Sometimes there is no other way to win a government contract than by having the winning bid in the Request-for-proposal (RFP) process. Regardless of your company’s qualifications, that winning bid is likely imperative. It is how the agency issuing the RFP determines that your business is the right fit for what they need.
Here are some tips for developing a stellar Bid that will win you the government contracts you want. The obvious first step is to have a Bid that you want to go after, this includes the Bid Package that the agency has created outlining their requirements for the product or service they need. These can be found on an agency’s Bid site which may be hosted by themselves or using a service. The easiest way of finding all the bids in your potential market is by using a platform like GovSpend. You can sign-up here for a free preview, but a paid account lets you filter through a massive database of Bids based on keywords and other search criteria.
Tip #1: Pay attention to detail
Once you’ve found your Bid, review the Bid package carefully. It will tell you exactly what the agency is looking for and what they expect to see in your Bid. Bids should be submitted with great care and attention to detail. Look closely at the conditions of purchase, delivery, and payment before you begin your Bid. If submitted with an offer that is in error, there could be logistical complications or financial loss in order to resolve the issue. So make sure to read the specifications of the RFP request to make sure you reply accurately. Also, consider the Return on Investment (ROI) of submitting a proposal. Is the expense of your time worth it even if you don’t win?
Tip #2: Know your competition
An important part of bidding is knowing who you are up against. You should also have a good understanding of your competition and how you can beat them. Using GovSpend’s historical spending data is a great way to see what your competitors have charged for deals they’ve won in the past. You may even find competitors you were not aware of, or new competitors in the market. The more you understand your competition, the better your odds.
Tip #3: Know the different types of offers
Keep in mind that there are two types of offers that the Bid package can request from you. One is the Sealed Bidding Purchase and the other is a Proposal. In a Sealed Bidding Purchase, a bid is made and selected without any edits or negotiations made to it once it has been submitted for consideration. A Proposal bid can go through a negotiation process and an award is made after the negotiation has been completed.
A proposal on a negotiated procurement should also be prepared with attention to detail. But because the negotiated purchase procedure is more flexible than the sealed bid, you have the chance to seek changes to the contract, such as to the conditions of purchase, delivery, or payment.
Tip #4: Offering the best in value is more important than offering the best price
Thanks to changes in the procurement process, the importance of “Best value” has increased. This means that agencies don’t have to give the contract to the lowest bidder, but to the item that best satisfies it’s needs, even at a slightly higher price. If this is the case it will be specified in the Bid documentation along with a description of what their criteria will be to reach that best value.
Tip #5: Provide an executive summary
Once it is time to write the proposal, there are a few elements that are standard. An executive summary tells the evaluators why they should choose your company, so explain how your company would accomplish the requested work.
You’ll need a list of your company’s qualifications that make you well suited to the contract, plus a list of responsibilities of the important personnel and subcontractors named in the proposal. Take the time to address whatever the agency included in the RFP. If they took the time to list it on the RFP, then it is important.
Make sure that whatever graphics you use, such as charts and graphs, that they are relevant and use as examples whenever possible.
Tip #6: Always provide references
It will also benefit your proposal to include a list of past jobs that were completed to the client’s satisfaction. These past jobs should be similar to the one you are competing for. Also include a safety plan if you are preparing a proposal that requires the use of machinery, chemicals, or any equipment that could cause injury.
After you have put all this together make sure it is well-written. Proofread it several times, and if possible get a second set of eyes to review it. You don’t want to send it off with any mistakes. Once you’re completely done you’re ready to submit your Bid. Goodluck!