How Many Hours Does It Take To Prepare A Tender?

Businessman looking at watch at officeThis month’s survey gave us such a wide variety of answers. And to protect the innocent, all comments will remain anonymous!

Firstly, one respondent made the point that “Anything from 30mins to several days, it all depends on the project you are quoting.”

Now we do understand that and made it clear that there are many variables in tenders. Those that responded however were asked to estimate a typical tender. And tot up the hours it takes each person involved in the process to arrive at a total.

Now before we reveal the result, I looked back to a survey we conducted in March this year (Average Tender Win Rates) which examined how many tenders on average each person submits annually, and on average how many of them are won.

This revealed that the average among those responding was 248 in a year, or just under 5 tenders submitted each week. Again, there were significant variations. The highest was 983 tenders submitted in a year.

And out of that, on average people won 71 each year or 28%.

Survey Results – How Many Hours?


Drum roll…it’s 108.8 hours. That’s 15.5 days.

Again, there were some wildly contrasting answers. Our lowest was the respondent who said 30 minutes. If we take that one out, the next lowest however was 15 hours or about 2 days. At the other end of the spectrum was the highest of 525 hours or 75 days.

But that was extreme. If we look at the next highest which was 96 hours, that’s just under 14 days.

So even if the extremes were flukes, we are looking at 15 to 96 hours or about 2-14 days for each tender.
Let’s Rewind Once More And Look At Win Rates And Number Submitted

If we look at the average number submitted of around 5 per week, that’s 75 to 480 hours devoted to tenders each week. And at a tender win rate of 28%, this means…

…Between 54 and 346 hours are wasted each week on tenders you DON’T win. That’s between 8 and 49 days lost each week.

And as one reader said:

“It takes at least 30 hours for me to put a bid together. I have to read the requirements, make a site visit, contact other consultants, put a design team together, do background research, prepare a proposal document, customise our standard documents, collate other consultants documents, email & post it off….If we get an appointment for a feasibility study and then have to rebid for later stages, well that is completely infuriating and extremely wasteful of resources. I have to be quite selective of which projects I bid for as I could simply put myself out of business doing bids. It is a very unsatisfactory and inefficient process. Rant over.”

Want To Regain Some Of Those Lost Hours And Days?

Despite the extremes, it’s very clear that a significant amount of effort is wasted on tenders. But it is a necessary evil to many. And many tenders are won and lost on the narrowest of margins. If you’d like to regain some of that lost time, why not reply saying “interested” in our various tender-enhancing services such as critiquing or jump-off-the-page case studies which set you apart?

For more information on this post, please visit the main site or call the main office on 0843 506 5202.

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