Last edited 20 Oct 2020

Bidding tactics


Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.”

--Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC)

[edit] Introduction

When a contractor or other supplier wishes to secure work for its business, it will usually submit a proposal (a ‘tender’, 'quote' or ‘bid’) to a prospective client and in so doing becomes a ‘bidder’. The bid is a detailed description of how the supplier will manage and complete the works required if chosen by the client.

This will involve bidding tactics - specific, small steps (or micro actions) the company takes in order to secure the work. These small steps combine to form a broader bid strategy (or macro action).

In the most basic sense, tactics can help companies define HOW to accomplish a goal while strategies define WHAT the goal will be. Generally, that goal will be to win the bid.

In a practical sense, the bid strategy will inform the definition of the bidding tactics. For more information see: Bid strategies.

[edit] Components of bidding tactics

Tactical decisions may come in the form of estimates or approximations of what materials, tools, personnel and other resources could be required for the project. For example, when working on a demolition project, a tactical question may be, ‘is there a need to include an estimate for a skip?’ The answer to this tactical question will be reflected in bid.

One tactic is to submit the most accurate bid possible. However, it's important not to reveal specific information, especially related to price or execution plans, to other potential bidders. Tactics may also include money saving factors that can be incorporated into the bid.

Having the ability to recognise important bidding tactics may require managerial skills and experience in the field. An effective project manager who can manage the process and make decisions on priorities, will ideally arrive at solutions that are advantageous for the project as a whole.

Bidding tactics will vary from project to project. Some of the factors that could influence how to bid (or tactical approaches) may include:

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