.

Outsourcing tender writing also allows you to focus on your core business activities. Tendering can be a time-consuming process that diverts your attention from other crucial aspects of your business. By delegating this task to an external tender writing expert, you can ensure that your bid is being professionally managed while you concentrate on running your business.

However, like any outsourcing decision, it's important to choose the right service provider. A good tender writing service should have a proven track record of consistent delivery, success, understand your industry, and be able to work closely with you to develop a winning bid. They should also be able to keep up with tendering trends and regulatory changes to ensure that your bid is compliant and competitive. With a growing number of tender writing consultancy options available, we have found that we have continued to retain our customers and grow as a result of our consistent, reliable and high performing team that offer clients a low risk, tried and tested solution. Take a look at our testimonials. Or our external reviews via google or

How can I best use tender writing services to maximise my win rates?

Maximising win rates when using tender writing services involves a strategic approach and collaboration with the service provider. By having an open and honest conversation about your challenges with an outsourced tender writing consultancy, they will be able to tailor the service they offer you in order to maximise your bid win rates.

As noted above, you of course have to select the right tender writing consultancy who will tailor their services based on your needs and be able to meet or exceed your expectations. For example, if you have an existing team or tender writer already in-house, we may propose our value is in training and review and developing your bids and wider bidding strategy and procedures. The aim being we maximise your win rates and return on investment based on your tender activity. Or if we review recent submissions produced by your tender writer and believe they are high quality, it might be opportunity selection or wider bid strategy is required more than additional writing, in order to maximise your performance.

If you engage a consultant tender writing services business on a live tender, with the aim of them adding value and increasing the quality marks of your submission, you can get the best from them by ensuring clearly communicating your goals, expectations, and specific requirements to the tender writing service. Provide them with all the necessary information about your company, project, and the tender itself in a timely manner. While you are outsourcing the tender writing and often management of the tender response, they will still need to work closely with you team, so ensuring availability will also allow you to maximise success as a result of the engagement.

Ensure that the tender writing service thoroughly understands any wider information and background to the tender. For example, if you are the incumbent supplier, by providing all challenges of the contract to date will allow the tender consultancy to make these part of your proposal.

Outsourced tenders writing consultants can also help you highlight your strengths and unique selling points – so be ready to talk about your business! A tender writing service should focus on showcasing positive aspects to differentiate your proposal from competitors, while ensure plans for perceived weaknesses are in place, where required.

When using a tender writing service, giving the consultants notice and reasonable timescales will also help maximise your results and overall ROI. Rushed submissions may compromise the quality of the proposal and decrease your chances of success. From an outsourced tender writing consultants perspective, being provided with a large and complex bid, by a new client and a tight deadline, will impact your win rates. Our tender writing consultants will of course do everything possible.

To further maximise your bidding win rates, it is important to share your tender feedback and performance with your tender writing consultants. This post-submission tender review or debrief session enables both parties to identify areas of improvement. At Thornton & Lowe, we push all our clients to have a post tender debrief with their lead tender writer, in order to create a loop of continuous improvement but also to allow us to advise our clients, using our procurement knowledge, on whether the process seems fair and whether they should ask for further clarity of even challenge the decision and process.

Remember, collaboration and clear communication are key to a successful partnership with tender writing services. By working closely with the provider and providing them with the necessary information, you can increase your chances of winning tenders.

How can I find tender writing companies or freelance tender writers?

You’ve found us! 01204 238 046 or email to speak to one of our tender writing experts.

You will of course also find other tender writing companies or freelance tender writers via:

  • Search engines to look for tender writing companies or freelance tender writers. Use keywords such as "tender writing services," "proposal writers," or "bid writers" along with your industry or location.
  • Asking around and speaking to your business contracts and suppliers. Ask for recommendations from colleagues or industry contacts who may have experience working with tender writers. Linkedin can be a great tool for this.

When evaluating potential tender writers or companies, consider their experience, expertise in your industry, track record of successful bids, and client testimonials. Additionally, discuss your specific requirements, timeline, and expectations to ensure a good fit for collaboration. It is important you can get on with team and they show a willingness to find out more about your business.

Thornton & Lowe employ a dedicated and consistent team of tender writing consultants, supported by a proven and trusted network of freelance professional who work within our quality management framework. Our team largely works remotely, from our offices and a mix of hybrid working. For customers who require tender writers to be based onsite and working from their offices, we have a large database of freelance tender writers, bid managers and proposal management consultants who work on this basis. Via Bid Resource, which is our bid and tender recruitment division can supply freelance tender writers on a day rate basis to work from your offices. This is usually for larger and high value projects and rarely the solution for SMEs or those who have a smaller budget.

