A majority of tenders come from the public sector, however, there are many private sector businesses that are using tendering to fulfil their needs. Private sector tenders don’t have to legally be published on Government portals. This means that private sector businesses will follow their own procurement policies to make decisions on where and when their tenders will be posted, and who in turn can make a bid for them.
Private sector businesses have a much greater amount of control over their tenders and this often leads to far more lenient rules and guidelines for bidders. This means it can often be a lot easier to win a private sector tender as opposed to a public sector tender. Many private-sector tenders are B2B tenders and have a stronger focus on more specific information about bidders when choosing their bids. This information can include past relationships with the bidder, efficiency, the tech and machinery you have, past experience, and costing.
Similarly to public sector businesses, a private sector business is going to be concerned that bidders have necessary accreditations. While they are less regulated, private sector companies are still going to be interested in ensuring your business is qualified to meet the needs of a tender and will be interested in the past work you have completed.
A private sector tender will allow your business to gain opportunities and experience away from the norm of public sector tenders. The scope of goods and services in the private sector will also be significantly more diverse than in the public sector. This gives your business more opportunities to work on new projects with different scopes and specifications, making you a more skilled company capable of doing far more.
Because private sector tenders are not legally required to be posted on government portals finding them can be harder to find. Sometimes a private sector business will use a portal such as the government Find a Tender service, but this is not the norm and if private sector tenders are your primary goal as a business do not rely on this alone. Often private sector tenders are found through traditional sales methods or through word-of-mouth. One of the main ways they are found is through previous successful tenders and strong business relationships, this makes the importance of networking and bridge-building a central part of finding private sector tenders.
By building a strong relationship with private sector businesses you allow yourself to be on their radar. This then means that when a tender becomes available the business will consider you first and give you an edge over your competitors. Finding private sector tenders is not easy so by being proactive and building your network of contacts in the private sector is key to finding the tenders you want to win.
One of the main benefits of private sector tenders is the fact they are far less regulated and rigorously monitored compared to public sector tenders. This gives you as a business a greater amount of elbow room within the bidding process which makes winning a tender easier. Another benefit is that if one tender goes well you will have developed a stronger relationship with that business and this will then allow for more work in the future. Further, the lack of advertising reduces competition and the diversity in the private sector allows for different work and opportunities not available in the public sector.
One of the main drawbacks however is the fact private sector tenders are much rarer than public sector tenders, meaning there are less out there for you to find and bid on. Private companies are also not bound by the same requirements as public sector companies meaning they are not obliged to offer equal chances to bidders, not required to provide feedback on bids (successful or unsuccessful), and there is no standardised processes which in public sector businesses exist to make the process fairer.
Winning private sector tenders requires some specific approaches to ensure success. Firstly a lot of thought and care needs to be put into the bid writing. A tender document needs to be understood completely and your bid must demonstrate this understanding throughout to stand a chance of winning the tender. For private sector tenders, emphasising why you deserve the tender is centrally important, this is because in the private sector money is almost always the biggest deciding factor. This means if you can’t compete with funds, the bid needs to be incredibly strong.
Conduct thorough research into the company and tailor your bid to their values. You need to make sure that in your bid writing you reflect the identity of the business to show that you understand them and compliment them as a prospective business partner. Further to this make sure to reference your past work. Display your acumen as a business and show off the great work that you have completed in the past. For a private sector business, this will be so important as it assures them that working with you is a good investment and why you are the right option for them.
Private sector tenders are certainly rarer, harder to find, and trickier to win than public sector tenders. However, there is also far more diversity and opportunity for different types of work compared to the public sector, and potential for greater amounts of cash flow to you as a business can come from private sector business partnerships where there is likely less red tape in approving funding for tenders. This is why considering them for your business is a great move as a business.