Talk to us 01204 238 046

The Cost of Outsourced Bid Writing for Public Sector Tenders

Written by Thornton & Lowe


Feb 25, 2024

How much do bid writers charge?

As a rough guide, outsourced or freelance Bid Writers will charge between £450 and £750 per day.

Complex, high value and highly competitive tenders of course require more of an investment than smaller tenders, with less competition, or more compliance-based frameworks which simply take less time. A Bid Writer will work on a day rate completing a weekly time sheet or agree a fixed fee for a specific role within the bid.

Depending on the role of a Bid Writer and the complexity of the tender, they could be spending anything from a day or two, through to multiple Bid Writers working in collaboration for the duration of the tender.

Many tenders open to SME bidders are tailored as such, requiring less bid information.

Live tender?

Contact us

What are the key factors that impact the cost of a bid writing quote?

Complexity of the Tender

We need to read the documents fully, and understand them, the scope and your solution to respond to the tender questions to the best of our ability.

Word Count/Page Count

There is, of course, a huge difference between a tender which has 5 scored questions of 500 words each (2500 words in total) compared to a bid which requires 30,000 words, plus supporting documents such as detailed case studies.

Competitiveness of the Tender, Sector and/or Opportunity

A lower value consultancy framework which may only attract 3 or 4 local SME bidders will likely (depending on the importance and the bid no bid decisions) require less refinement, challenge and therefore take less time in comparison to a Central Government high value consultancy tender, which attracts 12 highly skilled bidders.

At this level expectations are higher; your competitors will be investing more time and energy and you need to ensure a clear and effective strategy and plan.

The Amount of ‘Collateral’ You Already Have

Case studies, CVs, organisational charts, infographics, process flow charts, similar responses for more basic/standard questions which can be used as a starting point.

The higher quality, relevant information you already have in place, the less time it will take as a Bid Writer to tailor this, adding value and challenging what information you have and the relevance for this specific buyer, with their specific requirements.

Design Restrictions

Tenders which require responses to be directly copied onto a portal take away the time required to design up a full bespoke proposal document, so each requirement for design must be fully understood and taken into account.

What information will a Bid Writer need from a business?

A Bid Writer will require further information from a business to craft their bid response as effectively and accurately as possible. This information will depend on the bid requirements and the responses requested from the buyer but could include:

  • Organisational information such as processes, CVs, case studies, references, points of contact
  • Details of prior experience
  • Technical information specific to the solution you offer
  • Details of any industry body certificates you may hold/ insurances which are required by the buyer
  • Added Value and Social Value information such as contract-specific innovations, third sector and supply chain involvement and engagement, apprenticeships and environmental strategies.

How to get a quote from us

Ultimately, getting a quote is the best way to understand the cost of bid writing for a tender.

We will send a non-disclosure agreement so you have the reassurance that your information is protected and safe. We will either need access to the portal or the full tender pack, including clarification questions.

We will review the information, discuss your experience and any background information you can share, advise on any red flags or potential questions you may need to ask first and then provide a fixed fee quote, or a few options depending on the bid writing support you need.

Working on a current tender and require some support?

Contact us using the form below!

Speak to an expert!

Contact us

How much should I pay to respond to a government tender through a formal procurement procedure?

This is a recent question we were asked by a new business looking to understand how to start winning public sector contracts. Our response:

There isn’t a set price I’m afraid. Government tenders and public sector procurement exercises while working to the same rules, have different requirements and are often looking for highly specific and bespoke services or works. It is the role of the tendering business to understand your organisation, your specific tendering needs, the level of the competition and the buyer requirements. With this knowledge, they can then provide several options and costs to lead the bid writing and your tendering business partner.

When calculating what our bid writing fees will be to help our clients respond to a government procurement exercise, we consider our role, complexity of the government tender, level of competition, number of questions and words required for the quality public bid submission, timeframes and level of existing collateral we will have access to. For example, having existing case studies, CVs and previous tender responses will save us time and therefore reduce our quote for bid writing services.

You can of course decide to write and manage your own bid, which will only cost your time. However, quite often SMEs struggle for both capacity and expertise in order to also manage their own bids, including bid writing. If budget is tight many clients will use our bid writing services but in a ‘light touch’ way. Clients will develop first drafts of their quality responses for government tenders, which they then share with us. We then provide a quote for bid writing consultancy focused on offering a bid review service, which may include providing feedback based on our bidding and government procurement experience, or we take the first drafts and redevelop them, which we called ‘bid, review and develop. If you have some in-house capacity this can often be an effective way to reduce your external bid writing costs for your public sector bids.

This means each tender is different. You can of course build up a bank of bid writing or boiler plate templates and use previous bids to save time. For those starting out and do not have existing examples of bid writing content to use, we sell bid writing templates aimed at government tenders. These are sector based and cover healthcare, facilities management, professional services and construction bids. See our Bid Templates page for more information. They start from £1,300+VAT. And our bid writing courses include free training sessions, right through to bespoke training delivered at your office, which is quoted based on the clients needs.

Related articles...

Made by Statuo