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Tender websites with no subscription fee

I'm looking to start tendering for work and wondered if any of you guy's with more experience with it could recommend some sites?  if there are any that are free, and secondly, any that you would strongly recommend that do require a subcription fee. I'm currently considering B2B 




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  • I have been in business for nearly 28 years and have never used such a website to get work. I have Googled for tenders occasionally which has taken me to a site that has Council contracts/tenders listed. The problem is I find, is that most of these contracts are either too far away, or are for slightly more specialized work of some kind. The local Parish Councils, which I have had contracts with over many years, don't seem to list their tenders online. It is far better to approach your local Parish/Town Councils in person. Go and speak to the Clerk. It is far easier to get work at Parish level than it is at a District Council. This is because at the Parish Council there is usually only one Clerk, one person to deal with, one person you can get to know. Access is much easier and there is a more casual, less formal approach to business. 

     All the other commercial work I have, for various companies and PCC's, and all the domestic work also, has never been advertised anywhere, ever. There is no easy one stop solution to acquiring work. It can't be had that easily. You have to get out and about and go and see people. After a while you find that you are approached by the prospective clients, they come to you. You mow one churchyard and then the neighbouring PCC's approach you.

     As I alluded to earlier, I have quite a large grass cutting contract [one cemetery and several playing fields] with a local Parish Council. I had to tender for it of course, but I got in in the first place through a strong recommendation from one of the local Undertakers/Building Contractors, who knew me and had seen my work in the various cemeteries. He knows the Councillors through his Business which includes grave digging etc. In reality this is how it works. You have to go and introduce yourself and use any contacts or connections you have. There is no substitute for meeting people.

    • I already do all of the above and intend to carry on doing so. I have contracts with local parish councils and get a lot of work through those contacts and word of mouth and also as you say meeting people face to face. I've also got work through advertising 

      But I want to expand and generate more work and more contracts. There is only so much work you can get from. Parish councils and such, and as you say the more relaxed business approach opens its self up to more people with less overheads to undercut you.  I've worked hard to get competency certificates for certain machinery to expand the business and believe that tendering to long term contracts and as you say specialist contracts is a good thing to add to a multi dimensional approach to generating work. Maybe I will fall on my face with it. But nothing ventured nothing gained.

      Have you tender to such contracts in the past have you won any?

      Thank you for your advice and reply 

      •  The big problem with contracts and tendering is that you may get the work this time, but next time when they put it out to tender, as they have to, they may choose to give the work to someone else. I did a contract [Cemetery] for a Parish Council for eleven years. Everyone was delighted with my work, both council and the public. The Council even sent me letters telling me that the Cemetery had never looked as good. Then some new councillors came along [replacing older ones] and gave the contract to someone else. Standards fell, the general public were up in arms, it was even in the local paper, but to no avail. The other firm still had their contract renewed, even though I was cheaper [freedom of information request]. There is a fair amount of underhanded goings on with some Councils. They are very fickle. It’s who you know, as it were. One of them [councillor] has even been convicted of embezzlement. I don’t want to put my business in the hands of people like that.

         My point is that there is no loyalty with the Councils. In my experience our elected representatives are a load of self-serving jumped up nobodies. In the real world, away from the politics, businesses, PCC’s and individuals don’t do contracts or tendering. Once you start to do work for them there is far less opportunity of being done over and the work going elsewhere. I have had some of my clients for nearly 28 years and no tendering involved.

        These Council contracts are OK, but I wouldn’t rely on them for the bulk of my income. I see them as the icing on the cake – not the cake.

        So my advice is don’t think that ‘contracts’ are the answer, there is plenty of good work to be had without them.


        • PRO

          I agree council contracts can be hit or miss.

          A village right next to mine invite the entire village to every budgeting meeting, for the past few years the biggest interest has been in spending money on the village fete and nothing else, and every meeting spending 1 penny more on anything is shot down and instead spent on the village fete (which might I add, is pretty awful)

  • PRO

    Hi Colin, we have subscribed to B2B for a number of years now however we only follow up on a very small number of opportunities advertsied on the site each year.  We find the vast majority of opportunities advertise are too big for us, not geographically suitable or too specialist.  There are quite a few adverts from Parish Councils on the site but they tend to be focused in terms of parts of the country, Devon and Cornwall for instance. B2B is the only subscription service that we have signed up to.  We get far more work via our website, we have adopted a policy of investing in our web presence rather than spending on subscription services.

    • PRO

      Weirdly I have been approached three times by estate agents to quote for property and land clearance donated to the diocese which were so overgrown and dire that quotes are off the radar the areas were virtually inpenetrable .  In one property the garden had invaded the inside of the property and rumour had it that japanese knot weed was growing through the floor inside but it turned out to be himalayan balsam . 

      Perhaps conventional routes are not the obvious point of contact anymore , i suspect alot of work is dumped onto agencies because its too specialised and problematic . 

      New builds springing up everywhere , not many want to or are geared up to clear up after the builders  because no one wants to pay or risk waiting a long time to get paid . 

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