Bid writers are technical communicators who prepare and produce business growth proposals that companies use to provide pricing for a project, job or franchise. Many businesses issue bid requests to obtain information from vendors regarding the estimated level of effort and costs for undertaking a project. Bid writers organise and coordinate bid production, write and gather content, prepare cost estimates and collate material into compelling proposals that help drive business development and sales.
Primary job tasks
Bid writers manage the written and editorial aspects of the proposal development process. They communicate requirements, deadlines and expectations to key stakeholders and the proposal team. Bid writers also maintain the proposal boilerplate, author content, produce computer-generated graphics and edit text produced by other members of the proposal team. Bid writers also check drafts for readability, clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure and formatting. Essentially, bid writers produce high-quality documents and ensure completed proposals meet the bid specifications.
Knowledge, skills and abilities
Bid writers possess excellent technical writing and communication skills. They have the ability to write about complex, technical concepts in easy-to-understand ways and convey ideas graphically. Good bid writers maintain a working knowledge of standard writing, research and electronic distribution tools, such as word processing and desktop publishing programs, graphic design applications and email. They are also familiar with techniques for performing audience analyses and are knowledgeable about their company's products or service offerings; bid writers use these skills to tailor documents to specific audiences and generate business for their company.
A degree qualifies individuals for most entry-level technical writing jobs. Many employers, however, show a strong preference for individuals with a degree in English, communications or journalism. Bid writers should also possess specialised knowledge of their employer's products and services. Some bid writers may also obtain relevant and practical knowledge through courses or training in graphic design, animation, audio and video programs and electronic records management. Foreign language skills are helpful to bid writers who write for international audiences.
Employment of technical writers is forecast to grow by 18 per cent, or faster than the national average for all occupations. The projections go through to the year 2018. With that said, the prospects for technical writing jobs are strong. Because of the growing need to communicate technical information clearly and concisely for general audiences, the demand for talented writers and effective communicators is solid.
According to the National Careers Service, as of 2014 bid writer starting salaries come in at around £20,000 a year. Experienced technical authors can earn more than £40,000.