4 Steps to Winning More Building Maintenance Contracts

bigchangev3Admin
January 28, 2022

Field service businesses can win more building maintenance contracts this year with this 4 step process, with bonus tips (like using job management software).

After a tough period, the building maintenance industry is back up and running — and saw 3.3% growth since the first quarter of 2021 🚀

So what does this mean for you?

Now is a great time for field service businesses to get back out there and win more building maintenance contracts. 

While this paints a positive picture, if you’re unfamiliar with the tender process, new to the business, or you’re no longer using a tender writing service, the prospect of bidding for contracts can be intimidating. 

So let’s break all this down.

👉In this article, we’ll look at how field service businesses can get building maintenance contracts (with tenders). Plus, we’ll share tips for making tender writing much simpler.

We’ll start with a quick run-through of what tenders are…

QUICK DEFINITION: WHAT ARE TENDERS?

While word-of-mouth or a simple business proposal may be enough to bring on a new client in some industries, getting a building maintenance contract typically requires bidding on a tender.

So, what is a tender? 👇

Tenders are a formal process where a business invites other businesses to bid for a contract of work with them. They are a staple of new business for most field service businesses — particularly those that work in building maintenance and construction industries.

The make-up of a tender: A tender will often include the scope of the work, the type of work, and the client’s specific needs.

What happens in the tender process: Unlike a job posting, a tender requires a multi-step application process in which applicants must hold the exact qualifications and credentials requested to make sure they have the skills to do the job.

TYPES OF TENDERS IN FIELD SERVICES

One of the trickiest parts of getting building maintenance contracts is tender writing — more specifically, preparing all the documents required for bidding.

Before you start tender writing, it’s important to learn about the two tender types:

#1: OPEN TENDERS 📖

Open tenders don’t require a pre-qualification questionnaire before obtaining the Invitation to Tender (ITT) document. Essentially, you can begin responding to a business’ tender right away.

#2: CLOSED TENDERS 📕

Closed tendershave a two-phase process.

  1. Pre-qualification questionnaire - Basically, this vets bidders. It checks whether you’ve experience directly related to the bid you’re applying for and ensures you meet the requirements, like industry qualifications.
  2. Invitation to Tender (ITT) - If you pass the pre-qualification questionnaire, then you will receive the ITT. 

Now that you know about the two types of tenders, let’s look at how to approach a tender step-by-step. 

HOW FIELD SERVICES SHOULD APPROACH TENDERS

If your goal is to win more work, there’s a handful of ways to go about getting yourself on the tender lists for the right building maintenance contracts.

1. FIND OUT WHO’S TAKING TENDERS 🔍

The first step: Do some digging to find out where companies are posting tenders.

💡Top tip: The site OJEU is a great source for finding new building maintenance contracts. 

Some companies will also release a prior information notice (PIN) which informs building maintenance companies that the client intends to release a tender in the next 12 months. So it’s a good idea to keep tabs of these clients and prepare any necessary materials for bidding in advance. 

2. APPLY TO THE RIGHT TENDERS 📥 

The next step is to thoroughly review each tender to drill down which jobs are realistic and viable for your company.

To help you do this, each building maintenance contract posted should include the following information for your review:

  • The type of contract
  • Its approximate value
  • The duration of the contract

💡Top tip: Remember, you won’t be considered for tenders whose qualifications and certifications you do not meet.

To help you decide whether you’re a good fit for the job, ask yourself the following questions: 

⬜ Do you meet the financial criteria and stability to make the bid? 

⬜ Can you deliver the maintenance required? 

⬜ Do you have the necessary certifications? 

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these questions, or are unsure if you can meet the requirements, you should reconsider whether it’s worth taking time to bid on the job. After all, these are quite lengthy and time-consuming processes.

3. FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH CONTRACTS 🔤

Going through all the contract information with a fine tooth comb is quite possibly the most part of winning new business.

Why?

Because it ensures you properly understand the terms and respond to hit the mark in your tender response. It goes without saying that this will improve your chances of success. 

Although every contract you receive from a client can vary, the following are the four most common types of building maintenance and construction contracts used in the UK:

  • JCT (The Joint Contracts Tribunal)
  • ACA (Association of Consultant Architects)
  • FIDIC (Fédération Internationale des Ingénieurs-Conseil)
  • NEC (The New Engineering Contract)

💡Top tip: It’s important to know that contracts can have different specifications, depending on the client and the needs of their business. Likewise, some of the above can have additional contracts, such as the CIC BIM Protocol, which is required for Level 2 BIM projects. 

Want to learn more? Check out the different types of building maintenance and construction contracts, right here.

4. RESPOND TO THE ITT ✍

Now you’ve found some tenders to bid on, have gone over their contracts, and even been pre-vetted after answering the pre-qualification questionnaire, it’s time for you to fill out the Invitation to Tender (ITT).

For many field service businesses, tender writing can be challenging, but it’s the most crucial step in getting new building maintenance contracts.

The ITT exercise is where you address the tender and state why you are the best organisation for the job. So when responding to the ITT, we recommend preparing the following information and documentation:

⬜ Scope of work and pricing list 

⬜ Details of how you will perform the initial phase of work 

⬜ Your proposed work schedule

⬜ Important staff members involved in the work

⬜ Resources and equipment you will use

⬜ Systems and technology used to organise and perform work 

⬜ Prior experience in the field 

⬜ References from previous clients

Once you’ve completed and submitted your tender, you will need to wait to see if you’re awarded the job. The ITT should specify how the client will rate each part of the tender.

💡Top tip: The rating is a way for the client to measure how qualified you are for the job. But it’s also great insight for you to see how well your bid performed and what you may need to change. It may be a case of just teasing out more in future tender submissions so that they know for sure you’re a good fit.

BONUS TIP: MAKING TENDER WRITING EASIER FOR FIELD SERVICE BUSINESSES

Tender writing can be time-consuming and requires a polished bid for you to stand the biggest chance of winning the contract.

One little-known trick field service businesses use is leveraging tech. Here's how:

The problem: For winning tender writing, you must be able to provide a range of information about your business — which can be tricky when you don’t have complete visibility over your operations.

The solution: Now, imagine writing a bid where you could ensure you have all the job tracking information, from how many people you have working for you and where, what skills they have, and what equipment and assets you have in stock… All making it easier to copy and paste consistent, well-polished information straight over to a new tender.

Plus, with tools like BigChange’s job management software, you can offer potential clients a complete solution for planning, scheduling, and tracking your mobile workforce that is sure to impress.

In the competitive building maintenance landscape, having digital all-in-one solutions for your processes will give you a sure advantage over the competition. 

Ready to win more contracts? Find out how BigChange can help your business. Book a free consultation today.

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