Section D To Tender or Not to Tender

The smartest side to take in a bidding war is the losing side.

Warren Buffett

1 The Tendering Decision


The company should get approximately two weeks notice that an enquiry is on the way. Large projects will have been around and known about for some time. Smaller projects will naturally have a shorter notice period. The purchase of aircraft is advised with a ten‐year lead time.


The three key ‘to tender or not to tender’ decision makers (see 1.7 below) won't have time to read all the documents involved in a tender request and, therefore, the job of analysing the enquiry is given to an out‐of‐work project manager.


Read the request for a proposal enquiry document, and review it with the sales/business development department.


Check that there is a clause providing an overall limit of liability (see Section F Contracts, Paragraph 3.5 and 3.5.1). The absence of such a clause is a reason for not tendering. This must be negotiated before starting work on the tender. If there isn't one in the client's contract document, and they won't give you one, walk away. You have to ask yourself, ‘Why won’t they give one?'


Has the client provided a ground conditions survey? If they haven't, ask for it.


The salesman's job is to bring in the enquiries. Once the enquiry is ‘in house’, fifty percent of their effort will be directed to selling it internally. They want to be given the credit for a success. ...

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