What is the cost of tender writing services?

The cost of tender writing services can vary widely based on several factors, including the complexity of the tender, the industry, the number of quality questions or sections to respond to, the experience and expertise of the tender writer or writing service, and the scope of services provided. Here are some key considerations that can influence the cost:

  • Complexity of the tender can significantly impact the cost. More complex tenders with detailed requirements, technical specifications, and extensive documentation may require more time and effort to prepare, leading to a higher cost.
  • The scope of services offered by the tender writing provider can vary. Some may offer end-to-end services, including research, content creation, and quality assurance, while others may focus on specific aspects. The more comprehensive the services, the higher the cost may be.
  • Level of experience and expertise of the tender writer or writing service can influence pricing. Highly experienced professionals or tender writing firms with a proven track record in successful tender submissions may charge higher fees.
  • Industry in which your business operates can impact pricing. Some industries, such as construction or technology, may require specialised knowledge and experience, affecting the cost of tender writing services. Your industry may also dictate the level of bid which is required; how much time you need to invest in order to compete. This is often also linked to the value of tender opportunity.
  • Tight deadlines and urgent tender submissions may result in higher costs, as the tender writing service may need to allocate additional resources to meet the accelerated timeline, including weekend and evening cover. Even with urgent tender deadlines we provide a fixed fee however and depending on the time available, our tender writing services may be limited in scope, or may have a reduce number of bid reviews, for example.
  • The number of reviews or level of management input required may also increase the costs. Some providers may offer multiple rounds of revisions to ensure the final proposal meets your expectations and adheres to the tender requirements.
  • Tender Pricing may also vary based on the geographic location of the tender writing service, especially when you are looking for a freelance tender writer based at your office, in London, for example. Rates may differ between countries or regions, reflecting differences in the cost of living and business operating expenses.
  • The type of tender, government or private sector, may influence pricing. Government tenders often have specific requirements and compliance standards, which may impact the cost of preparing the proposal due to the increased time required. There is often more scope for bid design services in private sector tender submissions and executive summaries, for example, as additional elements.
  • Some tender writing services may offer additional services, such as bid research, competitor analysis, or post-submission support. These additional services can contribute to the overall cost.

It's essential to discuss your specific requirements with potential tender writing providers and obtain detailed quotes. Compare the services offered, the level of expertise, and the overall value provided to make an informed decision based on your budget and needs. Keep in mind that investing in quality tender writing services can improve your chances of winning lucrative contracts.

At Thornton & Lowe we are more than happy to discuss your requirements and provide tailored options to best support your business, aspirations, structure and budget.

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Are tender management consultancies, providing more than those offering tender bid writing services?

A more difficult question which really does depend on how the tender writing services business position and describe themselves in the market.

Businesses providing tender management consultancy may offer a broader range of services compared to those offering only tender bid writing services. Tender management consultancies may often encompass a comprehensive approach to the entire tendering process, addressing various aspects beyond the actual writing of the bid.

Tender management consultancies are more likely to oversee, coordinate and take responsibility for the entire bid process, from opportunity identification to submission. This can include project planning, coordination, and monitoring to ensure deadlines are met and the bid aligns with the client's objectives. We have recently produced a specific article on bid management and managing your bids and tender responses. This is often referred to as Bid Planning.

In addition to tender writing services, a tender management consultancy may also offer bid strategy, market research, competitor analysis and bid and tender training and workshops.

While businesses offering tender bid writing services focus primarily on crafting the proposal, tender management consultancies may take a more holistic approach to help clients navigate the entire tendering process strategically. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs, resources, and the level of support you require for successful tender submissions. As a tender writing and management consultancy, Thornton & Lowe offers both level of support, as well as tender support partnerships, working as your outsourced bid and tender team.

At Thornton & Lowe we are a bid and tender writing consultancy but with 70% of our capacity focused on helping our clients respond to live tenders. The remaining 30% of our time on strategy, research and tender writing training.

What value do professional tender writers offer to my business?

Professional tender writers can offer significant value to your business. A good tender writing expert can help you not only respond to a specific tender, maximising your quality scores, but also help you source framework opportunities and help you understand the requirements of government tenders.

Professional tender writers are well-versed in the intricacies of the tendering process. They understand how to navigate the complexities of requests for proposals (RFPs), invitations to tender (ITTs), and other bidding documents. This will save you time and add real value to your bidding strategy.

Ensuring compliance is another role for those providing tender writing services. This often lover looked step is crucial for a successful bid. Professional tender writers are skilled in conducting thorough compliance checks, minimising the risk of disqualification due to oversights or errors.

