Bid Submission: How To Master It To Win More Contracts

Written by Bridget Cooper

DateFeb 7, 2024
Reading time8 min read
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Have you been missing out on potential contracts lately? Even those you’re uniquely qualified for? Chances are you’re not following the right bid submission process. Bid submission is one of the most important determinants of winning contracts. First, it helps convince the clients that you understand the project’s scope and its specifications. Second, you use it to showcase your qualifications and the necessary skills and experience to handle the project. 

Luckily, we will cover that in this guide to ensure your next bid submission is successful. We will also look at crucial bid submission tips to help you stand out from other bidders, but first, let’s define a bid submission. 

What is a Bid Submission?

A bid submission is a response by a bidder to an invitation to bid (ITB) or request for proposal (RFP) made by a client.

A client first creates a bid package highlighting the project’s scope, qualifications, and deadlines to solicit bids from qualified bidders. 

Bidders then go through the information in the bidding package and craft desirable aligning with the project specifications. Such proposals maximize their chances of winning a contract. A good bid includes cost breakdown, project approach, and different project phases. 

Now that we know what a bid submission is, let’s look at the process. 

What is the Bid Submission Process?

The bid submission process varies depending on the client’s practices, project type, and the industry. Here is a quick rundown of the basic steps involved in a project bid submission.

Bid Solicitation

The project manager initiates the process by inviting potential and interested bidders to bid on the project. They outline the project’s specifics in the bidding documents and include crucial details like designs, work units, materials, dimensions, quantities, quality, and every detail that will help bidders understand the project. 

A client could issue different bidding documents, like an invitation to bid (ITB), request for proposal (RFP), request for quotes (RFQ), etc, to solicit bids. Again, it depends on the project type, industry, and the project’s complexity. 

Bid Preparation

After receiving the bid documents from the potential client, it’s time to carefully evaluate and review them. 

Review every bid form for key details like specifications, project scope, designs, timeline, and submission guidelines. Doing so helps you understand the project requirements and expectations. By understanding the project, you can then craft an appealing and targeted proposal using the following information:

Company Details

Start by including information like the company’s name, address, years of operation, and experience. Have you worked on any similar project successfully? Include that as well. 

Cost Breakdown

An effective cost breakdown helps to promote transparency, make informed decisions, and cost control. Include all the costs involved in the project. Include direct and indirect costs.

Project Approach

Show the proposed methodology you’ll follow to complete the project. Include the team and equipment needed for the project. 

Qualifications

Do you have any relevant licenses and certifications? Make sure you include them. Including these documents will give you a competitive edge over bidders who don’t have them.  

Bid Evaluation

The project proposal evaluation and screening process takes time. That’s because the client has to go through each submission manually, analyzing key details to find a winning bid. 

You should expect to hear back from the project owner within a few weeks or months, depending on the submission volume. 

The evaluation criteria vary depending on the client’s demands and the nature of the project. However, it’s common for clients to rely on the following when evaluating submitted bids:

Bid Completeness

First, the client checks to see if you have completed your proposal based on the requirements. Every bid package a client offers has instructions on completing and submitting bids. A proposal that doesn’t fulfill all the requirements or comply with instructions is disqualified. 

The Total Project Cost

Project cost is crucial in determining the winning bid. Most of the time, clients award contracts to the lowest bidders. Even so, you shouldn’t submit the lowest bid just to win contracts. Instead, you must factor in all direct, indirect, and overhead expenses. Additionally, you should include construction markups in every expense to cover unforeseeable expenses, like overtime and time theft. 

Experience and Qualification

A project manager is likely to favor a bidder who demonstrates proper experience in similar projects. Including testimonials or reviews from former clients in your proposal helps to convince the client you’re the right fit for the job. 

Qualifications, such as financial statements, help to prove your company’s financial status. A healthy financial status means you're capable of completing the project without experiencing financial challenges.

They also help to build trust and improve your chances of winning the contract. Ensure you include every qualification the client has requested in their bid documents. 

Proposed Timeline

Every client sets a deadline for their project and will likely choose a bid with similar or closer deadlines. 

For instance, if a client has a two-year deadline on a shopping mall construction project, they’re more likely to choose a bidder who has indicated a two or two-and-a-half-year deadline. 

Although many projects have strict deadlines, it’s best to extend them slightly when submitting your bid. Doing so ensures you have enough extra time to cater for potential delays. For instance, logistical and supply delays are common in many projects. 

Contract Negotiation

Getting to this stage of the bid submission process means your bid is shortlisted. During this stage, a client invites you to negotiate terms before awarding the contract. 

Negotiations often involve the project’s price, specific clauses, and timeline. 

Regarding the project’s price, the contract outlines payment schedules and how much will be paid. Specific clauses like handling delays ensure the contractor understands the consequences of such actions. The project timeline defines the project’s phase and overall deadlines.

Contract negotiations help the parties come to a mutual agreement. The guidelines ensure everyone discharges their responsibilities without failure. 

Now that we know the bid submission process, let’s look at the best submission tips to ensure your proposals stand out from the competition.

Bid Submission Tips to Improve Your Chances of Winning Contracts

Submitting a bid doesn’t guarantee winning the project. You must research the project to understand its scope and requirements. Here are some bid submission tips to help you stand out. 

Bid Completion

Don't be like many bidders who leave out parts of the bid requirements when submitting their bids.  

To avoid this issue, always review the bid documents in depth, highlighting every vital detail. Ensure you include all the information regarding these details before you submit a bid. 

Besides completing the bid, you must also use clear and simple English. Avoid using slang or jargon in your bid documents. Don’t get too technical when discussing project details. Instead, write all the information as you would write to a friend. 

Accompanying Documents

Every project requires bidders to submit supporting documents, which vary with the project type. Review the bid package to see which documents the client requests. 

In most cases, they’d request financial documents to prove the bidder’s liquidity. They’d also request licenses, certificates, and insurance documents. Ensure you have all these before you submit a bid.

Bid Format

Clients have different bid format requirements, which they outline in the bid package. Ensure your bid aligns with the required format to avoid disqualification. If the client has included any specific format, it’s always best to contact them and ask about the required format to be on the safe side. 

Submission Deadline

Every bidding process has a deadline, and the client communicates this in the bid documents. 

However, submitting your bid earlier doesn’t guarantee winning the contract. Your bid must be specific and address the project thoroughly to convince the client you’re the right contractor.

Clients leave ample time for bidders to read through the bid documents, research the market, and craft their bids. They also indicate how they want bidders to submit their bids.

Use this time to ask for clarifications or specific questions to ensure your bid aligns with the project’s requirements. Also, utilize the correct submission method indicated by the client. For instance, if the client requires all bids to be mailed in, ensure you do that. However, many clients prefer electronic submission as it's instant and reliable.  

Late bids won't be accepted and are automatically disqualified.

Final Thoughts

Bid submission is a lengthy and important process for winning contracts. Clients evaluate the information in submitted bids when choosing a winning proposal. That’s why contractors must include details aligning with the project’s scope to increase their chances of winning the contract. Submitting the bid on time is vital, as it gives the client enough time to review it. It’s also crucial to use simple and clear English when writing the bid details. 

Written by Bridget CooperUpdated on Feb 23, 2024

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