How do you write a tender document?

The key to writing a good tender is to be specific and detail how your capabilities match the client’s exact requirements.

You don’t have to be arrogant to sell your firm. Never kick off the tender by saying how great you are. Instead, show that you’ve listened to the client’s needs and found them the right solution. The way to do this is to identify and concentrate on the ‘win themes’ – the issues the client is most concerned with. Hopefully, you will have had an opportunity to ask them about these (see Preparing to write a tender). But invitations to tender usually give you clues about what they are and often state them directly (‘tenderers must have …’).

Win themes could include things like:

  • completing the job within a tight time schedule
  • attracting quality subcontractors
  • project-management skills
  • guarantees to stay on schedule
  • health and safety procedures.

To some extent, most tenders should cover all these issues – among others. But make sure you focus more on the ones your client is particularly interested in. And then show how your firm can meet their needs.

One way of doing this with more complex tenders is to draw up a compliance matrix to make sure you’ve got a solution for everything the tender asks for.

This could give you the edge if you include it in the tender document itself.

Some people in the construction industry argue that tenders are usually won on price alone. No-one can dispute how important price is, and sometimes it may be the main factor (making it a win theme, of course). But never ignore the fact that whoever is in charge of the tendering process is also very interested in your firm – and what you can deliver over and above your competitors. Focus on these and you may well reduce the client’s sensitivity to price.

Unique selling points

This doesn’t mean you should slate your competitors in your tender – far from it. But it does mean you should have a clear idea of what your firm’s USPs (unique selling points) are. Some examples might include:

  • quality of finish and ability to deal with snagging quickly
  • getting the job done within a tight timeframe and budget (without jeopardising quality)
  • regular progress reports and updates to client
  • client-satisfaction record and percentage of repeat business.

Make it clear why they should choose you. Don’t just make vague and clichéd claims such as ‘we deliver high- quality work within tight schedules’ or ‘we have considerable experience in the management of new office fit outs and refurbishments’. You need to substantiate these kinds of claims with supporting evidence. For example, ‘We have delivered 90 per cent of our jobs within budget and 60 per cent or our business comes from existing clients’.

Include a breakdown of all the various aspects of the work involved in the project. And don’t leave out things because you’re not sure if the client wants them or because you can’t price them accurately at this stage; it will look as though you’ve overlooked them. If necessary, put them in with a ‘tbc’. Don’t make assumptions. Just because the client or person managing the tender knows you, that doesn’t mean you can leave out vital information about your firm. What if there are some other crucial ‘influencers’ reading your tender who know nothing about you?

Finally, always go through your tender face to face if the tender process allows it. That way you can sort out any sticking points.


Overview of Public Universities in South Africa

Here's an overview of some public universities in South Africa, including general admissions requirements and estimated application periods. Keep in mind, specific program requirements and dates can vary significantly, so it's important to check each university's official website for the most current information.

University of Pretoria

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with minimum scores in specific subjects related to the chosen program; for international students, equivalent qualifications.
  • Application Period: Usually opens in March and closes at the end of July for most programs.

University of Cape Town

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with pass levels required for degree study; subject-specific requirements depending on the program.
  • Application Period: Application opens in April and closes at the end of July.

Stellenbosch University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required marks; some programs have additional testing.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and typically closes at the end of June.

University of the Witwatersrand

  • Admissions Requirements: Matriculation certificate with university exemption; required scores vary by faculty.
  • Application Period: Begins in March and ends on the 30th of September.

University of Johannesburg

  • Admissions Requirements: Matric exemption with a minimum APS score; specific subject requirements based on the faculty.
  • Application Period: Opens in April and generally closes by the 30th of September.

University of the Free State

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific marks for the program applied to; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Typically opens in April and closes at the end of August.

University of Venda

  • Admissions Requirements: Completion of the National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for diploma or degree studies; specific APS scores needed.
  • Application Period: Usually from May to September.

University of Fort Hare

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; certain programs may have specific requirements.
  • Application Period: Opens around May and closes at the end of September.

University of the Western Cape

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific performance levels; additional requirements for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Generally from May to September.

North-West University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with university exemption; program-specific requirements may apply.
  • Application Period: Opens in March and usually closes by the end of August.

Rhodes University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate or equivalent; minimum academic performance in certain subjects.
  • Application Period: Applications open in April and close at the end of September.

Nelson Mandela University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; portfolio or additional tests for some faculties.
  • Application Period: Opens in April, with a deadline at the end of August for most programs.

Cape Peninsula University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores; additional requirements for certain courses.
  • Application Period: Opens in May and typically closes by the end of September.

University of Limpopo

  • Admissions Requirements: Senior Certificate with endorsement for diploma or degree courses; specific APS scores for different programs.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

University of Zululand

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with an endorsement for bachelor’s degree studies; specific score requirements for various programs.
  • Application Period: Usually between April and November.

Central University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with specific scores for the chosen field of study; additional criteria for certain programs.
  • Application Period: Application period generally starts in May and ends in October.

Vaal University of Technology

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with a pass that qualifies for admission to bachelor’s degree, diploma, or higher certificate programs.
  • Application Period: Typically from May to September.

Walter Sisulu University

  • Admissions Requirements: National Senior Certificate with required scores for chosen programs; additional criteria for certain faculties.
  • Application Period: From April to September.

This list provides a starting point for understanding the admissions landscape across South Africa's diverse higher education institutions. Given the variability in programs and requirements, it's crucial to consult each university's website for the most accurate and up-to-date information.