As a tender writing consultancy, Thornton & Lowe, advises clients on key tenders, contracts and frameworks which could significantly help your business grow. Being able to develop a tender pipeline to understand what is coming up, identify competitor’s contracts and renewal dates can also provide a focus for your sales and business development function.

And a skilled tender writer should of course, also improve your chances of winning contracts. They know how to craft compelling proposals that effectively communicate your strengths, capabilities, and value proposition, making your bid stand out from the competition.

What is the best way to grow my business with tender writing consultant?

Many organisations decide to focus on their core business and outsource wider functions and tender writing is no different. Growing your business with outsourced tender writing consultant can be far more cost effective and with a higher return on investment compared to recruiting directly, especially if you only need one or two in your tender writing team. Working together requires collaboration and leveraging our expertise to enhance your success.

When working with a tender writing consultant on your business growth, we recommend:

  • Working closely with your tender writing consultant to identify strategic opportunities aligned with your business goals. Focus on tenders that match your expertise, capabilities, and long-term objectives. Thornton & Lowe develop a pipeline of upcoming tenders and frameworks, which our clients can then prepare for.
  • ‘Bid less, win more’ is often the bid strategy that we encourage. Tailoring your tendering strategy to maximise your return on investment. Prioritising tenders where your unique strengths can be highlighted, increasing the chances of success. This is not always possible or part of our clients bid strategy, however, for many clients, especially those with smaller budgets or who are new to tender writing this approach can be crucial.
  • Where possible provide the tender writing consultant with a comprehensive briefing that includes information about your company, key differentiators, past successes, and specific goals for the tender. Transparency is the key. Clear communication ensures a more targeted and effective proposal. At Thornton & Lowe we have proven structure to collect our clients information and to get ‘under the skin’ of their business in order to become part of their work winning solution, an extension of their team. For many of our clients our tender writing team have been there consistently supporting growth for 10 years plus!
  • While we do start working with clients often on a single and live tender, a long-term partnership with a tender writing consultant will create more success. The more they understand your business, the better they can tailor proposals to align with your overall growth strategy.
  • Encourage continuous improvement in the tendering process. Regularly review and analyse feedback from unsuccessful bids, incorporating lessons learned into future submissions. We challenge ourselves but also like to be challenged by our clients; working together we will produce the very best result.
  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your tendering efforts. We report on both time taken and win rates for our clients. Regularly evaluate the tender writing consultant's impact on your win rates, revenue growth, and overall business development is important.

By integrating the expertise of a tender writing consultant into your business strategy, you can not only improve your success in individual tenders but also create a sustainable approach to business growth through strategic tendering. At Thornton & Lowe, we have grown alongside our clients and now employ a team of 45 of high performing and consistent team members offering tender writing services.

I need a professional tender writer to bid for a public sector contract, can you help?

Yes this is exactly what our tender writing services include. If you're looking for a professional tender writer to bid for a public sector contract, then look no further.

Contact us now to discuss your bidding and tendering needs.

Is there a lot of demand for freelance tender writers or tender writing consultants?

Yes, there is a demand for freelance tender writers and tender writing consultants. It is a growing industry due to increasing requirements from both public and private sector buyers.

We see higher demand for tender writing services in certain sector, especially linked to complex services. Many businesses, especially smaller ones, may lack in-house expertise and seek the assistance of freelance writers or consultants. However, the demand for tender writing expertise spans various industries, including construction, technology, healthcare, and government. As businesses in diverse sectors participate in tender processes, there is a need for writers who can adapt to different requirements.

Even businesses with their own tender writing team might experience temporary peaks in their workload when multiple tenders need to be prepared simultaneously. Hiring freelance tender writers allows them to manage these surges in demand effectively, especially if they can work with the same consistent team, which is at the heart of our offer.

Freelance tender writers or consultants can also offer cost-effective solutions for businesses, especially when compared to maintaining a full-time, in-house tender writing team. This flexibility makes it appealing for businesses with varying tendering needs.

While there is demand, success in this field also depends on building a reputation for delivering quality work, networking with potential clients, and staying informed about industry trends and tendering processes.

What tender writing services are available for my business?

There are various tender writing services available to assist businesses in preparing and submitting competitive proposals. The specific services offered may vary among providers, but common offerings include:

  • Full-Service outsourced tender writing, providing comprehensive assistance with the entire tendering process, from initial research and strategy development to drafting and submitting the proposal. This may include compliance checks, review processes, and post-submission support.
  • Tender writing and assistance with drafting and editing the proposal to ensure it is clear, compelling, and meets all the requirements outlined in the tender document.
  • Tender compliance checks or bid reviews which evaluates the draft tender submission to ensure it complies with all the specified requirements, including formatting, documentation, and adherence to guidelines. In addition to this, Thornton & Lowe provides, ‘bid review & comment’ to provide your team direction on how to improve your tender responses. Or tender ‘review and improve’ which usually involves us taking your first draft and working on it to completion.
  • Bid training and tender writing workshops, providing training programs or workshops to educate businesses on effective tendering practices. This may include building in-house capabilities for future tender submissions.

