Frequently Asked Questions

About Our Services

What is Tenders4U?

Tenders4U is a tender sourcing and alert service providing you with relevant business opportunities from the public and private sector.

There are hundreds of tender opportunities published daily, we source and bring these together to generate a massive tender resource and send you email alerts that are relevant to your business. To compliment the tender alert service we provide the BizQuote system to source and supply subcontracting opportunities and maximise your opportunities of winning new business, opening the door to subcontracting opportunities, and tenders that may have otherwise been out of reach. Every Local Authority in the country and every Public Sector body is now required to list their contracts and we are authorised to distribute these contract notices.

Tenders4U was born from our passion to provide economic growth to firms of all sizes, our goal for the past 16 years has always been to help companies find and win new business through specialist procurement services and tender alert services.

Who Should Use Tenders4U

Any company who is actively looking to grow their product distribution or service delivery, locally, nationally or into EU Countries, through tender bidding. SME's wanting to source business opportunities within the public sector, increasing their market share and earning potential would find Tenders4U an invaluable resource.

Local councils and public sector organisations are actively encouraged to use the website as their main tool for advertising low value contracts. BizQuote opportunities, where local SME's Biz profiles are made available for their consideration when looking for product/service delivery suppliers.

Prime contractors on public contracts are encouraged to use the BizQuote website to advertise their sub-contract opportunities.

How comprehensive is Tenders4U

We are permitted by the European Commission to distribute all the tender notices published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU).

We have a tender sourcing team dedicated to finding additional lower value tender opportunities from around the country - these sources include authority websites, regional and national e-tendering portals, trade journals and newspapers. Utilities such as Power Generation, Water Boards, Railways and Airports, together with other private sector organisations who publish both OJEU and Lower Value tenders, are available on Tenders4U.

Our tender administration department manually check coding of notices to ensure optimal distribution and accuracy of alert emails.

Why is Tenders4U better then other services?

When you combine our massive tender resources, a refined category and keyword inclusion /exclusion system, your bespoke business profile, and a responsive email alert system, you will have a market leading tender notification system unlike any other. Your personal account manager will assist you where necessary in refining your profile notice categories and key words, so you ultimately get notifications for all the opportunities you are looking for and none of what you don't want. Our intelligent, responsive alert system along with your personal account manager will refine this process to its optimal potential.

Your tailored profile is based on your active location, and you will only receive alerts for tenders within the territories you choose to work in. Meaning, you only pay for the territories you want, if you are a small start up and only want to work in your one local region, all you need is a single region subscription. If you are a large corporation wanting to work throughout the UK and Europe, there is a multi regional solution for you. Tenders4U subscriptions are intended to match your size and needs, so your profile is tailored to your capabilities.

Your account manager will be on hand during the course of your subscription. Should you require assistance in changing your profile at any time, choose from our convenient contact methods for support. Phone, live chat/messenger or email

We have created a user-friendly tender management control panel where you can view and manage your tenders; you can add tenders of interest to your Favourites folder, save them, print them or forward notices on to colleagues. Search our entire tender database including contract awards and access useful resources to help you with your tendering process. Follow our tender related blog, for additional tendering support resources. Our aim is to provide you with opportunities to prosper.

What is the cost of Tenders4U?

All pricing is based on a 12 month subscription, giving you access to unlimited tender opportunities that match your bespoke profile. We believe you shouldn't pay for something you won't use which is why we have 3 package options; Silver, Gold and Platinum based on the number of regions you choose to work in. There are 2 variations of these packages based on the value of the tenders your business can tender on. The various packages do not compromise user features. All users have full access to the intelligent tender management system.

High and Low value tender subscriptions include; Silver high and low value, Gold high and low value, Platinum high and low value.

Lower value tender subscriptions include; Silver low value, Gold low value and Platinum low value.

A lower value tender subscription can easily be upgraded to include High value tenders.

Silver subscriptions include one UK region and allow you to select additional territories of your choice at any time, essentially building your subscription to suit your growing product and service delivery needs.

Lower value tenders

Silver subscription £ 195.00 Excl. VAT

Includes one UK region and the option to purchase additional regions. Upgrade to include high value tenders.

Gold subscription £ 395.00 Excl. VAT

Includes all UK regions and the option to purchase EU territories. Upgrade to include high value tenders.

