New to the world of tendering? Or an established business, looking to take that next big step by landing a new project? Either way, continue reading to discover everything you need to know about Open tenders in Australia.
What is an open tender?
An open tender is a tender that anyone can apply for. Open Tenders in Australia are the main procurement method used by many government organisations (particularly in the engineering and construction industries) as it encourages a competitive marketplace, provides transparency and reduces the likelihood of nepotism occurring.
Whilst open tendering is popular (and with good reason), it usually means more time is required to evaluate applications due to the increased pool of bidders.
The opposite of an open tender is known as a selected, restricted, limited or ‘invited tender’. As the name suggests, in order to apply for a selected tender, you must have received an invitation. Selected tenders usually only occur in very specific circumstances, where the service need is extremely niche or urgently required.
Where can I find tender opportunities?
There are many avenues through which tender opportunities are advertised — to the point where it can become a little overwhelming.
As a business, your first step should be narrowing down your target market. Broadly, this can be:
Government tenders — federal, state and local.
All federal government tenders are advertised on AusTender, the Australian Government’s tender portal. AusTender allows you to search by keyword and also sign up for a free notification service, so you can be alerted should any new matching opportunities become available.
Each Australian state and territory has their own tender portal — for example, the NSW Government advertises their available projects through eTendering. Many of these platforms also have a range of helpful resources for those new to the tendering process.
Local governments have no obligation to advertise opportunities through a centralised system. Some do, choosing to upload upcoming projects to their respective state portal. Others may only provide information on their own website. Should you be interested in local tenders, consider making a list of councils within your area and contacting them to find out more.
There are many bid and tender management companies that provide free access to comprehensive tender databases. This streamlines the process significantly, providing access to both federal, state (and often local) tender opportunities within the one platform.
Private tenders can be a little harder to find as they are not always well advertised. Private tenders are more likely to be selected or ‘invited’ tenders, as they may have a pool of suppliers that they regularly call upon for goods and services.
Should you be interested in the private sector, it’s a good idea to identify specific companies you wish to become involved with. Start establishing a relationship with these businesses and find out how you can earn a spot on their list of suppliers.
What makes for a competitive tender application?
There are many tips and tricks to keep in mind when putting together your next tender application in order to stand out from the crowd:
Use the template provided:
Many tender applications have a specific structured template that you must follow when submitting your response.
It is very important that you use this template. Not doing so may make it difficult for the panel to assess your response and also suggests that you can’t follow instructions.
Structure your application clearly:
If you are not required to follow a template, it is still important that you structure your application in a clear, easy-to-follow manner.
It’s a good idea to develop your own template for situations such as this. Pre-setting the formatting (including font, color, and layout) will ensure consistency across your response and indicates good attention to detail.
Include all the requested information:
Without the information they have asked for, there is no way for the panel to accurately assess your ability to carry out the project. This information can include hard details such as your ABN, company profile, proposed price for each product and service, delivery details and charges, GST and other taxes, and intellectual property rights (where relevant).
Beyond these details, it’s important to also address the selection criteria. Provide specific examples outlining your ability to deliver the tender requirements and include referees as is required.
If possible, ask someone external to your tender team or organisation to proofread your application before submission. Spelling and grammar mistakes are easy to make but are not a good look for your company.
Who can I go to for help?
Feeling a little overwhelmed? Luckily, professional bid and tender management teams are on hand to share their advice, skills, experience, and knowledge. Whether you need help finding Open tenders in Australia or require a second pair of eyes to put together your application, reach out to an expert team today to increase the likelihood of you landing your next big project.