I’m always amazed at how often the creative sectors say that they have never tendered for work. There are lots of opportunities for work that is won via competitive tender, and before you shiver at the very thought, below is an overview of where to find some of the potential tenders and also a brief overview of what actually happens
The first starting point I would recommend is this is free to register and is done by geographic area. (Top tip, if you have more than 1 email address then you can register for another area using a different email address!) Once you are registered you need to add in your “keywords” these can be obvious ones like “design” but be careful when selecting keywords as you may also end up with cross contamination for tenders such as “bridge design” which is construction related. Once you have added your keywords you will be sent a daily email alert containing tenders that are suited to you.
When your daily alert arrives, have a quick look through the details and see if you are interested. Be aware that some of the specification details will not be printed at this time, and you may have to request the documents in order to see a full spec and details of the requirement.
If you are interested you need to answer all of the questions (truthfully!) and send the response as per the details given. Some are emailed, and some are uploaded via an electronic portal but each tender will have instructions on how to respond within the documents. The tenders that are living at the moment are often linked to the Olympics and recently I have seen tenders for the creative design of cycle maps, visitor guides, and flyers in the past couple of months. The prestige of winning a contract which is for the Olympics is enormous and the credibility and publicity (subject to the client’s approval) can add serious amounts of kudos to your business.
The dedicated portal for registering for the Olympics is to be aware that you will need details of your company such as company registration number, legal entity, number of employees, turnover, insurance, etc for signing up for the competition portal. Although it may seem like a bit of a hassle, this way of looking for new business does guarantee that you will be considered for more work than you may have previously considered, but I have to warn you that competition is high, and often designs are required as part of the submission. This is to see if the client likes your style and creative eye.
Whilst I appreciate that tendering is not for everyone I do think that you should at least consider it as a method of looking for work that can be lucrative and prestigious, and neither of these qualities comes without a bit of a battle! Good luck in your tendering and remember if you get stuck and want to ask our resident agony aunt for all matters procurement log on and post your question.