When seeking tender writing services for your business, it's important to communicate your specific needs and requirements to the service provider. This will help ensure that the services are tailored to meet your objectives and increase your chances of success in the tendering process.

Is tender writing the same as bid writing?

Yes, in the context of procurement and business proposals, the terms "tender writing" and "bid writing" are often used interchangeably. Both refer to the process of preparing and submitting proposals or bids in response to formal requests for products or services from organisations or government bodies.

We tend to find smaller clients of ours, SMEs, call our services ‘tender writing’, compared to some of our larger clients who more frequently and in comparison call our services, outsourced bid writing.

Essentially, whether you refer to it as "tender writing" or "bid writing," the core process involves crafting a comprehensive and persuasive proposal that addresses the requirements outlined in the tender or bid document. This includes providing information about your company, demonstrating your qualifications, outlining your proposed solution, and addressing any specific criteria set by the client.

Do you have any top tender writing tips to win more contracts?

Via our blog, and website as a whole, we have sector specific tender writing tips, such as how to win maintenance tenders and domiciliary care frameworks, to focused advice based on buyer type, such as how to find and win local council tenders. We also have a section purely focused on public sector framework agreements and how they can help your business grow.

However, in summary here are 4 tender writing tips:

  1. Read the tender pack. Really read it. No shortcuts I’m afraid but make time to understand their specific needs and consider what the ideal solution would be for them.
  2. If you are provided within specific tender questions, ensure you fully understand the evaluation criteria for each. Use the question and sub-questions as your headings and your tender response structure to ensure you fully answer everything they ask.
  3. Make your answers about the buyer and based on your client's requirements. Your answers should be very specific and practical.
  4. Build time into the process to give you and others a chance to review and provide feedback on your responses. It is important you get a chance to re-read the tender pack (yes, I’m afraid so) and make sure you have covered all relevant points in the questions which relate to the specific question.

No rocket science here, but for those who are unhappy with their tender writing performance, these brief tender writing tips could make a significant impact.

For more tender writing tips and how to win public sector contracts:

How can tender writing companies know how to write about my business?

90% of the tender writing support is to repeat customers. The first tender is often the most difficult as we get to understand your business and build relationships. However, over the last 15 years we have developed efficient ways to get under the skin of the business, as quickly as possible, to ease the pressure on your team.

In summary, in order to be able to write about your business, we need to quickly understand it in relation to the tender. We review what you share with us and provide a gap analysis highlighting what further information we need. We then discuss how and when we can get this information, for example, we may have to interview many of your team. We then share multiple pre-agreed drafts which gives your team a chance to reflect, challenge and clarify. We discuss and action and changes and package the bid ready for submission. The more we do this for the same client the more efficient we get.

Prior to confirming a quote for tender writing services with a new client we will have already read the tender documents you have shared and asked you clarification questions based on pass/fail questions, for example. In order to see if and how we can best help. We do not charge a fee for this as we are only seeing if we can help.

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Can I outsource tender writing services required to bid for government tenders?

Yes, you can absolutely outsource tender writing services to bid for government tenders. Many businesses, both large and small, choose to outsource their tender writing needs to professional firms or consultants specialising in this field.

Businesses do this because often they do not have in-house capacity nor tender writing expertise.

We have been providing outsourced tender writing services helping our clients win government tenders for 15 years. While we do work with some clients who only bid for private sector tenders, our specialist focus is winning government tenders with the UK public sector.

How will a professional tender writer improve by written quality score?

A professional tender writer can significantly improve the written quality score of a proposal. Through a mix of experience, process and expertise, a tender writing expert can interview you and your team, collate key facts about your business and your specific solution, and return a highly polished and bespoke response which really can make all the difference.

A professional tender writer will be able to challenge your ‘typical tender responses’, ask for clarity, ensure the benefits to the customer are clear and minimise any potential or perceived risks associated with your solution. They will have been involved in many other tenders, understand procurement and the expectations of an evaluation team. We continually refine and develop our approach based on working on over 500 tenders each year! We monitor feedback closely and share best practice across our tender writing team.

Our team also work together; we do not provide the single perspective of a freelance tender writing consultant, but the combined experience and insight from across our team, which includes both procurement and commercial insight and experience.

