Whether you’re new to the world of tendering or want to take your business to the next level by landing a government project, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about open tenders in Australia.
Open tenders: what are they?
Open tenders are tenders that anyone can apply to. Most commonly used by government departments in Australia, but especially the construction and engineering industry, open tenders ensure transparency, allows businesses of all sizes to compete with each other for the project and reduce whispers of nepotism.
But while open tenders provide small, medium and large-sized businesses with an even playing field, they also lead to more competition for a single project. In order to stand out from all the other bidding organisations, an application truly needs to stand out. Additionally, the sheer number of applicants also means it takes evaluators more time to go through all the applications.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are restricted, selected, limited or ‘invited’ tenders. These are exclusive tenders that can only be applied to by companies who have been invited to do so. Although rare, these tenders are usually put out only when the service required is very urgently required or may be extremely niche.
How to find open tenders
You can find open tenders in several locations, but the sheer volume of open tenders you can apply to can be overwhelming. The first step for a business should always be narrowing down its target market and determining the kind of services it is capable of providing. There are two main types of tenders:
- Private tenders
- Government or public tenders (state, federal or local).
More likely to be invited or selected tenders, private tenders can be difficult to find and apply to. Not only are they less likely to be broadly advertised, but they may also only be sent out to companies or service providers the organisation has previously worked with.
The best way of earning a spot in the list of suppliers an organisation may consider the next time it needs something is to develop a good professional relationship with them. This may involve pitching your services even when there are no tenders open for you to apply to. Even if it doesn’t amount to much, it will get you on their radar.
On the other hand, government tenders are usually fairly easy to find. All federal government tenders are advertised on the official tender portal of the Australian Government, AusTender. Not only can you search for a relevant tender for your industry by using keywords, but you can also sign up for free notification services which alert you when a matching opportunity becomes available.
However, each state and territory also have their own tender portals, namely:
- Victoria: Buying for Victoria Tenders Portal
- New South Wales: e-Tendering
- Queensland: QTenders
- Western Australia: Tenders WA
- South Australia: SA Tenders and Contracts
- ACT: Tenders ACT
- Northern Territory: Quotations and Tenders Online (QTOL)
- Tasmania: Tasmanian Government Tenders
Many of these platforms also provide businesses new to the tendering world helpful tips on creating their first tender response.
When it comes to local government tenders, while many of these may be advertised on the respective state portal, many others would only be advertised on their own website. To find local tenders, consider contacting the council of the area you want to work in and ask them if they have any upcoming projects that may be open to tender.
However, Bidsmith collects all the advertised open tenders in Australia from state, territory and federal governments and puts them in one place for easy access. This streamlines the process, allowing businesses to access all open tendering opportunities from a single place.
Top Tips For Success
In order to stand out from the rest of the applicants, follow the quick steps below. Need more help writing your first tender response? Head on over to our free tender writing tips section for a detailed view into understanding the tendering world.
A tender application may come with a template and may ask applicants to lodge their proposals in a specific format or by a specific date. It is very important to follow any instructions given to a T, as deviating from them can make it difficult for a panel to review and assess your response and also indicates that you cannot follow instructions.
Include the requested information
Unfortunately, it is fairly common for businesses to miss out on winning an open tender because they left a section blank, or failed to include the requested information. If the tender request asks you to provide any licences or certifications in order to qualify, it is essential that you provide them. These requests may also include hard details such as a company profile, registered ABN, proposed prices, GST and other taxes and intellectual property rights.
Even if the tender request does not come with a template, it is important to structure your response in a way that is easy to follow and is as clear as possible. You don’t want ambiguity or layout issues getting in the way of you winning your first tender!
Perhaps the most important of all, don’t forget to proofread! Get someone uninvolved in the tender response creation process to go over the proposal before submissions. It is very easy for spelling and grammar mistakes to sneak through and damage the image of your company.
Whether you need help finding open tenders in Australia or are just looking for some handy tips to improve your bid writing skills or even if you want to enlist the help of a professional bid writer for your first tender, Bidsmith is here for you. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for your business.