12 Apr

Taxi Contracts: A detailed guide to tendering for Taxi Contracts

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Taxi Contracts: A detailed guide to tendering for Taxi Contracts

Why tender for work?

Tendering for taxi contracts, simply put, will allow you to expand your business into the public sector and in most cases secure guaranteed work. Indeed, it is the strategy of some companies to tender and deliver services via frameworks exclusively.

As over 75% of vehicles registered in England last year were private hire vehicles, buyers such as local authorities will seek to buy into the service – as such, you could provide your taxi service for local councils, schools or colleges.

So, who could I tender for?

Buyers on our Logistics Tenders portal stem from across the public and private sectors, ranging from local councils, schools and colleges to private firms. Procurement solutions for taxi contracts may come in the likes of winner-takes-all, direct contracts, multi-supplier frameworks or dynamic purchasing systems (DPS). The latter is often open for applications across extended periods of time, often years.

The process – Taxi Contracts

As with any tender, taxi contract procurement processes can vary. However, more often than not, the two stages – as per the restricted procedure – consist of a selection questionnaire (SQ) and an invitation to tender (ITT). The former focuses on what you have done previously, through a series of ‘tick box’ questions and, more often than not, details of previous contracts completed.

Should you meet the eligibility criteria and pass the SQ stage, you will be invited to the tender stage, in which you submit your proposal – quality and commercial – detailing what you will do, and how much this will cost.

Sometimes, buyer’s combine the two stages together, and as such you submit an SQ with an ITT.

What will tendering entail?

As this is part of the logistics sector – tender questions will tend to evaluate you on your ability to deliver the specification of the taxi contract, as outlined in the ITT document, and the cost to deliver such services. This is often evaluated via a price/quality split, where, for example, 60% of the total score is achieved through the quality section and 40% through the commercial section. This is then weighted to give a final score, allowing the buyer to ascertain the most economically advantageous tender, or MEAT for short.

Resources

As is to be expected in the logistics sector, resource management will likely be an area in which you will be evaluated.

To score top marks in these questions, you will want to ensure you break down the process involved, for example, the receipt of an order, to how this is disseminated to the driver(s) and any considerations which may be applicable, such as challenging behaviour.

Moreover, communication may play a key role. For example, consider how your drivers provide updates to their location – this could be via phone, or even in-real time via GPS tracking, for example.

Always play to your strengths – if you have a large team, boast about the effectiveness of having so, in terms of contingency and continuity of coverage.

However, smaller teams can still benefit from easier communication and flatter reporting procedures, allowing for the speedier relaying of updates. These strengths are worth brainstorming.

As with all questions, make sure that what you’re saying is relevant to the question, don’t twist the question and answer a question you think the buyer should be asking.

Continuity and reliability of service

These questions could break down the handling of peaks and troughs, which may be done through the hiring of subcontracted staff or even bank/contingency staff and detailing how this would be managed on an administrative level.

This could also include the handling of business continuity issues, such as the recent COVID-19 crisis or inclement weather.

As such, handling the latter may include the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles and winter tyres, as well as ensuring they are serviced to work reliably in difficult conditions.

More detail could be requested, such as an attachment of a business continuity plan, which details the risk of certain events occurring, the effects these may have on the business and how these are mitigated.

Equality and diversity

A key issue surrounding the industry as of late is equality, diversity and representation. In 2019, there were 31 prosecutions under the Equality Act 2010, ranging from wheelchair accessibility concerns to issues surrounding guide dogs.

These prosecutions are increasing. Moreover, more than 98% of all taxi drivers are male, according to the latest government statistics.

As such, in tender responses, there may be questions surrounding your company’s ability to demonstrate diversity across the organisation, and/or means to increase it.

This could be reflected through your job advertisements and recruitment strategies, providing disability awareness training (this is mandatory for some authorities now) and conducting regular reviews to ensure diversity is maximised.

