Bid Writing - Common Mistakes

  • Published on: 11 July 2019
  • By: Victoria Heritage

We understand that Bid Writing is not an easy job. It requires thought, preparation, experience and perfect execution – together they secure the ultimate result that we always want - the win!

But, the job does not need to be that difficult!

eXceeding’s consultants are experienced in both responding to bids, running procurements as well as evaluating bids. This means that we have the experience from both sides  of the bidding process; from writing responses through to how they’re evaluated and scored. Through years of experience, eXceeding consultants have witnessed the most  common bidding mistakes that can be avoided.


Listed below are the most common mistakes to avoid.

Are you compliant?

Ensure you are able to deliver all of the elements of the specification before you start compiling your response; if you cannot meet the mandatory requirements, you really need to evaluate your bid no bid decision.  There is no point in taking the time and effort in responding to a bid if you do not comply with the specification.  Pick and choose your battles. 


The key with bid writing is detail. Paying attention to the detail in the specification is essential when starting the bidding process. Make sure that you have read and understood the specification, double check that the tender is right for you and make sure that you have a clear strategy on how to respond to the bid. There are many factors which you need to be aware of before you start answering the questions. These include:

  • Is there a portal? 

Don’t ever leave it till the last minute to find out if there’s a portal! Make sure that you’ve previously researched and made yourself familiar with the portal to avoid last minute panic

  • When is the deadline date?

Do you really want to be the company who submits late? Make sure that you know your timings down to the last minute to avoid embarrassment. If you fail to deliver your bid when you were specified to do so, it can immediately result in rejection

  • Do you know what needs to be answered?

Don’t waste time answering questions that don’t apply to you. Waffling about a topic that has no relevance to you is a waste of resource

  • Is there a page / word count limit?

If you go over the word or page count limit then the additional text will be disregarded by the evaluation or your submission rejected. If you’ve read the documentation then it will be clear which answers need to be answered and word/page limits. Ensure you are within these limits to comply with the instructions.

  • Have you read and understood the brief?

As it is said by many, failing to prepare is preparing to fail! If you don’t fully understand what is being expected of you, then how will you be able to confidently respond to your bid to the best of your ability? Preparation is key in order to avoid any uncertainty about what needs to be done, by whom and by what date. Plan, plan plan!

Answering the question

As well as paying attention to detail, answering with the same level of detail is essential.  But, there is a fine line between including too much and too little detail in your response. Evaluators want to see a clean and crisp response which is to the point and meets the specification criteria.  Finding the fine line between giving a detailed response and going over the top can be very difficult to qualify. The best place to start is to focus on the question that is being asked of you and stick to that. Answering the question may seem like the easiest task when bidding. But so many businesses fail to answer the question at hand and instead, just talk about themselves. The evaluator doesn’t want to know what you can do; they just want their question answered properly. Make sure you know what the question is specifically looking for. Whether that’s having a prime focus on your credentials, experience, case studies or references, know what is needed in the response to avoid wasting time and effort.

Over emotional

It can be difficult for some organisations to be completely impartial when responding to the specification criteria. Evaluators don’t want to see emotional responses as they are looking for an unbiased response which doesn’t get influenced over personal opinions.  Use evidence/data to back up your statements.


It is easily forgotten about, but reviewing the final submission is crucial. Spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes are made by everyone no matter how experienced you are. The last thing you want is for a typo error to be the reason that you fail to qualify. Something that is so easily avoidable, like a simple spelling mistake, could be the difference between being awarded the contract and being rejected. Reviewing your work is the perfect opportunity to check, and double check your work to make sure it is free from any errors. You can add in key information that you may have missed out. Be sure that your responses reflect the key messages that you want to get across in your submission.  

The bidding process doesn’t need to be a stressful or nerve wracking experience to go through. With eXceeding’s assistance, you will have the expertise and advice from our professionals to guide you through the process.

For further information on responding to Bids and Tenders please visit our Bid Writing Services page or call us today on 03333 555 115.