A professional tender writer can significantly improve the written quality score of a proposal, making it more competitive and increasing the chances of success in the tendering process. Having a dedicated tender writing resource also ensures you can commit the required time to the project, which is another important aspect when considering you are competing with others to be the best. It requires more time and expertise.

Can tender writing companies help with my social value responses?

Yes, many tender writing companies offer assistance with social value responses as part of their comprehensive tender writing services. Social value has become an increasingly important aspect of public procurement, and many organisations, including government agencies, seek suppliers and contractors who can demonstrate their commitment to creating positive social impacts. For public sector contracts specifically, the National TOMS, can provide a framework to help organisations both better understand social value requirements and report on them.

As tender writing experts, At Thornton & Lowe we write:

  • Social value tender responses
  • Social value strategies; and
  • Social value procedures to ensure our clients can monitor and report on their social value commitments.

When engaging with a tender writing service, be sure to communicate your existing social value and CSR initiatives, values, and desired outcomes, so the writing team can tailor their responses to reflect your unique commitment to social value. Our team of tender writing professionals will guide you throughout the process.

Do tender writing services include pricing the tender?

Rarely. At Thornton & Lowe we do not price our clients bids. Pricing is of course a critical component of a tender submission, and professional tender writers often collaborate with businesses to ensure they understand it as it can provide insight into the bid solution, but rarely would a tender writing consultant price projects. Tender pricing is important but most of our clients want to improve their quality scores.

Effective collaboration between the tender writing service and the client results in a well-rounded tender submission that addresses both qualitative and quantitative aspects, ultimately increasing the chances of success in the tendering process.

Do you require a different approach when responding to a private sector contract opportunity compared to tender writing for a public tender bid?

Yes, responding to a private sector contract opportunity often requires a different approach compared to tender writing for a public tender bid. While both processes involve preparing competitive proposals to secure contracts, the nature of the clients, expectations, and procurement procedures can differ significantly. Our article ‘Private Sector Tenders’ includes a specific section on public versus private sector tenders.

We find more private sector organisations are starting to use many of the systems and procedures from their public sector counterparts, however, both are so large and have many differences even within them.

  • Typically speaking there is often far more flexibility with private sector tenders in both the process and requirements. For example, a request for proposal could be requested simply from a conversation and a verbally described brief, which would rarely happy in the public sector.
  • Private sector tenders may allow for more customisation. We will often include an executive summary for larger private sector bids, which we would not do for public sector tenders, unless specifically requested to do so (which is very rare). Tailor your proposal to showcase how your solution can be adapted to meet the client's unique requirements and preferences. In comparison, with a public sector tender response, compliance can be critical. Public sector tenders are subject to strict procurement regulations and guidelines. Ensure strict adherence to all requirements, including formatting, documentation, and submission procedures, to avoid disqualification.
  • Private sector procurement processes may be faster compared to public tenders. Be prepared for a potentially quicker decision-making, compared to 2 months as a minimum really in the public sector.
  • Public tenders may include more requirements related to social value, sustainability, or corporate social responsibility.
  • Public sector clients often require detailed documentation and reporting. Be prepared to provide comprehensive information, and highlight any reporting mechanisms or systems that ensure accountability and transparency.

Can a tender writing consultant help to win places on framework agreements?

Yes, a tender writing consultant can play a crucial role in helping businesses win places on framework agreements. Framework agreements are long-term procurement arrangements that establish the terms and conditions under which specific goods, services, or works will be purchased over a defined period. Winning a place on a framework agreement can be competitive, and effective tender writing is essential. We have a full ‘guide to public sector procurement frameworks’.

As tender writing consultants we will help our clients find the right frameworks for their business, prepare for them and then submit a tender. There are now thousands of public sector frameworks, so being selective is important. Some are easier to get on than others so it is important you carefully evaluate the best route based on the specifics of your business.

Engaging a tender writing consultant for framework agreements is particularly valuable given the strategic nature of these arrangements. Our expertise in crafting persuasive and compliant proposals enhances your chances of securing a position on the framework, which can lead to a steady stream of business opportunities over the agreement's duration.

Is the need for tender writing companies or bid management consultancy increasing?

Yes, and this is due to:

  • The growing complexity of tenders.
  • Increased competition and higher expectations means more investment is required to win bids consistently.
  • A greater focus on compliance. Tender writing companies help ensure that bids meet compliance requirements, reducing the risk of disqualification.
  • Social value knowledge being required, which is something tender writing companies assist with.
  • Increased procurement excellence and knowledge.

It's important to note that the demand for tender writing and bid management services can be influenced by economic conditions, regulatory changes, and shifts in procurement practices. As businesses continue to recognise the strategic importance of effective tendering, the need for specialised assistance in this area is likely to persist and evolve.

