One of the statements I hear most often from customers and potential customers is, “Why didn’t I know that xyz local authority was tendering that contract? I could have done that work.” The inference is that the tendering authority concerned should have made contact with the company, and invited them to tender. My response is always something along the lines of, if you want to work with a publicly funded organisation, the emphasis is on you to find the contracts.
So, that begs the question, where do I find tenders?
There are lots of web portals that provide details of tender opportunities. Some are free to use, others require you to subscribe for a fee. Lots make claims about how many tenders they publish, and I don’t intend to get into which one is the best because frankly, they are all slightly different and it very much depends on your business as to which one is relevant to you.
I always recommend that businesses start by registering with Contracts Finder http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/
This is a free to use portal, that carries details of public sector contracts with a value greater than £10,000. Contracts Finder is used by central government departments, non departmental public bodies, NHS, local authorities and prime contractors to Government departments. As well as detailing live opportunities, it also gives information on contracts that have been awarded. A daily email update is sent to you outlining new opportunities that are available.
Contracts Finder will give information about the contract and details of what steps you need to take to register an interest, or to download relevant documentation that will allow you to gauge whether or not the opportunity is one that is suitable for your business.
So, as a place to start, Contracts Finder is not bad. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t perfect, but you could do a lot worse. If you would like details of other procurement portals that exist, then do let me know!