A Beginner’s Guide to Securing Cemetery Contracts

Published16th February 2021 AuthorJohn Hudson

Answers to your frequently asked questions about cemetery contracts

You might not think it, but cemetery contracts can be lucrative opportunities for a groundwork or construction business. Councils and the government are in constant need of cemetery maintenance, resulting in opportunities for cemetery contracts.

Cemetery contracts might cover a broad range of sub-sectors. These could include:

  • Landscaping services
  • Maintenance of graveyards
  • Restoration and renovation work
  • Grave digging
  • Civil engineering
  • Cemetery expansion
  • Fixing of memorial headstones

If you’re new to cemetery contracts, you might be wondering about the process. This blog will aim to answer some of your frequently asked questions.

What’s the difference between an open and closed tender?

The majority of cemetery contracts are open tenders. If a tender is open, it often means that it’s open to all qualified and interested bidders. If there is an open cemetery tender, then anyone can submit a response to the invitation to tender (ITT).

A closed tender is not open to everyone. Only specific parties will be invited to submit a final bid response. A closed tender gives buyers greater confidence that their requirements will be met. A closed tender may be an ITT that’s only accessible to those who have passed the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) stage. Closed tenders are more likely to be put out for contracts that have specialist or complex requirements.

What does an ITT involve?

An ITT is a formal document that is issued by a buyer that’s looking to procure works, goods, or services. It outlines the scope of the work that’s needed for the project. An ITT invites the potential supplier to submit a formal tender for work. It should outline how your organisation will deliver the project if successful and other things such as:

  • Your organisation’s general information
  • Insurance
  • Financial standing
  • Risk assessments
  • Method statements
  • Technical capacity
  • Health & safety procedures
  • Environmental and equality statements
  • Subcontractors

How are tenders for cemetery contracts evaluated?

An ITT is usually evaluated on two things: quality and price. The weightings for these can vary and you would need to adjust your response accordingly. Weightings can range from 50 – 50 to 80% quality and 20% price depending on the buyer’s needs.

It’s worth noting that for all central government contracts, there is now a mandatory 10% weighting on social value. Social value is included within your quality response and should take into account the social, environmental and economic aspects. For example:

  • The equal opportunity policies you implement.
  • How your organisation supports COVID-19 recovery.
  • Environmental considerations such as reducing and recycling waste.
  • How you are creating new skills or jobs to the local community.

The award criteria for cemetery contracts can vary. Some may be awarded to the lowest price, others to the most economically advantageous tender.

What is MEAT?

Often public sector tenders will award the contract to the MEAT. It’s worth noting, however, that the MEAT does not mean the cheapest bid wins. The MEAT allows the buyer to award the contract based on various aspects of the tender submission. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Customer service
  • Innovation
  • Accessibility
  • Technical ability
  • Quality
  • Environmental benefits

Each of these aspects can be looked at by the procurer in a mix with other considerations, or independently.

What is my company’s economic and financial standing?

You may be asked for your company’s economical and financial standing when writing your tender response. Buyers need this information to see if your business can afford to fulfil the contract. If you’re wondering what that means, it is usually comprised of three things:

  1. Annual turnover – You may need to attach your most recent audited accounts.
  2. Financial ratios – You can find these in your account. They may include the ratio of your assets to liabilities. For example, acid tests and quick ratios.
  3. Insurance – You will need to attach your insurance documents.

How can I work out if my turnover is good enough to apply for cemetery contracts?

While searching for the cemetery contract that’s right for your business, you might be wondering if your turnover is high enough. If the turnover threshold isn’t stated in the specification, don’t panic, there’s an easy way to estimate your eligibility. Generally, you should not tender for contracts with a value that is more than half your annual turnover.

For example, if you annually turn over £200k, we advise bidding for tenders with a maximum budget of £100k. This is because it’s generally ill-advised to bid for work that’s more than half your annual turnover. This is because they might not be able to deliver the contract’s requirements. For example, working across different geographical areas or they might not possess the number of staff required.

Do I need any specific accreditations and qualifications?

Specific qualification and accreditations that are needed should be mentioned in the specification. They vary from industry to industry, it depends on the works, goods or services that are being procured. Some of the basic qualifications and accreditations that are generally needed are:

  • ISO 9001; 14001; 18001; 27000
  • CHAS
  • RICS
  • Constructionline

How long can cemetery contracts run for?