Competence and suitability

As a profession in the public domain, dealing with lots of people on a day-to-day basis, it is also likely you will be asked on how you ensure your staff are suitably vetted and qualified to work around the likes of vulnerable adults and children.

As such, you should consider how they are trained and what qualifications/courses they attend prior to conducting work with your organisation. This could include the likes of disability awareness training and advanced driving training, for example.

Moreover, how are they vetted may be discussed. Enhanced DBS checks are most likely to be mandatory, and your processes for retrieving these for staff and how these are updated may be asked.

Environmental management

As part of all local authority’s missions to embed social value into their procurement and supply chains, suppliers may be asked to demonstrate how they are working towards reducing their environmental impact. A broad issue in itself, this is typically broken down into:

  • Reducing carbon emissions (e.g. vehicles)
  • Reducing waste to landfill (e.g. paperless office)
  • Training and dissemination of best practice (ISO 14001 alignment, policy reviews)

Your approach to environmental management should take into account logistical, resource and human measures.

For example, you may be looking into the electrification of your vehicle fleet and ensuring that cars and vans are maintained in-line with manufacturer service schedules, but what about in your office also?

Points of interest could include the fact your office is paperless – for example – and all communication is managed electronically, and that meetings can be held remotely.

Moreover, you could even talk about how you disseminate the need to recycle to your staff, such as through recycling awareness or specific environmental training.

Although the primary focus of reducing your environmental impact should be on your vehicles and operations, you should still consider other factors of your business too.

Some generic pointers

As is the case with any tender, including those for taxi contracts, you should consider these key pointers:

Make sure you can do it

Time and time again, individuals can waste time and money applying for tenders they cannot feasibly deliver or win. As such, review the tender documents and the scope and make sure the opportunity is right for you.

Deconstruct the question

Some questions ask for key bits of information and process breakdowns. As such, make sure you study the question and ascertain the key bits of information it’s looking for. Then, use these as subheadings – a structure guide. Don’t make the buyer go looking for information.

Be concise

Buyers, in some cases, will have hundreds of submissions to read through. As such, make sure what you’re writing is informative and to the point, and that content, including specification requirements, are signposted throughout the response.

Avoid ‘fluff’ content

On a similar note, some questions might have restrictive word counts, with some being as little as 150 words. As such, the last thing you want to do is fill it with redundant, ‘fluff’ statements about ‘passion’, for example. Nobody is going to say, for example, that they don’t care about quality.

For some more generic tender writing tips, why not check out our other blog, Bid Management

Need help?

By using the above pointers and considering the ideas discussed in this blog, you should be well on your way to producing a compelling tender, and on your way to securing a new taxi contract. However, here at Hudson, we are always on-hand to help when you need it.

No matter what level of support you require, we can help – from simple tips and FAQs via our free of charge, Hudson Helpline or Tender VLE videos. Alternatively, we can offer our Tender Mentor guide and review service, allowing you to take the reins a little further.

All of our services are spearheaded by our experienced, in-house team of 10 bid writers, all of whom boast a success rate in excess of 87%, so you can rest assured your bid is in good hands.

For a more detailed breakdown of our services, feel free to get in touch.

Our Logistics Tenders portal can help you tender for work, even when you’re busy. Our Opportunity Trackers manually search thousands of websites across the UK. You can filter the results by keyword, location, budget and more meaning you can find the right opportunity for your business.

Below are previous taxi contracts sourced on our portal:

Taxi and Private Hire Services

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust- North West- Budget: £750,000

Provision of Taxi Services to Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust- London- Budget: £548,000

Taxi/Hackney Transport Services for St Luke’s General Hospital Carlow Kilkenny

Health Service Executive (HSE)- International- Budget: £680,000

Provision of Taxi and Private Vehicle Hire

Glasgow City Council- Scotland- Budget: £30,000,000

Provision of Taxi Services

FCO Services- South East- Budget: £320,000

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