Understanding the Process: What Does It Mean to Put Out to Tender?

Have you ever heard the phrase “put out to tender”? It’s one of those business terms that tend to cause confusion. So, what does it actually mean? Simply put, when a company puts out something to tender, it means they are seeking proposals from potential suppliers or contractors for a particular project. If you’re a business owner, this is an essential process in finding the right person or company to work with.

Putting something out to tender is a way for a company to get competitive bids from various potential vendors. It could be anything from building a new website, to installing new equipment, to hiring a consultant. By instigating the tender process, the company is looking for the best possible price for the best possible work. This is an opportunity for smaller businesses to compete with larger companies for contracts they might not have been able to win before.

The tender process can be a bit daunting for business owners who haven’t gone through it before. It can be time-consuming, and the paperwork can be overwhelming. However, once you start to understand the process, you’ll find that it’s worth the effort. The key is to be prepared, know your budget, and ask the right questions. Ultimately, by putting something out to tender, companies increase their chances of finding the right vendor at the right price.

Understanding Procurement Processes

In order to understand what it means to put out to tender, it is important to first understand the procurement processes that are involved. Procurement refers to the process of obtaining goods and services from external sources, usually through a bidding or tender process. It is a critical part of any business operation, as the procurement process can affect the quality, cost and delivery of goods and services.

  • The procurement process typically begins with identifying a need or requirement for goods or services.
  • The next step involves researching potential suppliers or vendors who can meet the identified need.
  • A request for proposal (RFP) is then issued to vendors, outlining the details of the project or service required.

At this point, vendors will submit proposals outlining their proposed solution, including details of cost, how the service or product will be delivered, and other relevant information. Once all proposals have been received, they are evaluated based on predetermined criteria, and a final decision is made on the vendor to be selected.

The procurement process is designed to ensure that goods and services are obtained at the best possible value, and that there is transparency and fairness in the selection of suppliers. It is also aimed at developing and maintaining healthy relationships with suppliers, which can lead to long-term partnerships and improved product or service delivery.

Key considerations when putting out to tender

  • Be clear about your requirements – it is important to provide detailed specifications and information that will guide vendors in their proposals.
  • Be transparent – ensure that all vendors have equal access to information and that all communication is clear and documented.
  • Choose the right evaluation criteria – the criteria used to evaluate proposals should be appropriate to the project or service being procured.

The benefits of putting out to tender

Putting out to tender has a number of benefits, including:

  • Improving value for money – by encouraging competition amongst vendors, you are likely to receive more competitive pricing and better quality solutions or products.
  • Increasing transparency – the tender process ensures that there is a clear and transparent selection process, avoiding the appearance of bias or favouritism towards certain suppliers.
  • Promoting innovation – by giving vendors the opportunity to propose their own solutions, you may receive innovative and creative proposals that you may not have considered otherwise.

Tender documents

Tender documents typically include a number of key elements, such as:

Item Description
Introduction An overview of the procurement process and what the tender process involves.
Background Information Information about the company, the project or service being procured, and any relevant policies or regulations.
Specifications Details on what is required, including technical specifications, quantity, delivery times, and any other specific requirements.
Contractual Information The terms and conditions of the contract, including details on pricing, payment terms, and any warranties or guarantees.
Evaluation Criteria The criteria used to evaluate proposals, including any weighting assigned to different factors (e.g. cost, quality, delivery).
Contact Information Details on who to contact if the vendor has any questions or queries, or needs to submit their proposal.

Overall, putting out to tender is an important part of the procurement process, and can help you to obtain the best value for money and secure high quality solutions or products.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tendering

Putting out to tender is a process in which companies or organizations invite bids from suppliers or contractors for their products or services. This is done to determine the best value for money, quality, and service. Tendering can be beneficial, but it can also have its disadvantages.

