A comprehensive overview of all the different places you can find and access tender opportunities.
For both new and experienced bidders alike, finding tenders and contract opportunities can be difficult and time-consuming. This is mainly because there’s no single, centralised platform which all Buyers across all industries use to advertise their tenders, resulting in literally thousands of different, individual sources!
Why, you ask? Different Buyers have different needs when it comes to the tendering process, so they may use different tools or platforms to meet those needs. Unlike socks or hats, it’s not a case of ‘one-size fits all’.
However, even though tender opportunities are spread across lots of different places, these sources can generally be categorised into two channels: online or print. Below is an overview of these different types of sources so that you know where to look to find your next contract!
Most tender opportunities these days are published online, as the technology is much quicker, easier and more cost-effective for Buyers than the traditional paper-based process.
• Buyer Websites
Most reputable Buyers have their own websites where they advertise their tender requests and other types of opportunities (e.g. Expressions of Interest). Sometimes you’ll be able to download the tender documents directly from the website and be given an email address where you can send your bid response, but most often a Buyer’s website will only provide the basic information about a tender, and will then link to a ‘portal’ (see below) where you’ll be required to create a free account with all your basic company details before being able to access the tender documents or submit a response.
The best way to find Buyer websites is to use an online search engine like Google or Bing. However, there are obviously thousands of Buyer websites for each industry, so make sure you use relevant keywords in your search terms, including industry and location. For example, if you’re an architect, try searching for ‘Architecture tenders in Sydney’.
• e-Tendering Portals
The term ‘portal’ refers to a digital platform used to manage the tendering process online. Portals are similar to normal websites, but the main difference is that they have unique functionality designed to help Buyers and Suppliers quickly and easily navigate the tendering process from start to finish, from listing a tender right through to evaluation and awarding the contract.
Most Buyers use an e-procurement provider (like us! Find out more here) who specialises in providing this technology, but in some cases (like the NZ Government) Buyers may have a bespoke digital platform designed, though the functionality is normally similar.
You can find Buyer portals in the same way as normal websites (using a search engine) or through the e-procurement providers website. For example, our portal network has a huge range of Buyers across all industries – you can search them here.
Most portals also offer the ability to register for free to receive updates about new tenders from that particular Buyer. The number, frequency and types of opportunities you’ll find on these portals will depend on the individual Buyer and their needs, so you may want to register to multiple portals in order to find the most opportunities.
• Tender Aggregator Websites
This is a broad term that covers websites which collate tenders from across multiple different sources. Tender aggregator websites can either be industry-specific, providing opportunities from lots of different sources but only in one particular sector (e.g. Construction or IT), or can cover all industries and sources, like a ‘one-stop-shop’ for tenders. For example, we collate tenders from across all of our 600+ Buyer portals, as well as thousands of other tender sources, including all the sources listed here.
Some tender aggregator websites offer basic information for free, and provide links to the original tender listing (i.e. directing you back to the Buyer website or portal) for more information, but most offer a range of subscription plans if you want full access to all the opportunities. These plans include the option to receive tender notification emails, which alert you of any new tenders in your chosen industry and location(s).
• Online Publications
These are basically newsletters or magazines which are published online instead of (or in addition to) being printed. They’re usually industry specific and are more common in certain sectors (e.g. civil and construction), but can provide both private and public sector tender opportunities. The frequency of publication can differ, with some only being released quarterly, so they’re best used when planning in advance. Most offer free subscriptions, though some premium publications charge a small fee.
While most Buyers now advertise their tenders online, some still use traditional print media to advertise their tenders, and some Buyers use both online and print solutions to ensure their tender requests reach the largest number of Suppliers possible.
• Industry Publications
Similar to the online publications mentioned above, some larger industries have their own printed magazines or newsletters which may include advertisements for tender opportunities. Printed publications tend to be less common as they cost more to produce, and that also means there’s often a subscription fee, but the articles can offer valuable industry insight or help you identify key Buyers in your market. You can search online to find these publications and purchase a subscription.
Newspapers are the traditional way to find tenders, and while it used to be a requirement for governments and councils to advertise their tenders in their local media, most have now moved away from this and are mainly advertising on digital channels, partly due to the cost of advertising in print media and also due to the ease and increasing digitalisation across all areas. However, there are still some opportunities to be found in local and state-wide newspapers, for both the public and private sectors, so they can still be worth a look. You can pick up your latest newspaper from your local newsstand or sign up for deliveries online.
So as you can see, tenders and contract opportunities are available in lots of different places, but as you can imagine, finding the right types of tenders for your business can be a daunting task!
Check out our next blog, where we look at the pros and cons of the different options for accessing opportunities across these different sources; monitoring them yourself vs paying for a notification subscription.
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