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Jim's Blog: Where to find tenders and some 'Golden Tender Sourcing Rules' so you don't miss that potential opportunity!

Posted by Rachael Smith on 10th Feb 2012 at 16:09

Sourcing the right tender can be a minefield (even for the experts!).

Here are some vital tips to help you find more tailored opportunites that match your business profile.

One of the easiest ways to miss an opportunity lies within the title of a public sector tender. If you, like so many other businesses we meet, dismiss on the title alone within the contract notice you might just be missing some valuable business opportunities. WHY?

The 'Location title' at the top of tender notice is from the 'Awarding Authority' - i.e. the authority who is procuring - which is not always where the procurement is being delivered! The next title is taken from the first CPV code which may not include the exact requirments. This happens regularly an example could be:

 UK-Preston: landscape gardening services - 2009/S 168-242562

This was in fact a contract for Landscaping and/or Cleaning Services in London and/or the South East! (You can see how so many notices are missed by just reading the keadline title….

What can I do to ensure that I don't miss these potential business opportunities?

Step 1: Set up your tender search criteria with your CPV Codes (Common Procurement Vocabulary - ie your business code - most businesses will have a unique or multiple number of 8 digit CPV codes to identify what your business actually does. There are 1000's of unique codes - you can find your codes on most good (and free!) tender websites such as the TED website

Step 2: Set up your NUTS code (location code) For example: UKD is the North West; UKI is London and UKG31 is Birmingham. Yes, you can even select your places of delivery by Town!

Step 3: Add keywords into your tender websites search criteria that closely match your business.

Step 4: Read the notice in full - remember to scroll down to the place of delivery - don't read the Title!

You can find relevant tenders from the following websites regionally, nationally, internationally (27 EU member states) and globally from a selection of websites below.

I find the best free websites are The TED website for the larger projects over the EU threshold and The Contracts Finder for lower value projects under the EU Threshold. The choice is yours and there are hundreds of sites to find your tenders. Wouldn't it be fantastic if you could just log in to one place without having to pay! Maybe we will get there one day…..

Where to find Local Authority opportunities

It is worth finding out how your local authorities manage their tenders however we find that in the majority they use their own online portals, advertise in local papers and/or use an external company like Exor to manage their preferred supplier database ExorTendering for Bromley Council contracts

Other Tender Websites

Global Opportunities

We hope you found this blog useful - if you have any tender queries please email me on

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