Below threshold contracts
From working with SMEs, we know that the first question many ask when it comes to public sector tendering is – how do you get started? A simple question but the answer is not quite as straight forward as throwing the company headlong into the challenge of meeting buyers or commissioners of public sector organisations (or large private sector companies for that matter).
For most SMEs, they need to start by concentrating on what is called below threshold work. These contracts are commissioned where the value of the below threshold work is less than €25,000 for services/supplies and less than €50,000 for works. Below these levels, formal bid processes are rare. From €1 up to the threshold limits, different types of quotes are sought by public sector organisations to meet their specific needs.
A significant degree of variation applies to how SMEs respond to these requests for quotes whether they are over the phone or by email / mini-tender. This represents an opportunity for SMEs to up their game and get ahead of their competition.
Steps to get ahead
For SMEs to do this, there are some steps they will need to take first:
- Ensure the buyers in the organisations they are targeting are aware of their company and what it does. Ensure there is something different about how the company does its business that matters to a public sector buyer.
- Have something interesting to say about the sector and why the company’s product/service provides value for money in a way that other companies do not – ensure this can be backed up.
- Where applicable, get added to supplier lists at local authority or equivalent in other organisations (pick a few organisations for targeting in this regard).
Once this has been done, the next step is to professionalise the email or phone level quote in a fit for purpose manner. A template for below threshold quotations like that developed by Keystone Procurement can be used for any sized quote from €1 up to the threshold limit. It allows companies to influence the buyers they are seeking to influence and to stand out from the crowd.
The path to growth through below threshold work
You need to go further to get further. This simple approach will help businesses stand out from the pack when asked for quotations in the future.
The template for below threshold quotes is available on the link below: