A guide to federal procurement best practices for bidding
By Cindy O'Driscoll
Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders is the official source businesses should use to find Government of Canada tenders. The site is easy to navigate and allows suppliers to search for new opportunities and see past contract awards. Access to the site is free and no registration is needed.
5 Steps to Bidding
You found a tender of interest. Now what?
From the bidder’s perspective, there are five principal steps to most bidding processes:
Review the tender document. Ask the right questions, understand the security requirements, and learn about evaluation criteria and selection methods.
Decide whether to bid or not. Make sure you can meet all the requirements, determine whether you are eligible to supply, and decide whether you can accept the terms and conditions and basis of payment.
Collect information. Get the required security clearance through the contracting authority and prepare your certifications.
Prepare your bid. Make it easy for buyers to evaluate your bid and learn more about the technical, management, and financial sections.
Submit your bid. Follow the instructions closely. Submit your bid on time, with the right number of copies and signatures, and using the method indicated in the tender document.
St. John’s–based Edgewise Environmental Ltd.’s President and CEO, Ashley Noseworthy, says bidding on tenders takes planning and organization no matter what industry you are in. The tenders themselves can be detailed, technical, and confusing, especially if you’re a first-time bidder.
Ashley has a few recommendations for those just starting:
Get to know the system.
Become familiar with the buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders site. Register your business and sign up for email notifications using relevant keywords so that tenders will be automatically sent to you. If you take this time initially, finding potential opportunities will be easier.
Plan, Plan, Plan.
Bids can take a significant amount of time to prepare, so start early. Ensure you read the tender document all the way through.
Ask all the questions. You will undoubtedly have questions: find out whom to contact regarding the tender and reach out. Do this early and make sure you follow the tender to keep updated on any amendments and to be aware of any questions other proponents may have put forward.
Don’t get discouraged.
If you live in the world of submitting proposals, then you know that not all are going to be successful. For those who are just starting out or who need a reminder, keep going. If you are not successful, ask for feedback. It is always worth reviewing your submission—understand what you could have changed and move forward.
For more information, contact the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises – Atlantic Region, the main federal government supplier resource in Atlantic Canada. Call 902-426-5677 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the national InfoLine at 1-800-811-1148.
Cindy O’Driscoll is Chief of Stakeholder Engagement with Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) in the Atlantic Region. As a key member of the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) team in Halifax, Cindy advises and educates Atlantic Canadian companies and industry associations about the federal procurement process and is committed to helping businesses succeed. Cindy holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University, an MSc in Coastal Zone Management from Bournemouth University, UK, and an MA and BA (Hons) in Archaeology from Memorial University of Newfoundland. You can reach Cindy at email@example.com.