Platinum subscription £ 435.00 Excl. VAT

Includes all UK regions and EU territories. Upgrade to include high value tenders.

High and low value tenders

Silver subscription £ 295.00 Excl. VAT

Includes one UK region and the option to purchase additional regions.

Gold subscription £ 495.00 Excl. VAT

Includes all UK regions and the option to purchase EU territories.

Platinum subscription £ 535.00 Excl. VAT

Includes all UK regions and EU territories.

The full tender alert system, tender management platform and BizQuote are included in all packages.

How can I pay?

You can pay for your subscription by credit or debit card on our website.

If you have a problem making a payment online please contact us and we will assist you.

How do I get started?

Either use our online registration form here, or if you prefer, contact our customer services team and speak to one of our representatives, who will be able to answer any questions and register your company for you. Not feeling chatty then send us an email or use our online chat for assistance.

How can I ensure I will be notified of all relevant tenders?

A key factor in getting notifications of relevant tenders is your alert profile.

In addition to our massive tender notice resource and our comprehensive coverage, we have developed a unique responsive intelligent alert system. A defined filtration process essential in refining your profile notice categories based directly on CPV codes, using key words for inclusion or exclusion, so you don't miss any of the opportunities you are looking for. Combining all of this with an intelligent, responsive alert system supported by your feedback and advice from your personal account manager, will refine this process to its optimal potential.

How long will information on past tenders be available on the Tenders4U site?

In order to plan for the future it is beneficial to view past trends and activities, it is for this reason that Tenders4U will retain past notices and awards for 5 years. Researching Tendering history can be highly beneficial when tendering for the first time or breaking into a new market sector. SME's wanting to submit collaborative bids, or benefit from sub contracting opportunities have a wealth of resources when researching archived awards. Past notices can assist in getting to know your competitors and potential buying organisations, highlight which CPV codes to include or exclude from your alert profile, as well as outlining potential additional documents and supporting material you may need to compile before starting the tendering process.

See: Why are contract award notices so important, even if I didn't bid?

How do I subscribe to BizQuote?

BizQuote is free with all of our Tenders4U subscriptions. Should you wish to purchase BizQuote separately rather then with one of our Tenders4U packages then follow the registration process, when prompted to choose a package purchase the premium BizQuote package by clicking on the "purchase" button, and complete the purchasing process.

What is BizQuote?

BizQuote is a multifaceted e-procurement platform. Allowing both Public Sector buyers and SME's to request quotes for lower value procurement opportunities, and of course to submit quotes in response to quote requests. BizQuote provides an opportunity for SME's to "advertise" their company to like minded businesses searching for collaborative bidding partners and subcontracting opportunities.

What is your cancellation policy?

We operate a rolling subscription to ensure continuity of information. We will contact you by email 1 month prior to renewal to remind you that your renewal subscription is due. Should you decide to cancel your subscription, please do so by written request at least 7 days prior to the date of renewal.

Tendering Advice

Why tender, what are that benefits of working with the public sector?

The recent government announcements in respect of the Economic slowdown have added £15 billion to the purse for Public Sector work. This is to help local economies remain buoyant during difficult times and is already having significant impact for some of our customers.

Public sector organisations are reliable customers. They have to be fair, honest, open, and professional in the way they choose suppliers and in any dealings with them over time. Every supplier has the right to request feedback within the standstill period, buyers must de-brief the unsuccessful candidates within 15 days of a suppliers request to do so. The mandatory standstill period is 10 days, which gives an opportunity for communication between the buyers and all the suppliers to de-brief and conclude the contract. It is legally required that the information to the unsuccessful suppliers must include; award criteria, the name of the winning supplier and good characteristics that the successful tender displayed.

This feedback is especially useful for businesses as it helps them to improve their process for future tenders they apply for.

This period makes sure there are guidelines for the amount of time taken for the supplier to request feedback and to receive response, giving the opportunity to take the case to high court if considered unfair.

It is legislated that most public sector organisations pay their accounts within 30 days (or in accordance with any other agreed credit period stated in their contract) of receiving a verified, valid bill or invoice.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/102/pdfs/uksi_20150102_en.pdf

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/102/regulation/113/made

Where do I get contract notices from?

