Tips for UK Businesses Competing for Overseas Service Contracts

Is your business competing for overseas service contracts? Here are some tips that can improve your chances of success.

Proper marketplace analysis

Before competing for overseas service contracts, you need to take a proper look at the marketplace you are getting into. Who are your rivals there already?  Do you know any rivals from the UK who have excelled in the market? If a UK rival has failed there in the past, do you know the reasons as to why they failed?

Familiarity with a country’s local demographics is the first step to success – it will help you know which strong points in your proposition to focus on. For example, if local competition is not skilled in a certain area, you could focus on this area when highlighting reasons why your business should be given the service contract.


If you are angling for a contract where time of completion is an important factor, consider going into collaboration with an external company such as an assets management company. This will ensure your business is able to fully cope with the strain of working and delivering within a short time frame. The terms of collaboration should however be fully ironed out before you begin to compete for the contract.

Travel to the location

Although it is possible to win overseas contracts without leaving the UK, it pays to budget for travel to overseas contract sites.  Face to face meetings with relevant parties in the foreign country could greatly increase your chances of landing the contract. To reduce the cost of travel, look out for travel rewards programs that will allow you to reinvest your air miles into future trips. Don’t forget to keep an eye on discount travel sites as well.

Hire a local guide

During your visit to a potential contract site, hire a local guide who has an understanding of the industry. This is important if you do not speak the language because you may need to work with the locals for an extended period. It is important to be sure you understand what you are getting when you hire a local guide to avoid going over your budget without achieving your set goals and objectives. A holiday tour guide for example may be helpful in finding the best accommodations in the city but may not be helpful in helping you determine the cost of local staffing.

Sectors: Business Services and Construction
Countries: Europe
Topics: Export Concept, Export Planning, and Export Process
Export Action Plan