Frequently Asked Questions


Public Markets


What are the advantages of working with Extrn ?

Extrn offers a variety of advantages on the research for public request for proposals:

  • Enjoying a very good knowledge of the public sector, Extrn does its personalized research on more than 250 different websites.
  • Extrn sends you every morning, in one email, the new requests for proposals from all our monitored websites that could personally interest you.
  • The quicker you get the information, the more time you have to prepare for your proposal.
  • Extrn also offers you consulting sessions to help you better prepare your proposals.
  • With more than 20 years of experience, you can count on Extrn fidelity. Meaning that you won't ever need worry again about hiring or re-hiring staff assigned to request for proposals research.

Are you a competitor of Merx/Séao?

No, we are not. We search in these websites among others (more than 250 monitored websites) to send our members only the new calls for tenders that appeal to them, in a daily morning email.

If Merx already sends me requests for proposal, how is Extrn useful? Or even better?

To go through the federal offers, you need to go on Merx. At provincial level, in Québec, it's Séao. There is one for every provincial government, and numerous other types of public buyer.

With Antenne, no need to look everywhere, we put everything of interest to you in a single, simple, quick and efficient email. With this email, you have everything. In addition to that, we help with questions and requests you could have: who are the last winners, other tenderers, etc.

What is your Consulting service?

Consulting service:

  • Revision of you proposal system process by our specialist
  • Look at your previous projects, your resources, your team (CV), your production capacities, and your environmental side. Develop documents to save time on your next proposals
  • Advice on the proposal team and the different steps to take in order to increase the proportion of proposals won on submitted

Public Markets

A few definitions on the public market

Request for Quotation (RFQ)
Generally, when the price is the critical factor ; the selection is made on a price basis. Everyone is evaluated on the same criteria.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The selection is based on different specifications (price, physical specifications, point of delivery, quality, etc.)
Request for Information (RFI) or Letter of Interest (LI)
Used when detailed informations and comments are required of the suppliers. It is possible that these requests describe an eventual need and ask suppliers to demonstrate their capacity to satisfy this need, collecting ideas and suggestions on the way the eventual request for proposal will be structured
There is no contract offered after this kind of request. However, participating to it gives you an edge once the request for proposal gets published. It is a good way to influence it as well.
Request for Standing Offer (RFSO)
Its goal is to put in place a standing offer with one or many suppliers. Then, ministries can directly order from suppliers, owning a standing offer, as we go along with their needs.
Request for Supply Arrangements (FRSA)
Its goal is to put in place a list of pre-authorised companies that meet precise qualifications. Then, ministries can procede to request for proposals between companies holding an arrangement in terms of procurement.

Who are we talking about when we reach "public markets"?

In government contracts, we often directly think about and limit ourselves to the federal government offers. However, the public market is much wider than that. It includes all transactions between public or para public organisms and private suppliers. Public and para public organisms include all ministries, state-owned companies, offices, municipalities, schools, hospitals, and others. Private suppliers are everything from independent workers to SMI and big firms.

On the public markets, we find a number of requests for proposals on products and services (textile, papermaking, tools, furniture, software, vehicles, specialized products, etc.), professional services (architecture, cleaning, engineering, printing, management, etc.), construction (building, road, bridge, demolition, etc.) or auxiliary services (security, marketing and travel agencies, etc.)

To find out who are you potential clients, visit our blog on the public market!

Is there a unique place where we can find all the calls for tenders?

The answer is no. Federal contracts are on Merx and provincial ones all have their own website. In addition, there are some more websites for municipalities, transport corporations, governmental organisms, etc.).

In which language should I write my proposal ?

For the federal government, the law on official languages allows you to write your proposal in the official language of your choice. However, when you're dealing with evaluators as you are when tendering, it is always to your advantage to have every one of them understanding you. That is why it is preferable to write in the language of the targeted region, as long as you're able to do so while still expressing yourself correctly and conveying the right information for your company. In example, for a tender offered in Ottawa, we would prioritize English.

What are the tips an tricks to answer a tender correctly?

  1. First, transfer the pdf document to word format. Next, keep all the questions to which you need to answer and erase the rest. Then, answer each of those questions while keeping the same numbering so that the evaluator can easily understand.
  2. Refer to the appendix pages where you can put all requested documents, certificates, etc.
  3. Do not use the subjunctive. If you can do it, state it clearly, not that you "could" do it. The language and tone used influences the evaluators and gives them confidence in your company upon reading it.
  4. When we prepare a proposal, we need to be aware that the evaluator has a lot of them to read. Favour simplicity and clarity. Think about writing style, text size, etc. it is better to use point form, diagrams, tables, giving a better looking presentation and emphasizing on important information.

Need more help? Do not hesitate to ask for our consulting services.

Can a small enterprise tender and compete with bigger corporations?

The answer is yes. Obtaining a contract depends on many different factors, and small companies can get any type of contract as much as bigger ones. The main factors are the company's skills and the asked price. If your business is able to satisfy the needs described in the tender offering, then go for it and tender.

How come the same tenderers almost always win?

We can in deed be under the impression that this is what happens. But it's due to the fact that it's often the same companies who tender, and competitors do not adapt their methods. All you need is to have a little more aggressive approach and it could convert in results quicker than expected.

Are contracts won in advance?

To start with, you need not to be afraid to tender, even when you think it's already won for a competitor. If you have a good proposal, the chances are always good. Even if there seems to be a preference for a particular enterprise, systems have been developed to counter this kind of method. In deed, to award a contract, we need justifications (price, characteristics of the product/service, production capacity, etc.). You can also file a complaint if you feel there was favouritism in awarding the contract.

Why is the amount specified in the call for tender sometimes not respected?

These are estimated values as we go along. Of course, this can cause problems when the price proposed varies according to the quantity asked (fixed cost being considered). It is possible that many factors influence the estimated needs. In less you can prove that the evaluation was ill-intentioned, you need to remember that a call for tender is not a contract nor does it offer any guarantees. If you believe the evaluation to be ill-intentioned and its goal to obtain a better price, you can then proceed with legal measures. Decisions differ and are given on an individual case basis.

Do cuts have any repercussion on us?

Yes and no, it all depends on the nature of the cuts. Know your present and potential clients; be informed of their future projections.

Why is a call for tender cancelled when I was ready for to apply?

There are a lot of reasons as to why a tender can be cancelled: realize the tender is not complete enough, think that someone has had privileged information, budget cuts, user decides to change specifications, and many others...

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