The Importance of Site Visits When Tendering

A common misassumption made when thinking about site visits

You may be thinking you book the site visit; you attend, you scout out the competition and away you go. However, you don’t always get to see the competition on a site visit. Some visits may be a scheduled one-on-one venture with the buyer.

What is a site visit and why is it important?

A site visit allows prospective suppliers to understand the buyer a little more as part of their procurement process. It allows prospective suppliers the opportunity to see the potential site they will be working on. Some will get inspiration from this and it may give you more to talk about in your response.

Site visits are optional and not mandatory to attend. However, we encourage you to go where possible. You can utilise these site visits to show commitment, individuality and stronger capabilities throughout your tender response.

By visiting a site in real life, you’ll be able to gain a considerable amount of information. This is information that you otherwise wouldn’t have if solely relying on the internet and specification. The internet can only do so much.

The advantages of site visits:

Site visits enable you to meet the buyer and help you better understand their requirements, mission and values. They also enable you to see how well you fit if you were to be a member of their supply chain. Some advantages to site visits include:

1. Accurate pricing

You will be able to see the environment first-hand. This may be particularly useful allowing you to price more accurately in the case of ConstructionFacilities or Logistics.

For example, by actually seeing and assessing the size of rooms, a cleaning supplier can cost more effectively. All thanks to the site visit.

2. Better quality responses

Site visits are invaluable for gathering details that will strengthen your quality responses. Particularly those that focus on health and safety, contract implementation and risk assessment and mitigation.

3. Insight

Site visits pose a valuable source of information that you may not otherwise get from tender documents. They present the opportunity to get more detailed information from people who know the site. We encourage all clients to undergo these visits to feedback any information that could potentially support content development.

Our Head of Bid Management, Daniel Hall, gave this as an example:

“We had previously worked alongside an organisation who had to visit a specific site in accordance with buyer requirements. This site visit was optional and not mandatory to attend.  

“Whilst there, the buyer had expressed that they had seen a few major issues with the incumbent supplier. They highlighted further issues that had not been specifically stated in the tender documentation.  

“This automatically put our client at an advantage over their competition that didn’t bother to attend. Although, of course, everything disclosed to suppliers on a site visit, should be then circulated around to all suppliers.

“However, something so little said in passing, could be a point that is not worth mentioning in the tender documents, but is a point worth mentioning in your response.

“Our client fed this back to our Tender Consultants team. Due to us describing ways in which we can add value and benefits in light of some issues highlighted. We not only scored high marks in the bid but won our client a 5-year contract to deliver the services.

“The buyer had commented on our submission. They stated how our recognition and ability to address current and ongoing needs is what sealed the deal.”

There are some big differences with site visits across the public and private sector.

Private sector site visits

The private sector is not bound by public procurement regulations and therefore work can be sourced however the buyer pleases. They can even decide not to offer site visits at all. It’s their own private money – not taxpayer’s money. So, the need for open and transparent procedures aren’t necessarily required.

The number of times we have heard ‘when I’m in front of the buyer – I’ll win the work’. That’s never usually the case in the public sector. This is unless a huge weighting of the mark is focused on an interview stage.

Public sector site visits

Public sector site visits have to be fair, open to all. Anything that gets discussed on these have to be circulated with the other competitors.

This is why site visits usually occur on a specific date with multiple prospective suppliers in attendance. It’s easier for the buyer to circulate this information and remain transparent during their procurement process with multiple tenderers.

How do I make the most out of my site visits?

Before you undertake a site visit, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure you have covered the following points:

  • Make a list of all the information you need to learn and take it with you.
  • Learn as much about the buyer as you can before you go. We always advise whoever is attending to read and digest the specified requirements prior. You don’t want to ask the most basic questions to your prospective client. It would be embarrassing for them to reply saying ‘that’s in the tender documentation’.
  • Be confident and ask clarification questions, only where clarity is due. It’s always best to clarify and show engagement with the buyer. This can put you in good stead.
  • Look for visual clues. You’ll be able to tell a lot about the buyer and their work culture. This information could help you write a tender that emphasises areas that are more important to the buyer than others.

For a more detailed insight, watch our free site visits masterclass.


Need support?

If you require any support in managing your bid responses and tackling site visits – we can help!

Our sister company, Hudson Succeed, offers four tender support and tender writing packages. Our Bid Writing Team proudly hold an 87% success rate and have over 60 years of collective bid writing experience. When it comes to site visits, we know the drill!

Tender Ready

Our Tender Ready programme is designed for those who have never tendered before. This programme works with you to ensure you have everything you need to tender successfully. This includes an organisation-wide bid library and subscription to one Discover tender portal.

Tender Writing

Once you’ve found the right tender for your business, send it our way. service. One of our Bid Writers will write and submit the bid on your behalf. They’ll make any necessary amendments, providing you with a full Tender Writing breakdown.

Tender Improvement

Our Tender Improvement programme can help if you’ve already been tendering for work but aren’t seeing results. During the course of the programme, our Bid Writers will assess your previous submissions and supporting documents. They’ll then give you feedback and guidance on how to improve, increasing your chances of success.

Tender Mentor

Tender Mentor can assist you if you need someone to complete a final proofread of your response. Our Bid Writers will look over your response, making sure you’ve answered all the requirements from the specification. They’ll also notify you of any spelling or grammatical mistakes before you submit.

Where to find the right tendering opportunities for your business

Finding the right tendering opportunity for your business can take a large part out of your day. There are thousands of websites posting hundreds of live tenders daily from across the UK. Searching for the right one can turn into a full-time job!

Our 11 sector-specific Discover portals saves you time when searching for the right tender. You might be missing out on opportunities if you’re relying on inaccurate CPV codes. Our Opportunity Trackers manually scour and upload live tenders from thousands of websites daily. You’re able to filter the results by keyword, budget, location and more – streamlining the process.

Hudson Discover houses 11 sector-specific tendering portals

A subscription to one of our portals includes:

  • An on-hand Account Manager to answer any of your tendering questions or site visit queries.
  • Discounted support from Hudson Succeed.
  • A free 20-minute phone call of bid consultancy every month with one of our Bid Experts.
  • A daily email bulletin containing all the live tenders that have been upload that day, straight to your inbox.

If that wasn’t enough, you can upgrade any portal with our Discover Elite service. These time-saving packages help you identify tenders – even when you’re busy.

The Ultimate Time Saver offers your business:

  • An annual subscription to a maximum of two Hudson tender portals of your choice.
  • A dedicated Account Manager.
  • Weekly phone calls to discuss viable tendering opportunities.
  • Award and pre-market engagement notices monitored on your behalf.
  • Five tender breakdowns per month.
  • Buyer portal management including registration, password management, downloading documents and assessing viability based on your bid or no-bid

Become a Pre-Bid Master includes:

  • All of the above.
  • Bid Strategy delivered by a Senior Bid Manager with a minimum of 5 years of experience. It will also be managed by our Global Bid Director.
  • A maximum of seven tender breakdowns per month.

Get in touch for more information about how we can grow your business.