We email relevant contracts to you on the day they are released by the Issuing Authority. Typically you receive this information before lunchtime and are then in a position to consider how suitable it is to your company to tender for the work offered. A key factor in getting notifications of relevant tenders, is your alert profile. We will assist you where necessary in refining your profile notice categories and key words, so you only get notifications for opportunities you are looking for. Combining an intelligent, responsive alert system with advice from your personal account manager will refine this process to its optimal potential.

How do I tender?

Each tender is different from the last, however some similarities remain. Each Authority has its own particular set of criteria laid out in the tendering notice. There are documents that are commonly requested, this the best place to start. Evaluate your current accreditations and financials and take appropriate steps to get the documents you will most likely need to provide in place. When you see the full contracts on the Tender4U portal, you will see clearly what the next step of the process is. Follow this through and you will be tendering for work in no time.

What are notice categories?

Notice Categories are used by purchasing authorities to classify each notice in order that relevant suppliers are alerted to the opportunity via the e-mail alert function. In order for suppliers to receive accurate e-mail alerts of published notices suppliers need to select the relevant notice categories to their business. Accurately selecting the relevant notice category and refining this selection will result in receiving accurate, relevant e-mail alerts. -Categories are based on CPV codes.-

What is the OJEU?

The Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) is the central database for European public sector tender notices. According to European regulations, public sector contracts above a certain financial value have to be published in OJEU. The main purpose of the regulations is to open up the public procurement market across borders within the EU. Another objective is to ensure that public sector bodies achieve 'best value' for tax payers' money.

The EU procurement regulations apply to all UK public sector authorities, including certain utility companies operating in the energy, transport, and water sectors. We are licensed by the European Commission to distribute all OJEU tenders.

What are the current OJEU advertising thresholds?

The European public contracts directive (2014/24/EU) applies to public authorities including, amongst others, government departments, local authorities and NHS Authorities and Trusts. The European utilities contracts directive (2004/17/EC) applies to certain utility companies operating in the Energy, Water, and Transport sectors.

The directives set out detailed procedures for the award of contracts whose value equals or exceeds specific thresholds. Thresholds are net of VAT.

EU procurement thresholds: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/102/pdfs/uksi_20150102_en.pdf

How do I save a notice I am interested in?

Once you have clicked on the link to the notice and are viewing it through the Tenders4u portal, simply click the save as favourite icon displayed. You will find all the tenders you have marked as favourites, under 'Favourite Notices' in your private tender management control panel.

How do I search for a notice?

There are a number of ways you can conduct a search. The advanced search options allow you to search by keywords within the notice, authority name, location work is to be carried out in or date published. The CPV code search allows you to browse CPV codes and search for a specific category defined by the CPV code chosen by the awarding autority when publishing the notice. The Key Words search, will search for your choice of word within the title and CPV code description of published notices.

How will I know if a contract award has been made?

When an Award notice is created the same product categories (CPV codes) are selected by the organisation as in the original notice. The original notice reference number is used to link the contract notice with the contract award. When the Contract Award is published, an email alert will be sent to users whose alert profile matches codes published in the notice. We also link tenders you mark as favourites in your profile, so you won't miss any subsequent published information. It is possible to search for a Contract Award by the organisation name in the awarding authority search.

Why are contract award notices so important, even if I didn't bid?

Researching tenders awarded to your competitors is a unique method of discovering what in fact will be expected of you when you bid on similar tenders.

Contract awards may hold subcontracting opportunities for your business. Even after a tender is awarded, there may very well be scope for subcontracting of parts of the framework, if not for this tender then certainly for future bids.

The growing tendency towards joint bidding may be something to consider, looking back at past awards can aid in identifying potential partners moving forward.

Joint bidding can take many different forms and, crucially, allows companies to pool their resources to increase their collective capacity or coverage in order to compete for contracts that may otherwise have been out of reach. With the right planning by both buyers and suppliers, consortia can be well-placed to deliver innovative solutions and responsive services.

What qualifications and or accreditations do I need to bid for public sector tenders?

The qualifications and or accreditations required to bid for public sector contracts vary depending on the purchasing authority and the nature, scope and size of the contract. However, there are some common things that most public sector authorities look for:

Evidence of your company's financial standing. For OJEU tenders this often requires having 2-3 years of audited accounts, for lower value contracts, or newer companies, a bankers statement or managed accounts might be sufficient. If you are unsure what is required ask the purchasing authority. Demonstrate your company's ability to fulfil the requirement. This can be done through references and case studies of similar work, a good track record within the public sector is a definite advantage.

