Exclusive Leisure: making a winning pitch to councils

Leicester-based Exclusive Leisure specialises in the supply and installation of cricket, golf and leisure facilities, as well as low-profile floodlighting systems for tennis and multi-use games areas.

It may be a small company – having just 13 employees − but when it comes to public tenders, the company has successfully bid and won contracts with several local councils, including recent ones for Middlesbrough Council, Lambeth Council, London Borough of Redbridge and Manchester City Council.

More recently, the company has been awarded a contract from Leicester City Council to install five cricket pitches which are all used by local clubs, families and cricket fans of all abilities.

“When the tender went out, I met the groundsman to explain to him how our unique system would fit exactly the council’s needs,” explains Adam Brown, contract manager for Exclusive Leisure.

“All other systems on the market incorporate unbound dynamic bases which require regular maintenance, including watering and pitch-rolling. The council do not always have the resources or groundsmen to be able to carry out such maintenance and are therefore drawn to our system.”

The company’s innovative ‘T’ Base system incorporates a bound engineered base that eliminates the need for this continued maintenance and its related costs.

Exclusive Leisure’s pitches –which are performance tested and are approved by the England Cricket Board – require only non-specialist maintenance such as keeping clean of deleterious matter, which results in much lower ongoing costs.

“Exclusive Leisure won the contract because they could provide an innovative product, fit-for-purpose, that could save the council in excess of £25,000 over a ten-year period,” says John Simons, procurement manager at Leicester City Council.

Brown says the key to successfully winning a public sector contract is to truly understand what it is the council would like.

Talk, don’t just tender

“You have to consider what they are actually looking for,” he explains. “Tendering documents can be more complicated than they need to be, so speaking to the right person who is responsible for the tender, to explain the options they have over the long term rather than just the initial cost can prove helpful to all concerned.”

It is all about building up a rapport to establish a strong relationship based on mutual trust, he adds.

“It is not always possible to rely on tenders alone. You have to speak to the client and check that you have understood the tender document correctly and that you have covered all aspects of the contract that will produce a successful result for both parties.”

These public sector contracts have been instrumental in Exclusive Leisure’s success. According to Brown, they are a major part of what the company does: “This is not only because of the sales, but also because it really helps increase awareness for us as a company, highlighting our work, which then brings in more from elsewhere.”

 

The Government is opening up the public sector’s £187bn annual spend. The new Contracts Finder provides small and medium-sized enterprises with a single online public sector marketplace to find opportunities by price, location and sector. Businesses can register for free for contract alerts

Businesses can also get advice from buyers. Workshops to help small businesses write bids are advertised on Contracts Finder in the events section. 

Businesses can also find subcontracting opportunities and use the open data on Contracts Finder to create apps, expand services or create a new company.