Frequently asked questions
Is it really free for HIAs and Local Authorities to use?
Yes, there’s no charge for HIAs or Local Authorities. We cover the costs of developing, maintaining and hosting by making a charge of £50 + VAT to the contractor – but only when they are awarded a job. For contractors this replaces the need for them to spend time tendering for multiple projects (including visiting and measuring up) and then potentially not winning any. We invoice the builders directly, and if a job is cancelled for any reason before it starts we will issue a credit note.
Do we have to sign up to any terms and conditions?
No, we don’t ask HIA or LAs to sign anything at all. It’s free for you to use, whether on a pilot/trial basis or more permanently.
Is it difficult to get started?
We will do all the initial set-up for you, free of charge. You just need to send us a copy of the schedule of items that you would like to use. If you haven’t already got a standard schedule, we’ve got lots of examples and can help you develop one. You can be up and running in a couple of weeks.
Can contractors change or update their prices?
Contractors are free to adjust their rates at any time. However, they become fixed for a particular job once it has been awarded.
I work across a large geographical area – can I filter my contractors based on the areas where they operate?
Yes, you can set-up territories. For example if you work across a County you could arrange your contractors by which Districts they work in. Then, when you prepare a schedule for each job, prices would only available from contractors who work in that District.
Can I attach drawings and photos to the schedule?
Yes, you can attach drawings, photos or any other files you want to share with the contractor. The contractor can also share documents with you.
Does the system allow for ad-hoc items or variations?
Yes you can add them at the start, or when the job is in progress. Once you agree the cost they are added to the total.
I want the successful contractor to actually visit the client before they accept the job to minimise the chance of unforeseen works. How can I do that?
You could include a requirement that the contractor visits within the documentation, however as you have an agreed set of prices you might consider removing this requirement.
How can I select the successful contractor to ensure those with lower rates can do the job within a reasonable timescale?
There are different ways to do this. The system can be set-up to give prices from a random selection of contractors each time. Alternatively you could introduce a quality element to your selection based on previous performance and client satisfaction. The system also allows you to send an SMS text message to the contractor to quickly check on his availability.
How much time can we save using DFG Tenders?
If you currently have a traditional process where you save up batches of tenders, and send them to be returned 3-4 weeks later – then this process could save up to 8 weeks straight away. And because much of the process is automated it’s far less time consuming and increases the productivity of your Technical Officers.
My procurement colleagues are unsure about this system. What should I say to them?
This approach has been tried and tested over a number of years and hundreds of adaptations. With DFG, each tender is done for and on behalf of the grant applicant rather than the Local Authority. This system drastically speeds up how you do that.
Does DFG Tenders work on mobile devices?
Yes, if you’ve got an internet connection you could complete the schedule on your phone at the client’s home and agree the costs and contractor then and there.
Is the portal being updated?
Yes, we work with the developer to incorporate user suggestions. A number of improvements have already been made with more in the pipeline.