If your business secures a cemetery contract, it could place it in good stead for years. Some even offer the possibility of extension if the buyer is satisfied with your performance.

Contracts could be offered via framework agreements or Dynamic Purchasing Systems (DPS). These are a type of tendering contract. Tenders often focus on a single supplier delivering the service or goods. Frameworks aim to establish a multi-supplier agreement. These agreements often run over longer-terms – usually between 2 – 10 years.

Buyers release a framework opportunity and award places to the best suppliers. Goods and services that are on frameworks or DPSs are often divided into Lots. So, instead of delivering the whole contract, you only deliver your specific ‘lot’ or section.

Where can I find cemetery contracts?

Searching for cemetery contracts can take a large chunk out of your day. Especially when new opportunities are uploaded every day on multiple portals across the UK.

What makes the Facilities Tenders portal different?

We don’t rely on CPV codes. CPV codes can often be unreliable and mislabelled leading to missed opportunities if relying on them alone. Our Opportunity Trackers manually search through thousands of sources every day to bring you the most relevant contracts.

We then upload them to once, central, easy-to-navigate portal. You need not search for hours every day to find the perfect cemetery contracts for your business. You can search for opportunities and filter via keyword, budget or industry and more. We also uniquely offer account management and industry-specific portals that you don’t get anywhere else. Our portal is fully streamlined, allowing you time to focus on running your business.

Here are some past examples of cemetery contracts that were sourced on our Facilities Tenders portal:

Countesthorpe Cemetery – Re-instatement of Laid Down Memorials

Countesthorpe Parish Council- East Midlands- Budget: £26,000


Oakwood Cemetery Paths

Maidstone Borough Council- South East- Budget: Undisclosed


Glasnevin Cemetery Museum New Installation

Dublin Cemeteries Committee Glasnevin Trust- International- Budget: Undisclosed


Highgate Cemetery Architectural Projects Competition – Stage 1

Highgate Cemetery- London- Budget: Undisclosed


Highgate Cemetery Landscape Competition – Stage 1

Highgate Cemetery- London- Budget: Undisclosed


Leek Old Cemetery – Boundary Wall Repair

High Peak BC & Staffordshire Moorlands DC- West Midlands- Budget: Undisclosed


Join Facilities Tenders

At Facilities Tenders, we source sector-specific tenders on a daily basis from thousands of buyers, across the UK.

We track opportunities for the following sub-sectors:

Book a free live demo today to learn how we can grow your business!

What does a subscription to Facilities Tenders portal include? 

  • A free, 20-minute phone consultation with a Bid Writer. Our expert consultants will answer any questions or queries you may have about the tendering process. This could be about a certain requirement needed for cemetery contracts or any other question about the general process.
  • A dedicated Account Manager. They’ll answer any questions you may have about the portal or tendering.
  • Unlimited portal access. You can browse the Facilities Tenders portal to your heart’s content 24-hours a day if you wish. See the opportunities posted daily. They’re intuitively categorised and easily accessible.
  • A daily email bulletin sent directly to your inbox. When you sign up, you can choose the specific areas in which you would like to tender. Then, a daily bulletin is created with all the relevant opportunities that have been posted that day. This makes things even easier, saving you more time so you can focus on the important things.

Book a free live demo today to learn how we can grow your business!

How can I write winning tenders for cemetery contracts?

If you’re at a loss about how to write tenders for cemetery contracts – we can help!

Bid writing services

Our Bid Writers at Hudson Succeed have over 50 years of experience across multiple industries and an 87% success rate. They offer four bid writing packages that cater to all your tendering needs. These are:

  1. Tender Mentor

Our Bid Writers will look at a cemetery tender you’ve already written as part of the Tender Mentor service. They will notify you of any errors before you submit and provide you with some feedback.

  1. Tender Writing

Have you found the perfect cemetery tender for your business, but are unsure of where to start? Tender Writing can help. If you send it over to them, they can take care of everything for you. They’ll even submit it on your behalf!

  1. Tender Improvement

The Tender Improvement programme is for those who are tendering but aren’t seeing winning results. Our Bid Writers will assess your previous cemetery tender responses and supporting documents. They’ll then provide you with guidance and recommendations on how to improve.

  1. Tender Ready

The Tender Ready package is for those who have never tendered before. You’ll have access to an expert Bid Consultant to answer any questions that you may have. You’ll also get a year’s subscription to our Facilities Tenders portal.

Get in touch with one of our team today to find out how we can help your business grow!

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