What is Competitive Bidding Process in Public Procurement?

Published on 29th March 2023

The competitive bidding process involves the solicitation of bids from potential bidders and suppliers offering contractual services. It's an important part of procurement services by businesses and organizations to obtain cost-effective services and goods without compromising on quality. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide to the competitive bidding requirement, including the benefits it offers such as increased transparency, cost savings, and improved quality. We will also discuss the key principles of competitive bidding, the stages of the process, and common types of bids. 


Additionally, we will cover how businesses can prepare for and conduct a successful competitive bid, including identifying project requirements, researching potential vendors, and developing clear and concise bidding documents. 


Finally, we will offer best practices for a successful competitive bidding process, including clear communication, objective evaluation criteria, transparency, and proper documentation and record-keeping.


What is competitive bidding?

Competitive bidding is a procurement process used by government agencies and organizations to acquire goods or services. Under this process, potential suppliers submit competitive bids, and the successful bidder is selected based on specific criteria, such as competitive pricing, quality, delivery, and compliance with requirements and specifications.


To participate in a competitive bidding process, suppliers need to meet the necessary qualifications and be considered a qualified supplier. The bidding process aims to promote transparency, fairness, and competition among multiple vendors, ensuring that the lowest responsible bidder is selected for the contract.


Competitive bidding is commonly used in public work procurement, such as infrastructure projects or construction work. The process can help government agencies and organizations to obtain the best value for their money, while also promoting competition and supplier diversity.


The purchasing department of any organization can benefit greatly from the competitive bid process. By utilizing competitive proposals in the procurement process, businesses can secure the services of the most qualified service provider while also achieving significant cost savings.


Also Read: Top 10 Tips on Bidding Jobs in Construction


The Benefits of Competitive Bidding

Increased transparency

One of the most significant benefits of competitive procurement is increased transparency. The public contract code requires organizations to maintain a transparent and open procurement process. By soliciting bids from multiple service providers, businesses can ensure that all potential vendors are given an equal opportunity to participate in the procurement process. This promotes fair and open competition that leads to better results for the business.


Lower costs

The primary objective of competitive solicitation is to secure the most cost-effective services. The winning bid is not always the lowest bid, but rather the bid that provides the best value for the organization. By creating a competitive environment, businesses can receive bids from multiple vendors, encouraging service providers to offer competitive pricing. This can lead to significant cost savings for the business while still maintaining the desired level of quality.


Improved quality

In a competitive procurement process, service providers are incentivized to offer their best possible services to win the bid. This often results in better quality services as vendors strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors. By creating a competitive environment, businesses can ensure that they are receiving the highest quality services from the most qualified service providers.


Increased innovation

The competitive bidding process can also encourage innovation among service providers. By promoting creativity and innovation, businesses can receive new and innovative ideas from service providers, leading to better solutions for the organization. This can lead to increased efficiency, improved quality, and better overall results.


Also Read: What Are the Best Construction Bidding Websites? [2023]


How Competitive Bidding Works?

The bid process usually starts with a request for proposal (RFP) or an invitation to bid (ITB), which outlines the requirements, specifications, and terms and conditions for the project or work. The RFP or ITB is advertised publicly to solicit bids from qualified sources, such as suppliers, contractors, or service providers. Qualified sources can refer to any vendor or contractor who meets the requirements of the RFP or ITB, such as certifications, licenses, or experience.


In the case of goods or supplies, the competitive sealed bidding process involves vendors submitting their bids in a sealed envelope, and the government agency opens them at a specified time and date. The bids are evaluated based on factors such as competitive pricing, quality, and compliance with the RFP or ITB requirements. The lowest responsible bidder who meets all the requirements and specifications is typically awarded the contract.


For professional services, the bidding process may involve a more comprehensive evaluation of the bidder's experience, qualifications, and proposed methodology. The government agency may use a selection committee to review and score the proposals based on criteria such as technical expertise, past performance, and cost.


The contract term is typically specified in the RFP or ITB, and it can vary depending on the project's nature or scope. The government agency may also include clauses that provide for extensions or renewal of the contract, as well as termination for cause or convenience.


One example of competitive bidding in action is public works projects, such as the construction of roads, bridges, or public buildings. A government agency would issue an RFP or ITB for the project, outlining the specific requirements and specifications. Multiple contractors would then submit their bids, which would be evaluated based on factors such as cost, experience, and ability to meet the project's requirements. The government agency would then award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder who meets all the requirements and specifications of the project.


Also Read: International Competitive Bidding: A Comprehensive Guide


Preparing for a Competitive Bidding Process

To prepare for a competitive bidding process, the government agency or organization needs to identify the goods or services that need to be procured and define the requirements and specifications in a detailed and clear manner. The agency may issue a Request for Proposal (RFP), an Invitation to Bid (ITB), or other similar solicitation documents, which outline the terms and conditions of the procurement.


In a sealed bid process, the potential suppliers submit their bids in a sealed envelope or package, which is only opened at a specified time and date. To ensure that the potential suppliers are serious about the bid, the agency may require a bid security, which is a form of collateral that is submitted with the bid and is forfeited if the supplier does not fulfill their obligations.


In an informal competitive proposals process, the agency may invite potential suppliers to submit proposals and engage in negotiations before a final contract is awarded. This process may be used for complex or customized procurements, where the requirements are not fully defined, and the agency needs to work with the supplier to develop a solution that meets their needs.


Strategic sourcing is a procurement strategy that focuses on analyzing the organization's spending patterns, identifying potential suppliers, and negotiating favorable terms and conditions. This approach can help to streamline the procurement process, reduce costs, and improve supplier relationships.


Also Read: Effective Procurement Strategies in the Construction Industry


Conducting a Competitive Bidding Process

Conducting a competitive bidding process involves evaluating the bids or proposals based on criteria such as price, quality, delivery, and compliance with the requirements and specifications. The lowest responsible bidder who meets all the requirements and specifications is typically awarded the contract.


Overall, a well-designed and executed competitive bidding process can help to ensure that the government agency or organization obtains the goods or services they need at the best possible price and from a qualified and reliable supplier.



The competitive bidding process is a crucial aspect of public procurement that ensures fairness and transparency in the selection of suppliers for goods and services. By using a competitive bidding process, government agencies and organizations can obtain the best value for their money, while also promoting competition and supplier diversity.


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