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Contracts in German-speaking countries: The 18 most frequently asked Q&A - Part 2

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Welcome to the first part of our series of articles on the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding the topic of contracts in the German-speaking region. Here we list those questions that we are asked the most by customers, prospects and companies. We hope that our answers and advice will help you. To make sure you don't miss anything, we recommend that you also read Part 1 of our series.

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Which requirements do I have to meet in order to participate in public tenders in German-speaking countries?

The requirements for bidders vary quite significantly depending on the contracting authority and the project. In this way, the contracting authority wants to ensure that you as a company are qualified for the respective contract, both from an economic, financial and technical point of view. Professional authorization and reliability are also basic requirements for you to be able to perform services for a public client in German-speaking countries.


Almost always required are excerpts from the commercial and trade register, tax office and social security confirmations free of arrears, criminal record excerpts of the managing directors as well as a declaration that the EU sanctions against Russia are fulfilled. Also possible are required confirmations of business insurances. However, in our experience, references of comparable orders, certain minimum sales in the past years or required certificates and attestations of product characteristics are among the stricter requirements, which not all companies are able to fulfill. However, as already explained, the scope of the required proofs varies greatly. If you wish, we will therefore find the public or private contract that is exactly right for you. Likewise, there are certain possibilities to circumvent some of the requirements, and we are of course happy to help you with this. Learn more and contact us.


How do I find public tenders in the DACH region?

As long as you do not have a preferred contracting authority, the search for public tenders in German-speaking countries is usually carried out via tender portals. These can be used to search for public tenders from all sectors. You can use filters to narrow down the search results using specific keywords, contract and award types, order volumes, regions and much more, so that only contracts relevant for you are shown. Many portals also allow you to set a search agent so that you are notified as soon as a tender that matches your needs is published.


In Austria and Germany, the most popular services include the Austrian Register of Tenderers (ANKÖ) and the tender section of the online service service.bund.de. If you are interested in more detail on how to successfully participate in tenders in the DACH region, we recommend our article Tenders in Germany and Austria: How to participate properly? In it, we give you step-by-step instructions on how to be successful in public tenders in German-speaking countries.


How do I correctly participate in a public tender in Germany, Austria and Switzerland?

For a successful participation in public tenders in the German-speaking area it is necessary to complete certain steps conscientiously and correctly. It all starts with the search for contracts. Due to the often large number of available awards, it is usually essential to make certain strategic considerations. In these, you calculate the chances of success in winning contracts and carry out a cost-benefit analysis. In order to avoid exclusions from award procedures, it is essential to meet the required deadlines, to provide the required documents and evidence without errors and to have a precise working method. After any questions in case of uncertainties, you submit your binding offer.


We at AV-LEAD make it easier for Eastern European companies to participate in public tenders in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and to win government contracts in German-speaking countries. Our highly qualified and local experts will find suitable contracts for you, support you in communicating with clients, translate contract documents and much more. This allows you to focus on fulfilling lucrative contracts in German-speaking countries. Learn more about our contract brokerage services or contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!


How do I find private tenders in German-speaking countries?

The search for private tenders in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is similar to that for public tenders, which we explained in our previous answer. However, there are some fundamental differences between public and private tenders. Private tenders are often characterized by less bureaucratic requirements, faster contract award, more efficient communication, but conversely also higher pricing pressure and a less transparent award process. This means that you usually have to expect more competition and lower margins in private tenders compared to public tenders in the DACH region. For companies participating in tenders for the first time, we therefore usually recommend taking part in public tenders. We would be happy to discuss your individual options with you in a free consultation. Learn more and contact us.


Which are the best tendering platforms for public procurement in the DACH region?

Germany, Austria and Switzerland are characterized by a large number of different tendering and contract awarding platforms that have become established in recent years. For Austria, we recommend the Austrian Register of Tenderers (ANKÖ) for public procurement tenders, although this is only available free of charge in a test version. For Germany, in our experience, the tender section of the online portal service.bund.de offers the greatest variety of contracts of all types. One way to search for public tenders in Switzerland is provided by simap.ch. For a step-by-step guide on how to participate in public tenders in the DACH region, be sure to take a look at our article Tenders in Germany and Austria: How to participate properly?


How do I win public contracts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland?

A distinction must be made here between the type of award procedure. In the case of a direct award or a open procedure in German-speaking countries, it is mainly necessary not to be excluded from the award procedure and to be the first ranked bidder in terms of the award criteria in order to be awarded a government contract. Exclusion may be due to insufficient documentation, qualifications or experience, for example, but also because you do not speak German, which is usually required as the negotiating language. Therefore, we at AV-LEAD take over the communication with the client for many of our Eastern European clients, translate documents and conduct negotiations on your behalf. This allows you to focus on fulfilling a profitable contract in the DACH region and we eliminate any language barriers. Learn more and contact us.


How likely is it to win the contract in a public tender?

Of course, the answer to this question depends on the product, service and industry in which you operate. In our experience, however, we can clearly say that companies from Eastern Europe with products and services usually have excellent chances of winning public contracts in German-speaking countries. Normally, the probability for these companies to win a public contract in Germany, Austria and Switzerland is even much higher than in Eastern Europe. The reason for this is the difference in price levels between Eastern and Western Europe, which applies to almost all areas. Eastern European companies, which can usually offer products or services at lower prices than German-speaking companies, can thus benefit from significantly higher profits and margins in public tenders in the DACH region than in their home market. Learn more about our contract brokerage services.


As an Eastern European company, are we competitive in public or private tenders in German-speaking countries?

Definitely yes. As already explained in our previous answer, as an Eastern European company you can charge considerably more for the same services in public contracts in Germany, Austria and Switzerland than in your home market. Nevertheless, there is a high probability that you will be the most favorable bidder. The conditions for companies from Eastern Europe to do business in German-speaking countries could hardly be better and more lucrative. Learn more about our contract brokerage services.


How much money can I earn with a public contract in Germany, Austria and Switzerland?

Of course, the exact amount depends on the industry, product, volume and other factors. However, as already explained in our previous answer, there is a possibility that you as a company from Eastern Europe can achieve significantly higher prices in public tenders in the DACH region than in your home market. Nevertheless, the probability of being awarded a contract remains high due to the different price levels between Eastern and Western Europe. Take advantage of this unique opportunity and learn how you can win lucrative contracts in the German-speaking region in a free consultation. Learn more and contact us.

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