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Article | 4-minute read

Bidding for government contracts

Business development

In the current environment your clients and customers may be changing, and you might be considering the possibility of accessing new markets. This might include looking outside the private market and considering government bodies and authorities.

To do so, it is important to understand bidding for new forms of work or how to win new customers. This article sets out some key steps and considerations should your business be in a position to bid for government contracts.

Register to tender

Typically, the first step is to register with the Australian Government tender system. Once you’re registered, you’ll typically get notifications via email in relation to relevant opportunities as they become available.


Understand, analyse and plan

Typically, to successfully compete for government work you need to:

  • Understand your customer – in this case it will be a government agency or department, so be aware of how they work, what they’re looking for, and their decision making processes.
  • Analyse the opportunities – only bid for the tenders where your business is an expert.
  • Plan each tender – go over the tender documents as soon as you decide that your business will make a bid. Attend any pre-tender briefing sessions and ask for explanations on any points that you’re unsure about. You need to determine if you can complete the tender on time.

There are hundreds of people across Australia making buying decisions on behalf of the Australian Government, so it’s worth investing the time to find out about the specific business needs of the different government agencies.

Planning will be a significant part of your tender bid.


Form a strategic partnership

If the job is taking place in a different state or territory to the one your business is centred in, it’s sometimes worth forming strategic partnerships with businesses in that region. You’d need to outline in the tender how you intend to fulfil the job and how the partnership will work.

Research the bidding process

It’s really important to make sure you find out the steps that you’ll need to take, and how the key decisions are made. Keep in mind:

  • Bid deadlines – there may be more than one for different aspects of the bid.
  • Decision maker(s) – who’s responsible for deciding who is best for the job?
  • Key details – make sure you’re aware of exactly what the job itself entails so your bid can outline how you have the experience and ability to fulfil it.

It’s important to decide who will be responsible for gathering any information on the bid.


Commit to the process

After you’ve registered and have decided on a tender to bid for, you’ll need to knuckle down and complete the pre-tender work, which could take some time.


Build a body of work

Many government agencies think of past performance as a vital indicator of potential success. Aim to get your foot in the door by working on smaller contracts to build your credibility.


Prepare your pitch

It’s easy to get lost in the bidding process without being totally prepared for pitching your bid to the best of your ability.

Develop a plan for how you’ll pitch your bid when the time comes. Some of the actions you’ll typically need to take include:

  • Prepare to pitch to the right audience – this is where building a relationship with government workers will prove invaluable. Understand your audience and what they expect, and bid accordingly.
  • Responding to each clause – go through the government contract and record or flag each clause that requires a response. Be careful not to miss any responses or your whole bid might become ineligible.

Planning your pitch well will give your business the best chance of winning the contract 


Next steps


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