How do Government Tenders Work?

Every year, government agencies publish thousands of tendering opportunities for businesses of all sizes. Bidding and securing such an opportunity may appear difficult, even daunting. Therefore, before you start engaging with government agencies, as a potential supplier or service provider, it’s essential for you to understand how government tenders work. Consequently, understanding the tender process will give you a greater chance of a winning bid.

What are Government Tenders?

Tender usually refers to the process whereby governments invite bids for large projects that must be completed within a finite deadline. When government or councils ‘put out a tender’, the government is basically asking for offers to do work on a contract basis. Subsequently, the government seeks responses from multiple suppliers or service providers in a competitive process. Then, they evaluate and accept the tender response that best meets their needs and offers the best value for money. Lastly, when the government accepts a tender, it becomes binding to both the government and the successful tenderer.

What are the Main Steps in the Tender Process?

Find the Opportunities

Firstly, you need to know where to look for open business opportunities that the government agencies offer. You can start by using AusTender to locate any tendering opportunities that are offered by the federal government. Each state and territory government, however, has its own agency responsible for tenders and you can locate their tender opportunities at the following websites:

You can also register for free notifications so that you don’t miss out on any great potential opportunities.

Register Your Interest

After you have analysed a tender request and decided it is a good opportunity for your business, it’s time for you to register your interest. Make sure you follow the instructions in the tender document to register your interest with the government agency. Moreover, this step will help keep you up to date on any tender information sessions.

Attend Information Sessions

Monitor the same website for updates about the tender. If they are offering any information sessions, make sure you attend them. These sessions can provide valuable opportunities to ask questions and make contact with the agency. It is however, important to remember that government agencies are under no obligation to make available copies of information that may be given at an information session.

Develop a Strategy

Before submitting your brief, it’s important for you to plan your tender carefully. You can do this by clearly mapping out:

  • The cost to prepare the tender
  • The amount of resources you will need to fulfil the contract
  • Any existing competition and the chances of winning
  • A plan for marketing products and services

Write a Good Tender Response

As a potential supplier or service provider, you will need to submit a tender response, also known as a price, bid or expression of interest. When writing your tender response, make sure you structure your tender document clearly. However, if the specification document doesn’t ask for any particular structure or format, keep your document clear and logical. Also, make sure that you provide all relevant details:

  • Your ABN
  • A company profile and capability statement
  • Whether you propose to subcontract
  • The price for each product or service you propose, and an indication of whether these are fixed or variable
  • Any conditions affecting the price
  • Delivery details and charges
  • A proposed schedule indicating milestones or delivery dates
  • Whether goods or services are periodic or recurrent
  • GST and other taxes
  • Applicable insurances
  • Intellectual property rights where relevant
  • A description of any variations you propose in meeting the conditions of the contract.

Then, remember to follow the criteria in the tender request. Make sure that your offer meets the buyer’s needs. Accordingly, you could make your response look more attractive to buyers by adding some referees in your response.

Submit Your Bid

Remember to proofread your proposal before you submit it. Firstly, use a checklist to ensure that your bid meets all the requirements.  Then, make sure you submit your tender on time. Later or incomplete tender responses are usually excluded from consideration barring exceptional circumstances.


To conclude, securing a government contract can help your business grow tremendously. While it does take time and resources to make thorough bids, they’re often well-worth the effort. Having a government agency in your client portfolio will not only open up many doors for you but will also increase the value of your company. Thus, if you are considering doing contractual work for the government and need assistance in writing a good tender response, contact a business lawyer today.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

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