  • Advantages:
  • Increased competition: Tendering promotes competition among bidders, resulting in better quality products or services at lower prices.
  • Transparency: The process of tendering is transparent and impartial, ensuring that all bidders have the same opportunities and are evaluated based on a set of predetermined criteria.
  • Standardization: Tendering is usually governed by standard procedures and rules, making it easier for organizations to comply with regulations and manage the procurement process efficiently.
  • Cost savings: Tendering can result in cost savings for organizations, as bidders are often willing to lower their prices to win the contract.
  • Access to new suppliers: Tendering allows organizations to identify and evaluate new suppliers, providing opportunities for innovation and diversification.

However, tendering is not always the best option for organizations. Here are some of the disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming: The process of tendering can be extensive and time-consuming, requiring significant resources to complete.
  • Increased administrative burden: Tendering requires a lot of documentation and paperwork, making it an administrative burden for organizations.
  • Reduced flexibility: Once a contract has been awarded, organizations may be tied to the terms and conditions of the contract, limiting their flexibility to respond to changing market conditions.
  • Risk of low-quality products or services: There is a risk that organizations may select bidders based solely on the lowest price, resulting in the procurement of low-quality products or services.
  • Reduced trust with suppliers: Tendering can sometimes strain relationships between organizations and existing suppliers, leading to reduced trust and loyalty.

In conclusion, putting out to tender can bring many advantages, such as increased competition, transparency, and cost savings. However, it can also have its disadvantages, including being time-consuming, an administrative burden, and having reduced flexibility. Organizations must evaluate the pros and cons of tendering carefully before deciding whether it is the right approach for their procurement needs.

Different Types of Tenders

When a company or organization needs to outsource a particular service, they may opt to put out a tender. Essentially, putting out a tender means that they are inviting bids from a variety of providers who are interested in taking on the project. However, there are different types of tenders that businesses can use depending on their needs.

  • Open Tender: This is the most common type of tender, where any supplier can submit their proposal to win the contract. The process is transparent, and all bidders are treated equally without any pre-qualifying criteria. This type of tendering is suitable when the company wants to maximize competition and bring in fresh ideas.
  • Selective Tender: In the selective tendering process, a business will prequalify a certain number of suppliers based on their expertise and ability to deliver the project. Only those chosen will be invited to submit a proposal. This type of tender can help businesses save time and effort as they only receive a limited number of bids.
  • Negotiated Tender: In this process, businesses will contact a few suppliers and negotiate the terms and conditions of the contract. This type of tender is usually used for complex and specialized projects, and suppliers are chosen based on their reputation and expertise.

Framework Agreements

Framework agreements are another type of tendering process, where businesses establish long-term contracts with a range of suppliers. These agreements set out the terms of the working relationship for a set period, usually 2-4 years, and several suppliers are involved. During this period, businesses agree to source products or services from selected suppliers rather than going through an open tender process.

Tender Evaluations

When a company receives bids from suppliers, they need to evaluate each proposal before selecting the successful bidder. The tender evaluation process is where each proposal is assessed based on specific criteria like quality, cost, and delivery timelines. Once an evaluation report is prepared, business owners can choose the best supplier to work with.

Criteria Description
Price The proposed price for the project or service.
Quality Evaluation of the ability to meet project requirements and previous experience in this field.
Delivery Timeframe The proposed timeline for delivering the project.
Service Delivery Evaluation of the supplier’s customer service and response times.

The tender evaluation criteria may differ depending on the business’s requirements, but they will all aim to assess the supplier’s ability to meet their needs.

Preparing a Tender Document

When it comes to putting out a tender, the tender document is a key component. This document outlines the requirements and expectations of the project, and is used by potential vendors to respond with their proposals. Below are some important factors to consider when preparing a tender document:

  • Clear and concise language: Avoid using technical jargon or overly complicated language that may be unclear to potential vendors. Use simple language to communicate your requirements and expectations.
  • Detailed project description: Clearly outline the scope of the project, including all tasks, milestones, timelines, and deliverables. This will ensure that potential vendors have a clear understanding of what is required and can respond more accurately.
  • Clear evaluation criteria: Clearly outline how responses will be evaluated and the criteria that will be used to assess proposals. This will enable vendors to tailor their proposals to meet your requirements.