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Can I just write my own tender response?

Yes, you can certainly write your own tender response. Many businesses, especially smaller ones, choose to handle the tender writing process internally. Writing your own tender response allows you to have direct control over the content, ensures a deep understanding of your business, and can save costs associated with hiring external services.

We provide tender writing tips throughout this article, as well as across our blog as a whole. We also offer bid and tender writing training so you can further improve your skills and win rates when tendering.

One of our tender writing services is to review and provide feedback on how you can improve your bid. This means you benefit from writing the response yourself, but also from our tender writing expertise.

While writing your own tender response is a viable option, it's important to acknowledge that the process can be time-consuming. If you have the internal expertise and resources, writing your own response can be a cost-effective solution. However, if you find the process challenging or if the tender is particularly complex, seeking external assistance from tender writing professionals may be a consideration.

Can your tender writing consultancy work on the quality questions, if I focus on pricing the job?

This is exactly what we do. Beyond this, we can also support only a specific number of tender questions, or simply review one which you not have not answered before.

Our tender writing consultancy offers flexible services, allowing our clients to tailor their engagement based on their specific needs. If you want to focus on pricing the job while seeking assistance with the quality questions, you can discuss a customised arrangement with one of our tender writing consultants now!

I only need extra tender writing capacity or a tender consultant when my in-house team are too busy, can you help?

For many of our clients, we are their tender writing surge capacity. Engaging external tender writing capacity or consultants when your in-house team is too busy is a common and practical approach. This allows you to manage workload fluctuations, meet tight deadlines, and ensure the quality of your tender submissions even during peak periods.

Most of our clients would like a consistent tender writing or bid writing team who is available on demand. Our tender writing consultancy is structured around this; a high-performing and consistent tender writing team, available on request.

This can be very useful, especially when facing tight deadlines. Our tender writing consultants are accustomed to working within time constraints and can efficiently contribute to meeting submission deadlines while still pushing for the highest quality.

Will I work with the same tender writer for each new project?

With Thornton & Lowe, wherever possible, you will work with the same lead tender writer. They are supported by their sub-team for continuity but our aim is that you will always work with the same consistent tender writers.

What happens if we use your tender writing services but lose the bid?

If you use our tender writing services and, unfortunately, do not win the bid, it's essential to understand that the outcome of a tender process can be influenced by various factors beyond the quality of the tender response. While we strive to create compelling and competitive proposals, the final decision often depends on a combination of factors, including pricing, competition, client preferences, and external market conditions.

If you engage our tender writing services and do not win the bid we conduct a post-bid review to analyse the feedback provided by the client, if available. This review helps identify areas for improvement, understand the client's priorities, and gather insights that can be valuable for future bids. We view each bid as an opportunity for continuous improvement. Feedback from unsuccessful bids is used to enhance our approach, refine strategies, and strengthen future tender responses. This iterative process contributes to improving the competitiveness of your bids over time. Based on the post-bid review and feedback, we collaborate with you to develop a strategic plan for future bids. This may involve adjusting the approach, emphasising specific strengths, or targeting different types of opportunities to maximise success.

Our commitment to your success extends beyond individual bids. We strive to build an ongoing partnership, working collaboratively to enhance your overall tendering capabilities and increase your success rate over time.

It's important to note that the tendering process is competitive, and not every bid results in a win. However, our focus is on providing value beyond individual bid outcomes by leveraging each experience to strengthen your future bids. Our goal is to help you continuously improve your tendering strategies and increase your chances of success in the long term.

We have produced a first draft of our proposal, can one of your tender writers or manager review it to help us improve the quality bid scores?

Certainly, we understand the importance of producing a high-quality proposal to maximise bid scores. We offer a comprehensive bid review service where one of our experienced tender writers or a dedicated manager can assess your first draft and provide valuable feedback.

We will sign a confidentially agreement or provide you with one of our NDAs. You can then share your draft submission. We will confirm a fixed fee to review and improve your bid or review and make comments, in order for your team to then action the changes. We will agree timescales (when you need it back) and our tender writing experts will work diligently to add value and improve your quality scores.

Our ‘bid review and improve’ requires enough time in the process to allow us to make changes and return and updated draft and rationalisation. We then ask our clients to review our draft, and we agree final changes, ready for a final draft and submission.

We prioritise the confidentiality and security of your information. Our team adheres to strict confidentiality protocols, and your document will be handled with the utmost care throughout the review process.

By leveraging our expertise in tender writing, we aim to assist you in creating a compelling and competitive proposal that stands out to evaluators. If you're interested in our review service, please let us know, and we can discuss the next steps tailored to your specific needs and timeline.

