Answers to questions I get asked by my clients and prospects
Do you offer a ‘No Win, No Fee’ guarantee?
There are a lot of either inexperienced bid writers, or high turnover service companies that will offer ‘no win, no fee’ type loss leader services. Having a very tight budget, they will not have the skill or time to take time and care with your bid document.
For example, your prospect may not like your solution, or the price may not be right. Or there may be some history between you that I am not aware of.
What you will get though is my commitment to provide the very best response to your tender. This will be done by using the information you provide about your organisation, my own knowledge and research into your competitors. I will help you to create your win theme and a concise but detailed and persuasive response.
In addition, I will ensure you have the relevant policies, procedures and accreditations in place and that everything is up to date.
However, it doesn’t matter how good your bid is, you won’t win every one. Someone else could have lower costs, be willing to offer more added value, more experience, more accreditations, or have more staff to deliver the service.
I love working with my customers by developing a close relationship and getting to know their business in detail. As time goes by I can offer much better value and faster response times because I get to know their business so well.
So, in a well-known phrase – you pay your money and take your choice. It all depends on the sort of budget you have. Overall a good bid writer will bring significant business growth and is worth every penny.
How much does your bid writing service cost?
Each client and each bid writing project is different and for this reason we will provide an individual estimate or guide price. We consider:
- Familiarisation time to understand your business and the specification and requirements of the tender.
- The number of questions that must be answered and their relevant word or page counts.
- The amount of formatting required.
- Whether I am writing from scratch or reviewing, editing, proofreading. I will also consider if you require graphic design and any bid management you require.
- Your budget – if you have a specific budget I will discuss how we can reach a compromise to give you what you need within your budget.
- Timescales. Obviously there will be a premium applied if you need additional evening or weekend work.
My costs are based on the amount of work required to complete your tender to a high standard and any expenses are charged at cost. Many clients prefer a fixed price for each tender, but we are happy to work on a daily or an hourly rate if you prefer. As a guide prices start from £450 for some simple support.
To bid or not to bid? That is the question!
There is a recognised strategy you can employ when deciding whether to submit a bid. You can read more about this in my blog post – To bid or not to bid
When should we get in touch with you?
Lots of organisations get in touch with me at the last minute to see if I can help them. This is not a good idea for two reasons:
- Firstly, it doesn’t give us much time to review the documents and put together a quality winning bid document.
- Secondly, I may well already be busy working up to someone else’s deadline.
Sometimes you might only find out about a bid opportunity a short time before it’s due in. If this is the case, please get in touch straight away because I can help you decide whether or not to go for it.
Don’t forget that if you are the incumbent and are already doing the work for that buyer – you should know when the contract will expire. Buyers often use this opportunity to re-think what they need and how they want the contract to run in the future.
As the current supplier, you are in a strong position to find out more about what the bid will contain and in some cases might be able to influence the content. Make sure you have a relationship with the buyer at this point.
Also, bear in mind that you can’t rely on their knowledge of you and your products and services to win the bid. All bid applications must be treated as new and unknown bidders by the assessors which means that you can’t afford to miss out vital content because you think they will already know about it. In some cases, bids are marked and reviewed by external agencies which is intended to provide a level playing field. It could be argued that re-bids are more important than new contracts because you won’t want to lose revenue you’ve been relying on for several years. Whether you engage a bid writer at an early stage or as an editor nearer to the bid deadline, you should start thinking about how you’re going to approach this bid well in advance.
How does the bid writing process work?
I have a detailed bid writing process handout which you can request. Here is a simple overview:
Before we start, I’ll ask you to complete a form which collects all your basic company information. I’ll also ask for a copy of past bids (preferably winning ones) and other marketing collateral, for example, brochures, flyers, internal documents. I’ll also have a look at your website. I’ll also ask for copies of your policies and procedures.
All of this information will usually be enough to start on the first draft of your bid document. I’ll also ask for access to a ‘subject matter expert’ and arrange calls to gather any further information I need.
Any additional information can be sent over to me by email, over the phone, or any other means that suits you.
Unless you want to do so, there is no specific requirement to have a kick-off meeting and trying to get everyone together at one time.
In most cases, I will also create a master list to project manage the bid. This usually takes the form of an excel sheet so that we can chart the progress of your questions and nothing slips through the gap.
Why aren’t you answering your phone?
There are one or two reasons why I can’t always answer my phone.
Firstly, writing is a high-concentration task. If I interrupt my flow to take calls and reply to emails, it can take some time to get back into the ‘zone’. However, I will respond as soon as I can when I take a break – and if it’s your bid I’m working on, you will be happier if I am focused.
Secondly, part of bid writing is gathering information and talking to subject matter experts, so I may be busy on the phone already, or on a Zoom or Teams call.
Lastly, I also conduct training courses for my clients, which means I can’t pick up the phone when I am in full flow during a training course. I will, of course, get back to you as soon as we have a break.
Will you work in our offices while the bid is being put together?
I think Covid has shown us all how we can easily work without being onsite, and lots of new technology is now commonplace to help us to do this.
As a general rule, this is not necessary, although I am happy to visit for meetings. I work for a whole variety of organisations all over the UK and often have other commitments that I am working on at the same time. There are often periods of time when I am waiting for further information or documentation from a client, or for them to review and approve a draft – so I may be working on two or more projects at once, for different clients.
When I do work at a client’s offices, I charge a full working day and travel expenses, which bumps the price up significantly. By working from my office, I’m able to keep costs to my clients at a minimum by only charging for the hours I work on their project, and of course, there are no expenses.
In these days of emails, online document sharing, Zoom, Teams and other ways to communicate, it’s not essential to be onsite except in very unusual circumstances.
Can you help us find and apply for a grant to fund our project?
While tenders are similar in many ways to grants and funding applications, there are also some significant differences. Like tenders, grants and funding applications require that you provide a lot of persuasive detail about your organisation, the way you will run and monitor your project, and what benefits you will bring to the funding body, to ‘win’ the funding contract.
I can provide some pointers on where to look for suitable funding, but it is important that you review each opportunity carefully to ensure you are eligible and that it is a good fit for both you and the funder.
If you have already decided upon a particular fund or grant, and need specialist help with answering the questions, then I can also help you. I also provide training to help you be more self sufficient in bidding for funding. Get in touch for more details.
How many delegates can attend your training courses?
Some of our best courses have included the whole bid team where we can discuss the approach of the organisation, challenges shared, and everyone gets to hear best practise in a climate where they can discuss and debate the way forward. The size of this group will vary depending on the size of your bid team.
However, too large a group can reduce my ability to response to specific questions or to provide individual support where needed.
For this reason, the optimum group size for face-to-face and virtual training is between 12-15 delegates. Although if your group is larger I can provide a tailored solution for you.
At the other end of the scale, I have also had very successful courses with as little as two delegates who enjoyed a more personal approach.
The other option is to look at online training which individuals can work through at their own pace – and of course I can provide that too!
Is there any post training support?
Yes, for face-to-face and virtual training I offer six months post course support via email. For online training – because of the numbers, I offer a facebook group where delegates can ask questions that may well be answered by me, or by one of the other members of the group.
How about public training courses?
I offer a few public bid writing courses – please see dates when advertised. These are generally held as virtual courses on Zoom.
If there are likely to be confidentiality conflicts if delegates want to be very open, I also also offer 1-to-1 virtual training / mentoring if required. This results in a privately focused session which can be closely customised to the needs of the individual.
If you have any questions I haven’t answered here, then please get in touch.