Generally speaking, bid writing isn’t too dissimilar across the different industries as there are several question types which are broadly universal. In some specialist sectors however, this generalisation is not quite so simple.
This blog continues our series looking at bid writing across different industries and sectors. From care to catering, we are looking at the key questions, skills and knowledge you should be aware of before embarking on your next bid project.
In this blog we will look specifically at bid writing in the Grounds Maintenance industry.
When to Bid and What to Bid For
The generic term ‘grounds maintenance’ is used very broadly in public procurement. It is used as a catch-all term to represent a very wide range of contract types, scopes, complexities and values. As a result, unlike other industries, the scope of works in ‘grounds maintenance’ contracts is not always immediately apparent. It’s very important therefore that you read the contract specification in detail before deciding to bid.
For example, there is a significant difference in the amount of work required between mowing a school playing field, and managing overgrowth on motorways, or dealing with National Park-level tree maintenance. Make sure you’re fully aware of what you’ll be required to do, before you bid.
Make sure you not only know the required service, but also the level of that service they are looking for. What seems at first glance to be a perfectly profitable contract may well turn out an expensive mistake.
This is not to say that you might accidentally win a contract that you can’t service. That’s a rarity (although it does happen). More to the point, you are simply unlikely to win, wasting time and money for nothing.
To avoid significant risks here, particularly if you’re just starting out with tendering, we’d recommend focusing on smaller contracts and multi-provider frameworks first. Such contracts will help take the pressure and onus off you as a single supplier to deliver on all contract areas.
Aside from the more common questions on contract management, service quality, health and safety etc., there are a number of grounds maintenance-specific questions to be aware of.
The types of question asked will vary depending on the nature of the service you’ll be completing. For example, if working in a school, you may be asked how you’ll schedule works to avoid disrupting daily activities. You may also need to consider such aspects as seasonal usage change. A football pitch in winter, may need to be a running track or cricket pitch in summer.
If you’ll be working for a care home or hospital, you may instead need to consider at greater length, how you will ensure patients and residents remain as safe and happy as possible.
Again, how will you personally ensure the safety of the public if working in unattended public green space (e.g. parks, gardens, village greens etc.)?
You should also consider that staff may require specific training, accreditations or suitability assessments before they can work in close proximity or liaise with members of the public. DBS checks for instance will be absolutely mandatory for working in close proximity to vulnerable people.
Compared to other industries, the list of relevant accreditations you may need in grounds maintenance is not nearly as extensive. The below list outlines some of the key ones. Take a look at our ‘big list of accreditations‘ for other certificates and memberships you may wish to consider but which aren’t specifically related to grounds maintenance.
- Membership with an SSIP approved body for health and safety. (CHAS is most common.)
- DBS checks for all staff
- Ecolabel Licence
- Environment Agency
- Waste Carrier, Broker or Dealer Licence
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Check out one of our other blogs: Why You Shouldn’t Be Bidding (Yet).
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