Imagine a tender closing and no organisation responding.  It’s an embarrassment on so many levels, and unfortunately, it does happen. To avoid such an experience happening, many government agencies “test the water” before the tender is released.

The concept of market sounding is for the public sector to ascertain the private sector’s appetite for a project, and gain up-to-date market knowledge through open and recorded conversations. Market sounding allows the public sector to gain private sector input and understand the associated project risks whilst also advertising the project to ensure prospective contractors do apply with conforming bids. As part of Harbak’s services, I have been conducting detailed market research for clients for almost ten years, predominately within the Waste and Construction industries.

Tendering is one of the most crucial and difficult areas in contracting out to the public sector, as it is through this process that the public sector can select the best service provider in relation to capacity, quality, and cost, as well as balancing the risk. Without thorough market sounding, it can be difficult to articulate the conditions of a project, and run the risk of no response to the tender – which is an increased risk in non-metropolitan areas as there are often fewer potential respondents. To conduct in-depth market sounding, the government needs to communicate with experienced providers of the infrastructure and services, thus allowing the government to collect opinions on market conditions, technical aspects of the project, and the allocation of risks.

Market sounding needs to be conducted at the appropriate time. Too early in the project development can make the public sector sounds vague, as relevant questions have not been identified. Whereas the risk of conducting market sounding too late is if the project definition is too detailed, thus leaving little room for effective private sector feedback. My previous experience in conducting market sounding work means that our team is proficient in knowing when to conduct market research and the right questions to ask in this process. We can make sure that your risk is both understood and potential reduced. A thorough market sounding experience can provide your project with interest and may be even a result that you have not previously recognised


Keiran Travers is the Founder and Director of Harbak. The company provides Business Management, Business Match-Making (Business Development) and Advisory Services. Harbak offers business match-making services for small to medium-sized businesses who are wanting to consolidate their existing clientele and grow their business connections and opportunities. Harbak can facilitate low-risk introductions with key industry stakeholders and find hidden revenue opportunities to drive business growth. Contact us for more information about our services.