Tender Tips - Dos and Don'ts

Finding your way around government tenders is not always as straight forwards as it might seem. For companies looking to market to governments, understanding the way that tenders operate is vital for successful marketing.


In 2014 the Australian Government put into action the 2014 Commonwealth Procurement Rules which is a great place to start if you want to learn more about the public sector procurement process.

Government websites, such as the Department of Finance, generally provide decent information on tenders although there are some additional dos and don’ts that are worth noting before diving into the realm of government tenders.

Tender Tips and Strategy Advice

Do pay attention to public sector buying cycles. It always helps if you are able to pre-empt when the government will start to put out their tenders.

Do become familiar with the language of government and specific terms that are used in the tenders. This will help ensure that you completely understand what the tender is saying, which will in turn help your company put together a complete proposal that fulfils the brief.

Do sign up for tender alerts. Online tenders are a great place to start if you know who you are wanting to market to. Sites like AusTender is a great source of current tender information, and you can sign up to receive alerts every time a new opportunity arises. If you want to market to a particular state government, you can also go online and search tenders by states and territories.

Do keep up to date on government. This will give you an idea of which public sector areas are experiencing growth, shrinking or remaining stable.  This way you know which areas of the public sector to keep your eye on as they are likely to be needing supplies to keep up with their growth. Information Technology trends are also provide useful information for suppliers.

Don’t think that just because you’re a small to medium enterprise (SME) you don’t stand a chance against bigger corporations. According to the 2014 Commonwealth Procurement Rules, the government is required to source 10 per cent of its procurement from non-Commonwealth small to medium enterprises.

Don’t think it’s all about dollars. The aim of tenders is to promote competition between suppliers to give the government the best value for money. This does not always equate to the cheapest product. Rather than focusing on providing the cheapest proposal, concentrate on providing a quality product that fits the exact requirements of the tender.

Tender terminology

Open tender- everyone is welcome to submit a proposal

Prequalified- the agency putting out the tender will contact a shortlist of potential suppliers.

Limited tender- government approaches a select few suppliers

Collective bargaining- When companies work together on a proposal. There are strict guidelines when you can and can’t engage in collective bargaining so make sure you are familiar with the guidelines put in place by the ACCC.

ATM- Approach to market. This is a common term used in the government procurement process. 


For more tips on pursuing government tenders follow the A-ZGovBIZ twitter feed or visit our website.