The best way to tender a website and find the right agency partnership

I have always hated tendering and have made a conscious decision for Crush Design to reject the vast majority of invitations to do so.

As a client surely this should be a worry if you are planning to tender out your website project.

Crush Design is a highly reputable agency with an excellent client base and track record in delivering market leading websites. We could be the perfect agency but by tendering your project you automatically exclude us from the process. And I know that we are one of many high quality agencies that will not tender.

This begs two questions;

1. Why don’t we tender

Tenders really only help you find agencies that are good at tendering (which we are not)
Tenders favour those good at selling (which we are not)
Tenders remove any opportunity to test and build trust with your future agency as everything is done at arms length (trust and partnership is key to our service)

All this means that clients that tender their projects are likely to end up with an anonymous agency they don’t know much about, who are very convincing, bureaucratic or both.

2. How do you go about finding the right agency?

The first problem with tenders is that they are usually written by someone with no experience of planning and/or building websites.
The second problem with tenders is that they are usually judged by people with no experience of planning and/or building websites.
The third problem with tenders is that, in helping you select the wrong agency, they are a huge drain on resource for both sides (writing proposals is incredibly time consuming as is reading them all)

Compound these problem with the probability that the tender is the basis for signing over a big project with a brand new supplier and you may be able to understand my reservation.

Can I ask that we stop this farcical process and try this.

Do your homework first and identify just two agencies to focus on. Decide by their reputation, quality of work, list of clients, and any other desktop means of research. Give them an initial telephone call, explain the overview of the project and judge them by their response.

By putting in this effort and focusing on just two you will both save everyone a lot of time and endear yourself to the agencies in question

Once you are happy with the two agencies engage with both of them to help you write your website brief / specification. My advice is offer them a consultancy budget, need only be small but it shows the two agencies that you are committed to the project. In return they should be happy to commit the time you need help you write the perfect brief, not motivated by the small budget, but by the 50/50 chance of winning such a high quality client.

As far a judging the project, I am afraid you are on your own there, but you will have two website specifications and tenders co-written by professionals with whom you will have spent some the time to better understand them and their agency. As oppose to multiple responses written in isolation by strangers.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash