10 tips to get a government tender

2015-04-28 08:00

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Government tendering is big business and, if done correctly, can stimulate the South African economy, and sustain and grow local businesses.

With more than 660 departments issuing requests throughout the year, the tender process can be busy, complicated and open to abuse. It is also a sector that is most often misunderstood, with many cries of foul play.

Opentenders.com, South Africa’s first business social-media networking portal, shares its top 10 tender tips:

1. Supplier databases – if you are not registered here, you might not be able to tender

All government departments have a supplier database. Decide which sectors are most pertinent to your business and register to do business with that particular department.

During the registration process, you will be required to submit an original, current and valid tax clearance certificate and a BEE certificate.

You will also be required to submit copies of your company registration to prove its existence.

There are 660 government institutions. If you want to do business with all of them, you will need to repeat the registration process 660 times.

Government has, however, proposed a one-stop supplier registration portal – www.e-tender.gov.za – which will do away with the laborious process of registering in multiple government institutions.

2. Make sure you know what’s out there

Government institutions issue more than 200 tenders and requests for quotation daily. To keep abreast of opportunities in your sector, subscribe to a service that will provide you with regular

and up-to-date email notifications for all those tenders in the sector that will be of interest to your business. Online platform www.opentenders.com offers such a service.

3. Note the closing date and time for the tender, and respond early

The business of government tendering is a numbers game. The more times you respond to tenders, the more likely you will obtain a tender.

The first thing to do once you have received a notification that there is a tender in a specific department (relevant to your business and secure in the knowledge you have the capacity to perform) is to confirm when and where you can pick up the tender documents.

Then identify the process of responding. Will it be by hard copy to be delivered at a tender box, or will it be by electronic submission? Most tenders require hard copy to be physically delivered to a tender box before a specified closing date and time.

4. Read the terms and conditions of the tender carefully, and pay attention to what is required for you to tender

The tender notification will indicate if there is a tender briefing and whether it’s compulsory or not.

We suggest attending the tender briefing because you will get better insight into what is expected of the successful bidder and can then make an informed decision on whether to apply for the tender in the first place, and what to highlight in the application to increase your chances of success.

5. Read the document from beginning to end, complete the tender documents, and attach supporting documents, a BEE certificate and valid tax clearance

Government officials receive a multitude of tenders, so they tend to look for reasons to cut down the numbers of documents they take to the adjudication committee. If the tender documents are not filled in properly, or an accompanying document like a BEE certificate or valid tax certificate is not attached, they will immediately disqualify that application.

6. Submit before closing date

Failure to submit a tender on time is grounds for disqualification. Government officials will not even bother to open it, so they will never know all the considered information you included in the tender and all the time you took to collate it.

7. Price competitively and prove you can do it

When evaluating a tender, officials are looking for a tenderer who distinguishes itself from the competition and price. When all is said and done, price is the number one consideration. There are, of course, other factors besides price that need to be focused on to increase your chances of success. These are demonstrating innovativeness, and the capacity to deliver by submitting a picture gallery of your previous work or a testimonial from satisfied customers. Prove your ability to deliver on the work tendered.

8. Confirm that your tender documents have been received

Sadly, there have been numerous instances where tender boxes have been tampered with. Our recommendation is to call and ensure that the person for whom the tender was intended, has received it. Follow this up with an email just to be on the safe side.

9. Keep a copy of your submitted tender document with all its attachments

This is necessary for your own records and knowledge base for future tenders. It is also a vital back-up if your documents go missing.

10. Stay informed about when the adjudication committee is going to sit to consider your tender

It often happens that the tender was submitted with valid accompanying documents, such as a tax certificate and BEE certificate, but at the time of the sitting of the adjudication committee, the documents have lapsed. Ensure that the latest valid documents are furnished to the parties concerned at the time of the sitting of the adjudication committee.

.?Maqungo is CEO of Opentenders

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