GSA Schedules, IDIQs, and MATOCs. Obstacle or Springboard to Success?
You are struggling in public opportunities. Your win-rate is not good or is dismal and you have not won any major contracts. You might think that since GSA Schedule or IDIQ or MATOC bidding and proposal development is more complex, you would have much less chance in winning those. On the contrary, I am suggesting that you go for the big ones if you want to be successful in the federal opportunities space. They are your springboard to success, not obstacles, too large and too complex, that you should avoid.
A few years ago, two small businesses in the construction industry came to me and asked if I could help them get more contracts from the Corps of Engineers. I did some research and told them to participate in a MATOC that was worth $3.6 billion for 3 years. They honestly thought that I was joking with them and got upset. I was serious. They had most of the background needed. They were short of one specific past performance. I helped them team up with a third small business and they formed a JV. My team wrote them the proposal and got them a $1.2 billion contract from the Corps of Engineers. Who were our competitors? Flour, AECOM, Parsons, KBR, CH2M Hill, etc. But since COE wanted to choose multiple awardees, our chances were good. We got the contract and that changed the lives of the JV companies and their owners, forever.
What I am proposing might seem contradictory. In effect, I am saying if you are having problem with your current government RFPs, go for something more difficult and you will win! The catch is that you cannot rely on your current proposal team (in-house or outside) to do that. They have proven their worth. You need to go and hire a competent team, just once, and get yourself a winning proposal. That will make the whole success process rolling.
Let us assume that you want to participate in an IDIQ. Assume that the cost for preparing its proposal, a truly winning proposal by a competent team, is $20,000. In effect, you would be investing, with a high probably of success, to win a 5-year MATOC or multiple award IDIQ that will be a springboard for your business to grow exponentially. Compare this with the strategy to participate in FFP non-IDIQ RFPs. You still need to spend money preparing the proposals but your chances of winning each and every one of them is diminished because they only have one awardee and you have more competition. In addition, in the long term, if you do your math, you will spend the same amount of money you spent on the IDIQ or MATOC but with less chance of winning. So if you consider your ROI, GSA Schedules, IDIQs and MATOCs are the best vehicles for companies, new or established, who are not doing well in winning government proposals. Give it a thought.