Bidding for government contracts is an excellent way to drastically expand business with a consistent client that may ask for renewals. The challenge is in drafting the government contract proposal, which for a newer or inexperienced organization, navigating the nuances of compliance and bidding to be competitive can be a complex task.
Without experience or professional oversight in creating a government contract proposal, you may find yourself making several basic mistakes. Here is a look at some of the most common mistakes to overcome for the best chance at success.
Bidding on Every Available Contract
While it may be tempting to submit proposals for every contract available, this can be harmful in the long run. A proposal is a promise that your company can complete the expected task with competent skill and high-quality workmanship.
By bidding on every contract out there, you’ll likely wind up submitting a proposal for a contract you aren’t well-equipped to complete. Should you be awarded a contract under those circumstances, your inability to meet expectations will impede or block your ability to be awarded future contracts.
This doesn’t mean you can’t bid on contracts that don’t perfectly match your company’s specialty, but you should focus on contracts that represent your strengths and tailor your proposals to those bids. The more your expertise fits the needs of the agreement the more likely your bid will be successful.
Government contracts have very specific requirements and expectations for all submitted proposals. The Request for Proposal (RFP) which is the document released to solicit proposals, details the required format for the proposal and the technical requirements of the contract.
The formatting instructions in the RFP must be exactly followed for a proposal to be seriously considered. In addition to providing a professional appearance, having the proper formatting demonstrates an attention to detail and an ability to follow provided instructions.
Carefully review the document several times before submitting it to ensure all specified formatting is in place and the proposal contains no errors.
Too High or Too Low of a Bid
Pricing your proposal appropriately makes the difference between winning the contract and losing to a competitor; the bid should not be too high or too low. Government agencies are tasked with contracting quality work done for a reasonable price.
If you price services too high, the agency will likely reject your proposal. If the price is too low, there will be questions about the quality of the work and the ability of your company to complete the project within the proposed budget. Within the proposed price, you must also be able to gain a profit.
The agencies need to know what service they are offering as well as how they intend to fulfill the contract. While it may not be possible to know every single step you are going to take before you start a project, you must have a general plan in place.
Not having enough detail will make agencies question your competence and ability to perform as expected. The proposal must be clear and concise.
Underestimating Your Competition
The competition for government contracts has increased significantly in the last few years. There are now an average of 27 proposals for each contract, making it that much more difficult to stand out from the crowd. As with any other industry, underestimating your competition can be the downfall of your proposal.
Some of these competitors have been working as government contractors for years and may submit government contract proposals regularly. They likely have connections that businesses new to the industry haven’t had the opportunity to make. They also have the experience to know what makes a proposal successful and what it takes to make an impression and many uses outside resources for contract preparation.
Generic Contract Proposals
It can be tempting to have a generic government contract proposal template that you tailor to each contract, but this can easily lead to failure.
Even if a new contract seems similar to one that you have bid on previously, reusing a previous proposal risks missing something specific to the new contract. If you choose to use previous proposals as a foundation, each section should be reconsidered and written specifically for the current contract.
If your business is new to the government contracting industry, managing the contract and the accounting and reporting may be better managed with an outside resource.
The team of experts at Diener & Associates can assist with the bidding process, maintain compliance with agency regulations, and manage time-keeping and labor distribution, allowing you to focus on fulfilling contracts. To learn more about the government consulting services of Diener & Associates, schedule a consultation or call 703-386-7864 today.