A successful bid can be clarified as a well thought out realistic response to the agencies needs. Being able to produce a successful bid is not an easy task, FAR clauses, specifications, and requirements can drain anybody's energy. Here are 8 steps that can produce a successful bid:
- Market Research- Before you attempt to respond to RFQ's you should research market trends to find out if your commodity is in demand in the federal marketplace. Researching statistical data is a critical element in order to make essential business development decisions. Market research can be used in many different ways, for example you can find out what agencies have made the most procurement action for your supplies and services, which contractors have the largest sales within your commodity, or what percentage of contracts go to what small business set asides in your commodity, the list can go on. To conduct your research you can go to sites such as www.fedspending.org, or www.fpds.gov.
- Complete Registrations- Certain registrations are required in order to bid on government contracts. These particular registrations identify you and your business based on commodities offered, government codes, and the basic profile such as legal business name, address, business location, etc. It would be in your best interest to complete your business registration prior to applying for government contracts since this process is tedious and the government will not award your business any work if this information is not furnished. The main registrations needed are DUNS Number http://www.dnb.com, Central Contractor Registration (CCR) https://www.bpn.gov/ccrsearch/search.aspx, Online Representations and Certification Application (ORCA) http://orca.bpn.gov along with any other internal registrations that the agency has requested to be completed.
- Build Relationships- It is important that you are active in building cohesive relationships within the federal market. Someone who has strong communication skills and are able to develop relationships should be the person responsible for conducting this task. In addition, making yourself visible by attending conferences, seminars, and tradeshows as well as maintaining verbal contact can provide your firm a boost in the right direction. Be sure to provide useful information such as name, contact information, what sets you apart from your competitors, and your company capabilities. Point of contacts are listed in your solicitation package, contact that person to introduce your firm and let them know your level of interest and what your company provides, make your business visible.
- Bid Leads- There are a number of solicitation request issued daily you just need to be active in locating them. The main vessel for issuance of RFI's, RFQ's and the like are Federal Business Opportunities or aptly known as fedbizopps, you can find FedBiz at www.fbo.gov. For small business subcontracting solicitations you can view SBA Subnet at http://web.sba.gov/subnet/search/index.cfm . Some agencies post their own solicitations for advertisement as well, such as Defense Logistics Bid Board System (DIBBS) www.dibbs.bsm.dla.mil/solicitations/default.aspx so be sure to check with your agency of interest for solicitation boards.
- Review Bid Package- Once you receive your bid package you should review the Statement of Work and ensure that you are able to perform the requirement in a timely fashion. If you are able to fulfill this requirement review the bid in its entirety, taking note to any proposal submission instructions and any additional forms that may be needed to be completed and attached to the bid. Keep your responses short and sweet, if requested by the agency include a brief history of your company and employees on no more than two pages. This applies to any portion of your response document the agency is not interested in long drawn out stories. Do not include any brochures, advertisements, or whitepapers unless requested. The agency wants a streamlined review process so any unnecessary documents could cost you losing the bid.
- Get Familiar with FAR Clauses- The solicitation will list all FAR clauses that will apply to the contract once it is awarded. The foundational clauses you should be familiar with are in Parts 8, 12, 13, and 52. As the clauses are listed in the solicitation refer to the Federal Acquisition Regulation for assistance.
- Pricing- As you make a decision on pricing out your proposal you should bid competitively. Provide the government incentive by being consistent in building a reputation for providing more value for your money, and whenever possible add extra value. This would be a time to do research and review pricing history of other contractors within the commodity of interest. Include all cost of materials and/or services, in addition to your company’s overhead that will make this contract reasonable for the government and profitable to you. Remember pricing will apply to all years of the contract so if pricing increases/decreases specify that. (Reference FAR 16.203). Another tip would be to offer the product or service by using less manpower yet ensuring the quality and pricing can't be beat. Once you have researched pricing history be creative in your responses while staying within the guidelines of the contract.
- Bid Submission- Most bid submissions are now done electronically which puts aside the worries of if the Contracting Office has received your submission via mail. Before hitting the submit button give a final review of your submission and be sure that you have followed the guidelines of the specifications listed in the solicitation. Ensure that your calculations are accurate because you can lose the offer due to miscalculations. Submit your proposal and do a follow up via email that you can maintain for your records.
For government contract assistance contact Procurement Source Solutions 800-267-7640
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