In addition to the above factors, a tender document may also include a variety of other information depending on the project. This can include things like technical specifications, terms and conditions, and any other requirements specific to the project.

It is important to note that preparing a tender document takes time and effort, but the quality of the document will directly affect the quality of responses received. Taking the time to develop a thorough and comprehensive tender document will ensure that potential vendors can provide accurate and competitive proposals.

Components of a Typical Tender Document Explanation
Introduction A brief overview of the project and its requirements
Project Description Detailed explanation of the project, including tasks, timelines, and deliverables
Evaluation Criteria The criteria used to assess vendor proposals
Technical Specifications Technical requirements of the project, including any necessary equipment or software
Terms and Conditions The legal terms and conditions under which the project will be carried out
Submission Details Instructions for how vendors should submit their proposals, including deadlines and contact information

Overall, preparing a tender document requires attention to detail and clear communication of project requirements. A well-crafted tender document will attract competitive and accurate proposals, ultimately leading to a successful project outcome.

Evaluation Criteria for Tenders

When it comes to evaluating tenders, there are a number of criteria that need to be considered in order to select the best possible option. Here are five important factors that should be taken into account during the tender evaluation process:

  • Price: The cost of the tender should always be one of the primary factors to consider since it affects the budget of the entity requesting the tender. It’s important to ensure that the price is reasonable and competitive in relation to other tenders.
  • Quality: The quality of the tender also plays a role in the evaluation process. It’s crucial to assess the quality of the products or services offered, including their functionality, durability, and reliability. This can be done by examining past performance or by asking for samples and references.
  • Experience: The experience of the vendor is another essential criterion to evaluate since it can have an impact on the project’s success. It’s important to assess the company’s expertise, knowledge, and capabilities in the relevant field. The vendor’s track record, workforce, and management can also be taken into account.
  • Delivery time: The delivery time is another important consideration since it affects the timeline of the project. It’s important to make sure the tender provides a delivery schedule that meets the project timeline. The ability to deliver on time can be verified by references and experience records.
  • Compliance: The tender needs to comply with specific legal and regulatory requirements. Confirm that the tender meets all technical, quality, and statutory requirements. It is expected that the tender is submitted in accordance with the requirements in the bidding document and complete in all aspects.


Evaluating tenders is a crucial part of the procurement process. The criteria for evaluation should ensure that the final decision is based on a balanced assessment of various parameters. By analyzing the above criteria, you can objectively evaluate tenders and make a sound decision that is beneficial for your organization.

Tender negotiation strategies

As a business owner or procurement professional, putting out a tender can be a stressful and daunting task. However, it is important to remember that the negotiation process can actually be an opportunity to build stronger relationships with potential suppliers and get the best possible deal for your organization. Here are some tender negotiation strategies to keep in mind:

  • Do your research: Before entering into negotiations, it is important to do your homework. This means understanding the market, the potential suppliers, and their offerings. This will put you in a stronger position to negotiate effectively.
  • Set clear expectations: Be clear on what you are looking for in a supplier and what you expect from them. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings later on in the negotiation process.
  • Be flexible: Negotiations are a two-way street. While it is important to stick to your goals, remember that the supplier also has their own targets to meet. Being flexible and open to compromise can help to build a stronger working relationship.

One popular negotiation strategy is the Harvard Method, also known as interest-based or principled negotiation. This method is based on finding a mutually beneficial solution that satisfies both parties’ interests rather than just their positions. The Harvard Method involves four key steps:

  1. Separate people from the problem: It is important to focus on the issues at hand, rather than personalities.
  2. Focus on interests, not positions: Look for common ground and understand each other’s underlying interests and needs.
  3. Invent options for mutual gain: Brainstorm solutions that can benefit both parties.
  4. Insist on using objective criteria: Use facts and objective standards to evaluate potential solutions.

Finally, don’t be afraid to walk away from a negotiation if it is not meeting your needs. However, remember that future relationships with potential suppliers may be affected by how you handle the negotiation process, so it is important to approach negotiations with professionalism and respect.

