Government contracts and tenders offer a lucrative business opportunity for small businesses as well as larger organisations.

Multi-million dollars of federal, state and local government opportunities are advertised each year. But do small businesses have the muscle power to win these contracts?

How small businesses can compete for government contracts

When it comes to competing for government tenders, your small business may be better placed than you think. Because government authorities need to achieve the best value for money in their procurement, small businesses can often position themselves effectively against larger bodies for a variety of contracts.

Tender writing tips

So how should you write a government tender for the best chance of success? Here are some tips:

  • Be prepared. Read the tender document in full, understand the conditions of the tender and make sure you have the capacity to meet its requirements. Seek advice to ensure your business structure is suitable for this opportunity.
  • Be informed. Attend all briefings and information sessions and ask any questions you need to clarify the requirements.
  • Be on time. Allow sufficient time to complete the tender and be aware of all deadlines.
  • Be organised. Make sure you can obtain the required insurance cover for your business — you will need to satisfy the requirements of the tender if you are the preferred respondent before the contract can be awarded, including having all insurance requirements in place. In addition, check all operation and procedure manuals are current and meet the requirements of the tender.
  • Be relevant. Make sure your capability statement is relevant to the scope of work that is being tendered on. Choose referees who understand the products or services you are tendering for.
  • Be complete. Address all the requirements and complete all documents, schedules and attachments, following the tender template format if one is provided. Once you have finished writing, ask someone else to proofread the submission to check for any errors.

It’s important for businesses to understand that tenders aren’t necessarily awarded on the lowest price, but on capability and value for money demonstrated in your submission. You should also describe how your business will manage and deliver the work and demonstrate the skills and experience of your team in carrying out similar projects. You should detail the value for money and benefits you will deliver and be clear about your pricing structure.

Tender and contract resources

These resources are a great place to start when looking to apply for government tenders and contracts:

More information

For more information on tendering and supply chain management, read:

For more information on growing your small business, attend one of our tendering and contracts workshops or contact our free business advisory service to speak to one of our experienced business advisers.

Starting and growing
28 September 2022