The moment you decide to bid for an opportunity, the first thing you need to do is understand its purpose, needs, and requirements.  After reading thoroughly each section of the RFP solicitation, you’ll be able to start the adventure and compete for the award.

Understand the Scope of Work

Certainly, reading it’s not enough. You must conduct an in-depth analysis and understand well what the Government is asking from you. Firstly, focus on the scope of work in order to assess the size of the project, and determine how to make your offer.

You must have broad knowledge about the scope to define and develop your approach to completing the work required by the customer. SOW is based on requirements of the federal agency in terms of performance, and products/services that will be delivered. It’s important to ensure you perceive it properly so that you can address it adequately.

Moreover, you’ll need to estimate how many people will be needed to perform the work; research and determine whether you need to recruit or transfer staff; assign who’s going to hold important positions and make sure you understand the qualification required for each of them. By understanding the scope of work thoroughly, you can interpret the requirements correctly and address properly the approaches that you will take in accomplishing what you propose.

You should also be able to determine your approach to project management, the time needed to perform the job, and pricing. In addition, by assessing and understanding the SOW, you can estimate whether you have the capabilities to accomplish the work required, or whether you will need subcontractors. There are cases when certain subcontractors can improve your chances of winning the contract award, even if their help is not necessary. For example, if you partner with a set-aside you can compete for contracts that otherwise you are not eligible for. In other cases, this can happen if you do not have the right project experience or references to win the award.

Avoid Disqualification

While focusing on the SW, and how to prepare your solution, many things may remain unnoticed. But decision makers can be pretty harsh when evaluating proposals. Even the slightest mistake can disqualify your proposal. What you need to do and take the appropriate measures to avoid disqualification from the competition.

See if the solicitation contains instructions on how you should prepare your proposal. Usually, federal agencies require a specific format, style and other criteria which you must follow in order to ensure compliance. Besides, there are presented procedures that are going to be used in the evaluation process.  Make sure you understand the preferences, long/short-term goals of the federal agency, as well as project-specific objectives. Collect as much information as possible about your customer, and build a relationship with them to better understand how they want your services or products to be delivered.

By gathering this information, you’ll be able to determine how to position yourself against the evaluation criteria of the federal agency and convince them that you’re the best candidate to become their contractor. In the meanwhile, competition is of significant importance, too. Competitive assessment is crucial to gain competitive advantage and critical for developing a winning solution. Keep in mind that the information you collect from intelligence should comply with the solicitation items and requirements.

Preparing a proposal for federal contracts is not an easy process. On contrary, it is quite complex and requires extensive experience in government procurement procedures. To develop winning products you need to understand what your customer needs, and present them the most persuasive solution to their problem.