Also having quality assurance systems and processes in place, this might include formal accreditations.

Your company is also likely to require a Health and Safety policy, Environmental and Sustainability policy, Equal Opportunities policy, and employers and public liability insurance.

Tender Jargon

What is a tender?

The term 'tender' refers to a formal invitation to trade under the terms of offer. An Invitation to Tender (ITT) is the documentation issued by the purchaser, typically including background information, terms and conditions and the contract specification.

The word tender can also be used to refer to the competitive bid submitted by a supplier in response to an Invitation to Tender, setting out how and at what cost they can fulfil the requirement.

We also commonly use the term tender to describe a notice published to advertise a purchaser's intent to invite suppliers to tender. A 'Tender Notice' calls on interested suppliers to respond or 'express interest' within a given time period.

What are low value tenders?

Public sector organisations are required to publish tenders over a certain financial threshold in OJEU, however, tenders that fall below these thresholds still need to be sufficiently advertised and are referred to as low value tenders. Low value tender opportunities can be excellent for SME's to gain footing in the public sector market.

What are CPV codes?

The CPV consists of a main vocabulary for defining the subject of a contract, and a supplementary vocabulary for adding further qualitative information. The main vocabulary is based on a tree structure comprising codes of up to 9 digits (an 8 digit code plus a check digit) associated with a wording that describes the type of supplies, works or services forming the subject of the contract.

What is a prior information notice?

A Prior Information Notice gives advance warning of a public sector contract to be tendered at some time in the future. Buyers sometimes publish these to gauge market reaction and want to hear from interested suppliers. However, this is not always the case and some PINs explicitly state that the authority does not want to be contacted, so it is important to read the notice carefully. Publishing a PIN allows the authority to reduce some of the timescales later on in the procurement process. The issue of a PIN does not guarantee that a contract will be placed.

What is a contract award notice?

After the tenders are received and have been evaluated the contract will be awarded to the most suitable supplier. Both successful and unsuccessful candidates will be notified in writing of the awarded tender. However this decision is not final until the standstill period is over. All award notices must be published within 48 days of award.

What is a PQQ?

A PQQ is Pre-Qualification questionnaire, this helps create a short list of potential suppliers by asking them a series of questions covering subjects such as technical knowledge and experience, capability, financial standing, and specific questions relating to the current contract. This questionnaire is available to every supplier that has responded to the OJEU notice.

The PQQ should detail the scoring/weighting criteria in advance. This could be one of the following:-

  1. • Quantitative – 100% Price – Lowest price wins.
  2. • Qualitative – 100% Quality – Highest quality wins.
  3. • MEAT – Most Economically Advantageous Tender – tender comprising a mixture of quality and price.

Along with the PQQ, suppliers sometimes may be asked to submit additional documents and supporting material. These could include health and safety policies and environmental policies. Buyers can ask for references at this stage but they must not be used again later in the process to help make decisions when suppliers are invited to tender.

What is an SME?

"SME" stands for small and medium-sized enterprises

According to European Commission, an SME is defined by the following:

Company category

Employees

Turnover

Balance Sheet Total

Medium-sized

< 250

≤ €50 m

≤ €43 m

Small

< 50

≤ €10 m

≤ €10 m

Micro

< 10

≤ €2 m

≤ €2 m

According to www.gov.uk the main factors determining whether a company is an SME are:

Company category

Employees

Turnover

Or Balance Sheet Total

Medium-sized

< 250

≤ £ 40 m

≤ £ 35 m

Small

< 50

≤ £ 8 m

≤ £ 8 m

Micro

< 10

≤ £ 1.6 m

≤ £ 1.6 m

1. Number of employees

and

2. Either turnover or balance sheet total.

and

3. Being 'autonomous' - not significantly controlled by, or in control of, other enterprises (see the point below)

A supplier is autonomous if: it is totally independent of other enterprises; or it holds less than 25% of the capital or voting rights in one or more other enterprises; and other enterprises do not each own more than 25% of its capital or voting rights.

In some cases, a supplier still qualifies as an SME – by being a 'partner' or 'linked' enterprise – even if it exceeds the 25% criteria.

Finally, a supplier will not be counted as an SME if 25% or more of its capital or voting rights are directly or indirectly controlled, jointly or individually, by one or more public sector bodies. An enterprise which is not an SME is classified as a Large enterprise.

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