Submitting a professional tender letter

Andy Farrell explains that when it comes to submitting tender letters, it’s more than just a game of numbers.

Quoting or ‘tendering’ for a project is a fundamental necessity for any plumbing business to be awarded the contract of a large job. There is a comprehensive
process that unfolds before the fi rst ground is broken on a project and it’s important to ensure that all the “boxes have been ticked” before signing the works contract.

The decision to submit a tender for a project should be a carefully considered process that balances the opportunity against a realistic evaluation of the likelihood of success and the ability of your business being fit to perform the required works.

The approach should be systematic, incorporating an evaluation of each facet of the project coupled with the requirements of the potential client. Submitting a tender is often a time consuming process and it’s important to target the projects that suit your businesses capabilities.

Communication is an extremely important element of the tendering process and it is crucial that you inform the client as early as possible of your intention to submit a tender or not. If you decide not to submit a tender, then it is courteous to send an ‘unable to tender’ letter explaining the reasons of your decision. This particular project may not suit your requirements and that’s fine, but don’t disappoint a client by not informing them. Remember, by maintaining a good relationship with a client ensures you will have an opportunity to tender (and hopefully win) future projects.

So, you have made a decision to quote a project. You’ve conducted a site visit, read all the documents and compiled a price that you have confidence in. The next thing to do is present the price in a formal submission also known as a tender letter.

A well-presented, professional tender letter should focus on the requirements within the invitation to tender (ITT) document and/or as stipulated by the client. It is very important to clearly address each element of the tender request and if you have any additional information useful to the submission then it should be presented as an addition within the tender letter. Offering cost saving alternatives can be a great way of separating yourself from the crowd, while giving the potential client confidence in your submission.

The design and layout of the tender letter should include a header with your business details and logo. The footer should contain the page number and project name title. The submission should be divided into clear sections, either as specified by the buyer or created to provide a clear and logical presentation of the proposal content.

Scope of Works – This is a brief description of the required works as shown within the tender documents.

Tender Price (break-up) – The tender documents will usually specify the requirements for how the pricing should be presented. Normally this will be a ‘total amount including GST’, but sometimes a client may request a detailed breakdown of the cost elements to be provided (such as per service or zone).

Cost Saving Options – There may be areas within the tender documents that you identify where a more cost effective solution can be applied. This is an opportunity to present a cost reduction to the client, reaffirming the confidence in your understanding of the project and save them a few bucks.

Tender Documents – Include a list of all the plans, specifications, reports and addendums that were used to price the project. Note – ensure to indicate the revision number and/or dates.

Tender Inclusions – It’s important to list (bullet point) the project specific elements to convey that you have made allowances for each of the required works.

Project Assumptions – There may be existing site conditions that are deemed to be operational and any elements of a project that are expected to be provided by the principle contractor.

Tender Exclusions – As per the tender inclusions, it is equally important to list the elements that are NOT included within your submission price.

Price Validity – This is a time frame of how long your tender price will remain firm for. Compiling a professional tender submission is an important “first impression” that represents you and your business.

Take the time to ensure you’ve covered all the requested elements within the documents; after all it’s more than just submitting a price to a prospective client.

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