The Settlement Library Project Presents: How to Write a Bid
“Don’t rely on passion –
It’s all about points . . .”
Or, how to write a bid
The Settlement Library Project
Promoting an Eclectic Librarianship in Rural
Bidding for supporting
people and libraries . . .
An Article Review . . .
hact: Collaborate. “Resource Kit Worksheet 7: Writing
the Bid.” hact.org.uk. n.d. Web. 16 February
Hact pioneers housing solutions to enable people “on the
margins” to live independently in thriving communities.
“Collaborate” was a year-long project run by hact, along
with six partnerships, for pioneering collaborative
approaches to bidding. The Kit was produced to share
learning from the project. It offers eight worksheets,
which provide information about strategic development,
collaborative approaches, influencing procurement
processes, developing collaborative bids, and
An Article Review . . .
Williams, Patricia. “How to Write a Job Bid.” eHow.com,
n.d. Web. 16 February 2014.
eHow is an online how-to guide with more than 1 million
articles, and 170,000 videos offering step-by-step
instructions. eHow articles and videos are created by
freelancers, and cover a wide variety of topics organized
into a hierarchy of categories.
Patricia Williams is a freelance writer who has been
published in numerous magazines, and many online sites.
She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in communications, and
English from the University of Missouri - Kansas City.
Occasions for writing bids . . .
• Budget shortfalls
• Temporary management or staff
• Specific services
• New infrastructures or renovations
• Communications solutions
• Supplies or contracted maintenance
• Signage or furnishings
• Cleaning services
Terms . . .
Bid: Companies frequently first submit a bid or proposal
to a client who is planning a project. A bid is essentially a
sales presentation indicating a willingness to undertake a
task at a specific price, and within a specific timeframe.
Proposal: A document that is submitted to bid on a
project. It is a written summary of how the provider
(vendor) intends on meeting the proposed need.
Specification: A set of measureable standard procedures
defining what must be met or improved upon to satisfy a
contract. It describes the agreed upon features or services
Scoring System: A system of classifying quality, merit,
or amount through an established rating system.
Contractor: The person or company who is principally
responsible to perform a service, or job, to fulfill a
contract for project completion.
Tenders: A government or business bid written in
response to a call for bids offering to perform work, or
supply specific goods, usually at a fixed price.
Added Value: The means by which a service provider
gains a competitive advantage by creating a point of
difference from the competition, and focusing closely on a
Why . . .
When businesses call contractors (or vendors) asking for a
price on a job or service they need done, the contractor is
required to provide a written proposal for the services it
will provide, and an exact amount to be charged.
Most tenders emphasize the need for partnerships. Local
providers can offer this type of added value, and gain a
competitive advantage over non-local bidders.
A high quality bid at the local level, consistent and well
written, can compete with those submitted by
organizations with in-house specialist bidding teams.
The wherefores . . .
• First things first:
Dedicate time to developing the bid
• Develop partnerships:
Pull together the supporting evidence
• Invest time to develop a vision:
Create clear positive outcomes
• Realize your proposed service:
Define why your solution is best
• Describe your competitive advantage:
Prove out your added value
The competitive bidder . . .
• Defines what the customer wants
• Understands the tender requirements
• Ensures the proposed project fits within objectives and
• Recognizes the real costs for the project
• Complies with any legislation involved
• Uses collaboration to increase the chances of winning
• Respects the score weighting
• Makes a realistic bid
Successful bids . . .
• Ensure service users are at the heart of the proposed
• Begin with a clear vision of what good service looks
• Have a clear rationale for why the project is the best
way of delivering positive outcomes
• Explain how proposed positive outcomes will happen
• Emphasize an ability to deliver outcomes across
agencies, budgets, and frameworks
• Describe how the service helps deliver the goals
• Use evidence and examples to prove out commitment
Scoring and weighting . . .
To ensure fairness and consistency, and protect against
legal challenges, scoring systems are used to evaluate
• A scoring system evaluates based on factors such as
price, warranties, lead time, and product quality
• Bid factors are the questions bidders must answer
about their products, services, or company
• Each bid factor has a weight
• Different types of contracts have different types of
• Points are awarded for different aspects of the tender
Don’t rely on passion . . .
• Establish your brand
• Manage your communications
• Reinforce your identity
• Use your added value as a competitive advantage
• Maintain well developed relationships with key
stakeholders and referral sources
• Manage risk with continuity
• Partner with other organizations
• Make sure your information is correct, competitive,
and sustainable across the lifetime of a contract
It’s about points . . .
• Understand the scoring system used for evaluation
• Understand the scoring framework
• Structure answers to that framework
• Cover all areas of the specification equally
• Define added value
• Use added value pervasively in all sections of the bid
• Each section of the bid is scored separately
• Give attention to areas that attract the highest scores
• Observe word limits
• Attach all required documentation and appendices
• Make sure each answer is complete
Ground rules . . .
• Request the tender evaluation criteria
• Get the exact specifications for the project
• Follow instructions carefully
• Follow the Request for Quotation specs point by point
• Break down the costs and include exact totals
• Be concise and answer all questions
• Place the official bid on letterhead
• Submit the project bid on time
• Place your project bid in an online portfolio that allows
the company to check the information
Write it . . .
• If necessary, repeat the same point in several different
• Focus on the outcome to be achieved
• Explain your plan for implementation
• Prove out how you will exceed ordinary standards
• Write simply, coherently, and repetitiously
• If its not in the tender, it won’t score points
• Answer the question “why us?” throughout
• Do not include unsolicited information
• Follow up with enthusiasm
Links to references . . .
Title slide: quote: Collaborate Resource Kit Worksheet 7
How to Write a Job Bid available online at:
hact Collaborate Worksheets available online at:
hact Collaborate Worksheet 7 available online at:
Free Proposal Templates and Formats available online at:
The Settlement Library Project