Lesson 6: To Bid or Not to Bid

The first decision you need to make in the tendering process is whether you’ll submit a response, and there’s a lot to consider. It’s important to determine if it’s even worth responding as the tendering process can consume time, labour and resources, none of which can be recouped if there is little chance of winning the business.  

Should I Bid or Not?

Is the tender aligned with your core strategy? 
Is this opportunity aligned with your company’s strategic plan? 

Do you have a good chance of winning? 
Are you the incumbent or the competition?  
If NO – Do you have a strategic plan to address this? 

How well do you know the client? 
Are you clear on their goals, strategic direction and competitor relationships? If NO – can you find this out prior to the tender? 

Can you fulfil the contract requirements? 
Do you have the right skills, experience and volume of staff?  
If NO – Can you assemble the appropriate team/experience prior to the commencement of the contract? 

Do you have a commitment from management for the bid? 
Are your senior managers committing to the bid? Do you have the appropriate resources? 

Actioning the Bid or No Bid Decision. 

  • Make your decision quickly – delays are just lost time that could be used to put together your response  
  • Call a Bid or No Bid meeting with a plan to end the meeting with a firm decision  
  • Make sure your decision is strategically informed and based on a very real likelihood of winning. 

A Bid or No Bid Process 

The tender period is usually an average of four weeks. You should review the RFT and make your Bid or No Bid decision in the first two to three days of receiving the tender documentation, giving yourself enough time to complete the tender. 

I recommend not starting the tender process until you’ve considered: 

  • All aspects of the tender 
  • The suitability for your company 
  • Having a ‘Bid or No Bid’ and tender strategy is a great way to understand your position and offering.  

Other things to consider as part of the bid or no bid process is the internal cost of the tender process on the business. Ask yourself these questions. 

  1. How much will it cost to prepare the tender? 
  2. What information do we need to gather? 
  3. What resources will we need to fulfil the contract? 
  4. Do we need to contract a specialised tender writer? 
  5. Who will manage the tender project? 
  6. How will we plan the workload, assign the work required, and schedule the meetings? 

Be Prepared to Walk Away 

You must be prepared to withdraw from the tender process if you believe you cannot meet the contract requirements and/or it goes against your core company strategy. It’s important to be realistic in the tender process and submit the best response you can.  

The Bid or No Bid Checklist 

I recommend you implement a Bid or No Bid Checklist as part of your tender process. It’s critical when tendering to understand if the opportunity is suitable for your organisation. 


Check out my Bid or No Bid Checklist. 

Use this tool I have created, to determine if you have the capability to meet the tender requirements and submit a competitive offer. 

Using my checklist as a guide, create your own Bid or No Bid checklist customised for your company or organisation. 

[Download available from the Module Downloads Lesson]