How to become a bid writer: what is a bid writer, what skills do you need and how much could you earn? Guest blog from Thornton & Lowe
You may have heard the term ‘bid writer’ before, but what exactly does a bid writer do?
Well, first you have to understand what bid writing actually is.
What is bid writing?
All organisations will need to purchase items or services at one point or another – this could be anything from schools’ needs right through to civil engineering and maintenance services.
In order to procure the services, these organisations will release an invitation to tender, where relevant suppliers can bid to provide the service.
This is similar to the job application process as both involve filling out an application as to why you’re the best candidate. The idea of selling yourself is the same – what can you do for the business? How can you answer the needs of the buyer, and most importantly why should you be chosen out of all of the other prospects?
What is a bid writer’s job?
A typical bid writer’s job is to write clear, concise, competitive and compelling bids for businesses. It’s essential that their bid, presentation or pitch wows the buyers, stands out and clearly demonstrates why their organisation’s solution is better.
It involves preparing documents that will be used to pitch for funding for services or funding for projects, keeping the bid simple for the buyer, who may not be familiar with technical jargon.
It’s a great skill to have due to increasing requirements for value for money, accountability and transparency in public sector contracting authorities and private sector buyers.
A day in the life of a bid writer
Day to day activities could include:
- Researching and analysing bids
- Breaking bids down into bite size chunks
- Planning the bid
- Meeting with relevant team members and getting relevant information from them
- Researching the industry you’re writing for
- Identifying and including win themes
- Juggling a variety of bids at once
- Proofreading and checking your own work
- Scheduling reviews before sending the bid
- Dealing with design (adding in relevant photos, flow charts etc to make the bid more compelling)
- Saving materials to a bid library for future use
- Compiling relevant supporting documents
- Reviewing a colleague’s work (Does it contain contract specific USPs? Does it answer the questions asked in the bid? etc.)
You might also be involved in providing an expert, external review point for a bid that a client has written themselves. This mainly involves reviewing and commenting – examining how the bid fits with the criteria, the businesses’ unique selling points and anything extra that could be added
What skills do you need to become a bid writer?
Skills typically required in a bid writer role include:
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- The ability to work in a team: you’ll be liaising with different contributors
- A high attention to detail
- The ability to work to a deadline, particularly under pressure
- Understanding technical jargon and translating to layman’s terms
- Ability to multitask: you’ll most likely be working on multiple bids at once
If you’d like training on how to become an excellent bid writer, Thornton & Lowe offer bid and tender writing training courses which are designed to help you write a clear, concise, competitive and compelling bid.
Thornton & Lowe support organisations to bid and tender for contracts. They have experience in both public sector procurement and commercial bidding. Which gives them a unique perspective and allows them to maximise their clients’ success.
What qualifications might be expected in a bid writer role?
- A minimum of 5 GCSEs grade A*-C / 9-4 including English and Maths
- A Level English
- Some organisations require an English/Journalism degree
- Soft skills such as communication, teamwork and attention to detail
You could also work your way up in an organisation, particularly through administration jobs, or you could begin as a Trainee Bid Writer. There is also the Bid and Proposal Coordination apprenticeship available from Thornton & Lowe.
How much can you earn as a bid writer?
The typical salary for a bid writer starts at £25,000 and can even go as high as £70,000 for experienced bid writers.
The benefits of being a bid writer
There are many benefits of a career in bid writing, not least the excellent writing and communication skills you will continue to build on a daily basis. It is a chance to expand your knowledge of a range of sectors, ranging from construction and facilities through to transport and healthcare.
The ability to write a competitive and strong tender submission requires preparation, planning and time. You’ll build your organisational skills and pick up many transferable skills that can be used in different careers.
Thornton & Lowe has designed a range of practical bid writing training courses, designed to help you build the necessary skills to become an expert bid writer, whilst earning you CPD points.