On average how long does your tender writing services take?

The duration of our tender writing services can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the tender, the volume of information required, and the specific services you engage. However, we understand the importance of meeting submission deadlines, and we strive to work efficiently while ensuring the highest quality standards.

Typically, we have 3 – 4 weeks to help our clients prepare, draft and submit a tender response. We quote a fixed fee based on our clients’ needs and to provide budget control.

We are looking for a partner to write all our tender responses and bids for public and private sector contracts, can your tender writing consultancy help us?

Absolutely, we specialise in providing comprehensive tender writing services for both public and private sector contracts. Partnering with our tender writing consultancy allows us to work more efficiently and increase both your win rates and overall return on investment from our tender writing consultancy services.

If you're looking for a reliable and experienced tender writing partner to handle all your tender responses and bids, we would be delighted to discuss your specific requirements, understand your business goals, and tailor our services to support your success in the competitive tendering landscape. Feel free to reach out to initiate a conversation and explore how we can collaborate effectively.

What is the average day rate of a freelancer tender writing consultant in the UK?

The average day rate for a freelance tender writing consultant in the UK can vary based on several factors, including the consultant's level of experience, expertise, industry specialisation, and the complexity of the projects they undertake.

Junior Tender Writing Consultants day rates may range from £300 to £400 per day. Bid and tender consultants with moderate experience and a proven track record may charge day rates in the range of £400 to £700. And highly experienced tender consultants with specialised knowledge or expertise in specific industries may command day rates exceeding £700, potentially reaching £1,000 or more.

It's important to note that these are general estimates, and actual day rates can vary.

Freelance tender consultants often determine their rates based on factors such as their unique skills, length of the project (number of days), the demand for their services, the competitive landscape, and the perceived value they bring to clients.

When engaging a freelance tender writing consultant, it's advisable to discuss rates directly with the consultant and negotiate based on the scope and requirements of your specific project. Additionally, inquire about any additional costs, such as expenses or travel fees, that may be applicable.

If you have a live project share the tender documents and we can provide a fixed fee to support the tender through to completion. Get it touch here.

Why don’t tender writing companies work on no win no fee?

Tender writing companies may choose not to operate on a "no win, no fee" basis for several reasons, and these reasons can vary based on the company's business model, industry practices, and risk considerations.

We do not offer a no win no fee tender writing service. This is largely because many of the variables are totally out of our control. Our clients reputation, experience, pricing, market share and bid no bid decision are not something we can impact.

When we are asked if we work on no win no fee, this is usually because the client does not believe they can win it. We want clients who believe in their solution and have an effective strategy for growth and work winning. For those who do not have this, we will research, guide, advice and offer tender writing services, helping you maximise your return on investment from tender writing services. But, we do expect to be compensated fairly for the value we bring to the bidding process. A fee-based model allows us to price for our tender writing services in a way that reflects the effort, expertise, and strategic input involved in developing a competitive tender response.

It's essential to note that while "no win, no fee" arrangements are not common in the tender writing industry, companies may still offer flexible fee structures, payment plans, or performance-based incentives. Clients are encouraged to discuss their specific needs, budget constraints, and expectations with tender writing companies to explore mutually beneficial arrangements.

This is covered in more detail in the ‘the cost of outsourced bid writing’ and maximising ROI for SMEs.

How much notice do I need to give your tender writers?

We will often work on last minute and urgent tender writing projects giving us a week or less! We are very open and honest about what we can and can’t do within the time available to us.

In practice and for most public sector tender writing requirements, we like to have as much notice as possible, which is usually 4 weeks. This helps our team prepare and ultimately gives you more opportunity to be successful.

To provide more accurate guidance on lead time, we recommend reaching out to us with details about your specific tender opportunity, including the deadline, scope, and any unique requirements. This allows us to assess the project's complexity and allocate the appropriate resources to meet your needs effectively. Open communication from the early stages helps us tailor our approach to ensure a successful collaboration.

Do you directly employ your own tender writers?

As a tender writing consultancy business, yes, we directly employ (PAYE) a team of 45 professionals, at time of writing this article. Additionally, we collaborate with trusted associate bid writers who operate under our quality and project control. This collaborative approach allows us to ensure consistency, quality, and effective project management across our tender writing services. If you have specific questions about our team or processes, feel free to ask for more details.

As a tender writing services business do you quality control the responses produced by your bid and tenders team?

We are ISO9001 accredited tender writing consultancy. We have robust systems which we continually review and improve. We prioritise quality control and customer service in all client communication, including the production of our tender responses.

Before our clients see a first draft of their quality submission, it will have been drafted by a professional tender writer, with the drafts and project progress monitored throughout by another colleague and competent tender writing consultant who have proven themselves able to properly review and guide relevant bids. Plus then an additional full bid review of the first drafts, with any required changes being made, before you get to see our draft. As our client you will be asked to then review the tender responses and provide feedback, which we will then action and return as a second and usually final draft, along with supporting documents, ready for submission. Our commitment to delivering high-quality submissions involves a structured quality assurance process managed by a dedicated and talented team.

How do you become a professional tender writer?

Becoming a tender writer involves a combination of education, skill development, and practical experience in the field of procurement and bid management. However, we still speak to many who explain how they ‘fell into it’ from many different backgrounds, such as marketing, surveying, procurement, report writing, fundraising and journalism, for example.

If you were starting your career and really wanted to maximise your chances, we have detailed some of the key attributes we look for in candidates for tender writing consultancy roles:

  • A degree based around writing, such as English or history. While there is no specific academic requirement for becoming a tender writer, having a background in business, communications, marketing, or a related field can be advantageous. By having a relevant degree your offer further reassurance to likely employers of your ability with regards to critical thinking and producing high quality written submissions.
  • Understand the tendering Process: Gain a comprehensive understanding of the tendering process. Familiarise yourself with requests for proposals (RFPs), invitations to tender (ITTs), and other bidding documents. Understand the legal and regulatory aspects of tendering in your region.

Becoming a professional tender writer involves a combination of education, experience, and skill development and there are a growing number who seek out the profession.

Our graduate trainee bid writer has proven to be a great route for those leaving University and looking to develop a career in the sector.

Do tender writers usually work from home?

Yes, tender writers often have the flexibility to work from home, especially in recent years with the increased adoption of remote work practices.

What is the average salary of a tender writer?

In the early stages of their career, an entry-level tender writer may earn an average salary ranging from £24,000 to £30,000 per year. A mid-level tender writer, with a few years of experience, may earn in the region of £28,000 to £45,000 per year.

Senior tender writers and consultants may earn salaries far exceeding £45,000 per year. Senior positions can command very higher salaries, particularly in larger organisations or industries with high demand for tendering expertise.

It's important to consider that these figures are general estimates, and actual salaries may vary. Additionally, factors such as additional responsibilities, industry specialisation, and the organisation's location can influence salary levels.

For the most accurate and current information on tender writer salaries, consider consulting salary surveys, job boards, or industry reports specific to your region and industry.

Is having a background in procurement useful for a career in tender writing?

Yes, having a background in procurement can be highly beneficial for a career in tender writing. Our Managing Director, trained in procurement prior to setting up Thornton & Lowe.

Procurement professionals are well-versed in the processes and requirements associated with sourcing goods, services, or works for an organisation. This knowledge is directly transferable to tender writing, where the ability to understand and meet procurement expectations is essential.

A background in procurement provides insight into the various stages of the procurement process, from identifying needs and drafting specifications to evaluating bids. This understanding allows a tender writer to align their responses with the client's expectations. Procurement professionals are accustomed to developing and applying evaluation criteria to assess the suitability of suppliers or contractors. This experience is valuable for a tender writer in addressing the criteria outlined in tender documents effectively. Procurement also involves adherence to regulations, policies, and compliance standards. This background equips a tender writer with the ability to ensure that responses meet the specified requirements, increasing the likelihood of a successful bid.

Importantly, having worked on the procurement side, individuals understand the priorities and concerns of clients or contracting authorities. This insight allows tender writers to tailor their responses to directly address client expectations and priorities.

Is there a qualification in tender writing?

While there isn't a specific universally recognised qualification exclusively for tender writing, there are several related certifications and educational programs that can help individuals enhance their skills in bid and tender writing. These qualifications can provide a solid foundation in the principles and practices associated with the tendering process.

At Thornton & Lowe we are accredited training providers, which means our bidding and tender writing training allows you to gain certification and CPD points. The Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) offers certification. Our focus is on keeping training and workshops highly practical with real life examples and quick wins, rather than too much theory, which is often only possible for larger scale projects.

We offer classroom tender writing workshops and bidding courses across the UK, with monthly events in Manchester, London and Birmingham. Online bid writing courses at least monthly and bespoke or 1-2-1 tender writing workshops for companies who want us to deliver our training specifically to their tender teams. At Thornton & Lowe we have now delivered tender writing training to over 4000 delegates; check out our 5 star reviews here. Our bid and tender writing training can be booked via Eventbrite.

Online Platforms for Tender Writing Training: Explore pre-recorded, online and often lower cost tender writing training via learning platforms such as Udemy. Thornton & Lowe has a short Udemy course – Bid writing: Improve your bid writing success.

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