Rule No 1: Choose just ONE tender notification service – otherwise you’re paying multiple times for the same service!
Finding tenders isn’t hard….the public sector ones are all advertised on the internet and there are any number of tender notification services which cost anything from nothing to £1,000+ per annum.
The first thing to be aware of is that all tender notification services use the same OJEU licence, so they should all list the same tenders.
We’ve got a free recruitment tender notification service on the Brunton Bid Writing website and you can register to receive email notifications. Alternatively good options are:
- www.publictenders.net – Free of Charge (but you have to scan all the tenders on their daily notification email to find the recruitment ones)
- www.b2bquote.co.uk – circa £250 / Year (plus 10% discount on this price if you quote “b2b10bc”).
If you’re going to pay for a notification service, make sure you choose one that does a manual validation as there are more than 10,000 CPV / SIC codes and this manual process makes sure you only get notified of relevant tenders.
Rule No 2: Build your own pipeline of private sector recruitment tender opportunities.
Private sector tenders are not usually advertised so the best way to be included in these is to task your Consultants with conducting research whenever they do a sales call to help you build a tender database. Consultants should ask the following questions on all prospect sales calls:
- Do you have a PSL?
- What does your PSL cover (sectors, types of vacancy, temp/contract/perm)?
- When is your PSL due for renewal?
- What do we have to do to register our interest in your next tender process / be invited to tender?
- Who is the main point of contact for procurement of recruitment services?
Gather this information in a central place and make sure that you have a system for prompting you in advance of client contract renewal dates to make sure you’re included in relevant tender processes.
So – now you’ve got lots of tender opportunities, how do you decide which ones to go for?
Rule No 3: Be selective – read the tender documents (specification, contract etc) and only bid for business which falls into your area of expertise and for which you meet the criteria.
Consider the following:
- Type of contract:
- Master Vendor (do you have the experience to deliver this service?);
- Sole Supplier (no prizes for 2nd place – are you sufficiently well equipped to win this business?);
- PSL (how many providers is the client looking for and in what sectors? Make sure enough of the business volume/value relates to your core business);
- Framework Agreement (remember winning this is just a right to supply and NOT a guarantee of any business);
- 2nd Tier (is there any guaranteed business or is it direct competition for every vacancy?).
- Existing client relationship? Will you lose your existing business if you don’t tender? Have you supplied in the past? What do you know about the client and their requirement? Experience of supplying the client should give you a competitive advantage.
- Similar / relevant experience? Can you demonstrate experience that is similar / relevant to the client’s requirements – successful tenders are all about DEMONSTRATING EVIDENCE and you’re unlikely to win if you’re just talking about what you will do without backing it up with proof that you have done it successfully in the past.
- Contract size / value / delivery locations? How well does the requirement fit with the size and delivery locations of your company? If the value of the contract makes up a high proportion of your turnover (or is more than your turnover), you become a high risk for the client. What’s more they have the potential to become an all consuming risk for you!
- Contractual requirements? Read the tender documents, contract and specification so you understand what the client expects of you. Consider high risk clauses like liabilities, AWR & TUPE clauses that try to transfer all liabilities to the agency; pay when paid clauses & payment terms; required insurance levels (which can be excessive); service levels (what resources are you going to need to fulfil 10 year referencing requirements?….what costs will the Swedish Derogation model add if this is specified as a requirement for temps?…..how hard / easy will the vacancies be to fulfil?). Basically you need to make sure you can still make a decent profit whilst adhering to the client’s requirements and contract terms!
- Evaluation criteria? How are they scoring each part of the tender and does this make it hard/impossible for your to be selected? (An example is a housing association recently who allocated over 80% of their “quality” score to suppliers having the ISO accreditation – so making it almost impossible for any supplier who did not hold the accreditation to be shortlisted).
- Have you got the time / expertise to write the bid? Consider the deadline and the resource you have to help you complete the documents. Remember you’re up against companies who either have a dedicated in-house tender writing team or who outsource all/part of the tender process so if you’re going to win, you have to put together a great bid!
Rule No 4: You’ve got to be in it to win it!
Having said all of this tendering is a great way of retaining existing business, generating new business, increasing the value of your recruitment company and giving you a proportion of guaranteed business in periods when the going gets tough.
Don’t deselect yourself from tendering just because you’re small – our clients have won some significant contracts, and many of them have a turnover of less than £1 million (and a few as small as £500k!)
It’s all about doing it right and outshining the competition……so sharpen your pencil, get writing and if you need help, just give us a shout!