Pros Cons
Can help to build stronger working relationships with suppliers Can be a time-consuming and complex process
Opportunity to get the best possible deal for your organization May involve some compromise
Can result in significant cost savings May not always result in the desired outcome

Overall, approaching tender negotiations with a clear strategy, flexibility, and professionalism can help to ensure a successful outcome for both parties.

Common mistakes to avoid when tendering

When putting out to tender, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can hurt your chances of winning the bid. Here are seven mistakes to watch out for:

  • Failure to submit on time: Submitting your tender after the deadline is a costly mistake that can disqualify you from the bidding process altogether. Pay attention to the submission instructions and plan ahead to avoid any last-minute mishaps.
  • Ignoring the details: Failing to read and fully understand the tender documentation can lead to incomplete or inaccurate submissions, which can harm your credibility. Make sure you review all details carefully and ask any questions before submitting.
  • Underestimating the competition: Assuming that your company is the clear choice can be a mistake. Make sure you research the competition, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, and highlight what makes your company stand out.
  • Inadequate planning: Poor planning can lead to incomplete submissions or costly errors. Take the time to prepare a detailed plan, including timelines and resources needed for successful implementation.
  • Ignoring compliance requirements: Many tenders have specific compliance requirements that must be met for consideration. Ensure that you fully understand any compliance requirements and have evidence to support your claims.
  • Price over quality: Focusing too much on price can cause you to overlook important quality factors, which can lead to subpar performance in the long run. Instead, aim for a balance between quality and price that meets the tender’s requirements.
  • Insufficient communication: Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings or mistakes that can delay the tender process. Make sure to ask clarifying questions, provide clear and concise responses, and follow up when needed.


Avoiding these common mistakes can help increase your chances of success when bidding for a contract. Take the time to carefully review the tender documentation, plan effectively, and communicate clearly to improve your chances of winning the bid.


This article is provided to give general guidance on tendering and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Tendering How to Avoid It
Failure to submit on time Pay attention to the deadline and plan ahead.
Ignoring the details Read all tender documentation carefully and ask questions.
Underestimating the competition Research and evaluate the competition to highlight your strengths.
Inadequate planning Take the time to plan effectively, including timelines and resources.
Ignoring compliance requirements Understand compliance requirements and have evidence to support your claims.
Price over quality Aim for a balance between quality and price that meets the tender’s requirements.
Insufficient communication Ask clarifying questions, provide clear and concise responses, and follow up when needed.

Make sure to keep these mistakes in mind to avoid costly errors and improve your chances of winning your next tender.

Frequently Asked Questions About Putting Out to Tender

Q: What exactly does it mean to put out to tender?
A: To put out to tender means to request quotes or proposals from various suppliers and service providers for a specified project or work.

Q: Why would someone put out to tender?
A: Putting out to tender allows businesses or organizations to compare prices and quality of work from different vendors, ensuring they get the best possible deal.

Q: Is putting out to tender only for large projects?
A: No, putting out to tender can be done for projects of all sizes.

Q: How do I put out to tender?
A: To put out to tender, you would first need to create a detailed brief outlining the project’s requirements, then send it out to potential vendors or post it on a tender platform.

Q: Do I have to choose the lowest bidder?
A: No, price is just one of the factors to consider when selecting a vendor. You should also take into account the quality of their work, experience, and reputation.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when putting out to tender?
A: Some common mistakes to avoid include not providing a detailed enough brief, not giving enough time for vendors to respond, and not considering all relevant factors when selecting a vendor.

Q: Is putting out to tender a legally binding process?
A: Yes, putting out to tender is a legally binding process that requires fairness and transparency in the selection process.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article helped you understand what it means to put out to tender and why it’s an essential practice for businesses and organizations. Remember to create a detailed brief, consider all relevant factors, and give vendors enough time to respond to ensure you get the best possible deal. Thanks for reading, and please visit again later for more informative content like this!