5. Clearly state any assumptions that you have made in your pricing

It is always important for you to double check that whatever you intend to price for matches the exact requirements as set out in the tender document. This is especially important if you feel that there is some discrepancy or lack of clarity in the specification or scope of requirements.

If you think there are obvious errors in the tender then you should ask for clarification of this with the buyer during the live tender process. These could, for example, be related to staffing, equipment, time allocated to complete milestones, or technical specifications such as performance standards or post-contract support levels. If you do not get a response to these clarifications, or if you do but still feel that there are unclear areas when you come to submit your tender, my advice is to state any assumptions that you have had to make in your pricing schedule.

These assumptions should obviously not be a ‘re-write’ of what you think you should be applying for or what suits your organisation (stick to the specification given not what you want to offer!) – but if you feel that you need to point out any ‘muddy’ areas then you should do so as clearly but as briefly as possible. For example, in a pricing spreadsheet state a price for line X but insert an asterisk stating: “*Refer to note below” – then at the foot of the schedule put something like: “*Price quoted is for AAAA; however please note that the specification does not state whether BBBB applies; therefore for the purposes of clarification we can supply, if required, BBBB for £XXXX that still meets your specification in full.” As I mentioned in the previous tip, be careful not to re-invent the wheel by offering something radical or something that goes way beyond the stated specification.

Sometimes, however, a tender allows a variant bid, i.e. a bid alongside the ‘normal’ one. I mentioned this in the tip “Read the OJEU Contract Notice carefully…” This may let you put in an alternative pricing model and then the buyer decides the best offer at the choice of prices submitted. Just make sure that the tender clearly states that variants are allowed because if not (and some tenders expressly state this), and you submit one, you could be disqualified. You may be able to find wording on variants within the instructions or terms and conditions of the tender – a simple text search on ‘variant’ or, say, ‘alternative’ should lead you to it.

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