Three tips to nail your tender submission

If you’re an architecture firm vying for any government or high-stakes commercial project, it’s likely that you have had to submit a tender submission. 

Crafting a tender submission can be one of the most challenging and arduous aspects of the job. There’s often little room for creativity, tedious requirements and an ever-encroaching deadline.   

Alicia Brown, founder of marketing consultancy firm New Doors, said the biggest challenge with tender submissions is raising the resources to respond to them well. 

Sometimes spanning over 60 pages long, a tender submission might ask architects to fill out dozens of forms to describe their understanding of the project. It might also require information regarding team members said to be working on the project, subcontractors you plan to hire, qualifications, relevant experience, plus more. 

“It’s always important to be strategic with tender submissions,” said Alicia. “Every tender is a problem that a client needs to solve. The response should really focus as much as possible on that problem and why your practice is best placed to solve it.” 

New Doors, based in Melbourne, is among the marketing consultancy firms that offer tender submission writing services to architects.  

The first step in the process involves “strategically assessing opportunities,” Alicia said. That means looking at the architect’s relationship with the client or project leader. Does the architect know people on the inside? Do they have any inside information on the project? Is it an open tender (meaning anyone can submit their proposal), or has the architect been invited to submit? These are all questions that practices should consider before deciding whether raising the resources to submit is worthwhile. 

While hiring outside help is highly recommended, especially for any first-timer, not every architecture practice will have the funds to do so.  

Here are three tips you can follow when crafting your tender submission, as recommended by Alicia. 

  1. Create an overall business strategy around the types of projects you want to win. It’s important to have a framework for deciding what a good project is for your practice, so you are not wasting your time. 

  1. Build relationships with clients and subcontractors prior to tender. One of the mistakes practices make is they will hear tenders are out, then they take a week to look at it, then another week to start work on it. If you are leaving your submissions to the last minute, and you haven’t developed relationships with the client and your nominated subconsultants, you’re not in the best position to succeed.  

  1. Be organized. You’ll want to be organized and have the resources in place so that your practice can respond quickly and efficiently when the time comes to submit a tender. Keep a running list of any upcoming projects in the pipeline so you never miss an opportunity.  

New Doors is a marketing and communications consultancy that assists architects, designers and businesses in the built environment industry to open doors to new opportunities.  Alicia also completed the Archibiz Designing Architectural Practice Success Course (DAPS). 

Our DAPS Course is perfect for architects who are looking to learn the business fundamentals and become confident, capable business leaders. Learn more about our eight-week program here.