What is a pre-tender meeting and why should bidders attend it?

By Daniil Filipenco

What is a pre-tender meeting and why should bidders attend it?

A chance to get acquainted with the buyer. An opportunity to build useful relationships with donors. A platform where businesses are not willing to speak up in front of their competitors.

These are all characteristics of a pre-tender meeting taking place somewhere right now between a donor, hoping to find the best candidates to get a job done and the numerous contractors who are intending to go for it.

Sometimes, pre-tender meetings take place as part of the tendering procedure. Their primary goal is to address any questions bidders may have about the solicitation paperwork, the scope of work, or other relevant information that can clarify any confusion.

This guide covers what a pre-tender meeting entails. Also known as conferences, these meetings are planned during the creation of the solicitation documents phase and the date, time and location are included in these papers so all potential bidders are aware of the details.

See also: What is the tender process?

The discussions are formal and it is not normally mandatory to attend the meeting. The outcomes are communicated in written form to all the potential bidders who obtained the solicitation documents by requesting or downloading these from an official online source. Prospective bidders can seek clarification until a set date and time that is specified in the solicitation documents.

The meetings’ holders and attendees

Donors or project owners are those responsible for hosting the pre-tender meetings. They are seeking the ideal contractors for their organization, just as the contractors are searching for suitable projects. For contractors, this represents an opportunity to assess the competition.

For some projects, the pre-tender meetings are closed to the general public, meaning that non-bidders or those companies who had not communicated with the buyer beforehand, cannot attend.

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Pre-tender meetings: where and when?

With meetings normally being held at least a week after the first announcement of the invitation to bid, this timing allows bidders to prepare all the necessary questions. One important piece of advice for bidders is to thoroughly examine the solicitation paperwork and be prepared to get into a conversation with the owner when the opportunity arises. Most of the time, these meetings take the form of a well-organized and structured event rather than just a gathering of multiple potential bidders.

đź’ˇ Usually, attendance at these meetings is optional but if you want to gain a leg up on your competitors, make sure you show up and pay attention.

A bidder might consider making a good first impression by asking the project owner certain questions. However, doing so will never be a guarantee of gaining an advantage over the competition.

The recent lockdowns and anti-COVID-19 measures have caused owners to change their behavior and adopt the virtual scene for meetings. Bidders can attend virtual pre-tender meetings in just the same way as offline events and will receive the same information.

Each bidder receives an invitation giving details of the date and time as well as the software to be used in an online meeting.

Advantages of pre-tender meetings

If you do receive an invitation to such a meeting, make every attempt to attend as this demonstrates how serious your intentions are regarding the tender.

In addition, you will also be able to observe your competitors which is helpful since you learn who you’re up against.

You will also have the chance to become acquainted with the buying team which facilitates the building of useful relationships.

What should you expect at pre-tender meetings?

đź’ˇ Bidders should come briefed.

Here are a few tips for newbies as well as experienced bidders:

  • Most of the time people are not willing to speak up in front of their competitors so as not to divulge any information that could otherwise impact the company and the bid.
  • Ask questions related to clarification of the tender process and make sure to introduce yourself.
  • Try not to be the first to speak if you have certain questions or need further explanation on a potentially challenging topic. Some of these areas may be addressed by questions from other bidders.

Pre-tender meetings allow bidders to significantly increase the chances of winning a tender or at least gain valuable information regarding it. So, after receiving an invitation, a company should make sure a representative attends the meeting.

See also: How do you win a tender: 8 useful tips