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January 24, 2024

What is a Tender? A Guide to Winning Contracts

What is a Tender? A Guide to Winning Contracts

Are you ready to embark on your tendering journey, but are unsure of the process and perplexed by the jargon? In this guide, we explore the role that Tenders play in securing contracts, providing insights into commonly used phrases and their meanings, the intricate tendering process, and how WeBid Consult can remove the burden of writing tender responses and transform your bids into triumphs.

What is a Tender?

A tender is a formal document that invites suppliers, contractors, or service providers to submit a proposal for the provision of goods, services, or works. It is an invitation for businesses to bid on a project or contract, outlining the scope, requirements, and conditions for participation. Organisations select the most suitable vendor based on a defined timeframe, budget, expertise, and capabilities.

What is the importance of Tenders?

Tenders are a fundamental aspect of the procurement process for both buyers and sellers. Winning a tender opens doors to new markets, revenue streams, and partnerships for businesses, while ensuring transparency, fairness, and the selection of the most qualified and cost-effective solution for buyers.

Is a Tender the same as a Bid?

The terms "tender"and "bid" are often used interchangeably, but they have a different meaning. A tender is an invitation to participate in a project, whereas a bid is the corresponding response to that invitation.

Types of Tenders

The most common types of Tenders and their meaning:

The five most common areas of tenders identified by Webid

Open tender

In an open tender, the procurement process is open to the public, allowing any interested supplier or contractor to submit a bid. This approach promotes competition and transparency, ensuring a fair evaluation of all proposals. Open tenders are often used for projects where multiple suppliers can meet the specified requirements.

Selective tender

Contrary to the open tender, the selective tender is by invitation only. Project organisers pre-qualify potential suppliers based on their capabilities, experience, and track record. By narrowing the field to a select group, this type of tender is well-suited for complex projects where specialised expertise is crucial.

Negotiated tender

Negotiated tenders involve direct negotiations between the buyer and a chosen supplier. This type is common when projects require a high level of collaboration or customisation. They allow for discussions on terms, conditions, and scope, fostering a more flexible and tailored approach to procurement.


In a single-stage tender, the procurement process is straightforward. Bidders submit their proposals once, and evaluation and selection occur in a single phase. This type is often used for less complex projects with well-defined requirements, offering efficiency in the procurement timeline.

Two-stage tendering

For projects with evolving or complex requirements, two-stage tendering comes into play. The first stage involves selecting a shortlist of bidders based on their qualifications. In the second stage, these shortlisted bidders submit detailed proposals. This approach allows for innovation and refinement as the project details become clearer.

Understanding the Tendering Process

The tendering process, or procurement process, is a structured approach used by organisations to invite, evaluate, and select suppliers or contractors for specific projects or services. It ensures fairness, transparency, and competition among potential bidders. The process involves several key steps:

Identification of Need:

The process begins with the identification of a need or requirement within the organisation. This could be a construction project, the supply of goods, or services required.

Preparation of Tender Documents:

Comprehensive tender documents are then prepared that outline the project specifications, requirements, terms and conditions, and evaluation criteria. These documents serve as the basis for potential bidders to understand the scope of work.

Invitation to Tender:

Organisations publicly announce or invite potential suppliers or contractors to submit their proposals. This invitation to tender (ITT) includes information on how to participate, submission deadlines, and any pre-qualification criteria.


In some cases, organisations may require potential bidders to go through a pre-qualification process. This ensures that only qualified and capable suppliers or contractors proceed to the next stages of the tendering process.

Submission of Bids:

Interested suppliers submit their bids or proposals in response to the tender documents. Bids typically include pricing, project timelines, and other relevant information specified in the ITT.

Bid Evaluation:

A designated evaluation team reviews and assesses the submitted bids based on predetermined criteria. This evaluation process aims to identify the proposal that best meets the organisation's needs in terms of cost, quality, and compliance.

Contract Award:

Following the evaluation, the organisation selects the winning bid and awards the contract or project to the successful bidder. This decision is communicated to all participating parties.

Contract Execution:

The buyer and the chosen supplier finalise and sign the contract, outlining the terms, conditions, and deliverables. The project or service implementation phase begins as per the agreed-upon timeline.

Navigating the tendering process presents challenges such as stringent deadlines, complex documentation, and intense competition. We can support and mitigate these obstacles to help you be successful in your tenders.

Tendering process

Explore Our Successful Tenders

We have supported many successful tenders across diverse sectors, including Construction, Civils, Rail, Highways, Healthcare, Major Projects, Nuclear, Education, and Frameworks. Our case studies highlight expertise in tailoring solutions to specific industries and projects, leading to successful tender outcomes. Explore our case studies.

Get In Touch

Need some assistance with your next Tender? We're here to help. With our expertise in bid management, writing, and strategy, we can guide you seamlessly along the path to success. Remember, a tender is not just a document, it's your gateway to new business opportunities!

Explore our Services or Get in Touch with us for more information.

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