10 steps to winning a government contract - Step 8
Submitting your proposal
Now that you've written your proposal, it's time to submit it to the government. Before you send it off, make sure, one last time, that everything necessary in your bid proposal is there.
So it's finally time to submit your bid. Now you must decide how to send it. You can use any mail carrier, but the U.S. Postal Service is the only postal carrier that the government recognizes when considering a late bid. Keep that in mind if you're running close to the deadline.
Next, use the following check list before you send your proposal:
- I've read the bid carefully. I went over it and answered all of the questions in my mind. Remember, once you have signed it and sent it in, it's too late to say, "Oops, I made a mistake."
- I carefully read the specifications and standards that apply to the bid. Remember, it's your responsibility, not the government's ,to get the information you need to bid successfully.
- I got the entire technical package. Nothing is missing, and I haven't missed an amendment. If you miss acknowledging an amendment, the government will have to reject your offer, even if yours is the best offer.
- I bid on exactly what the buyer wants, not what I think the buyer wants. If the bid deviates from what the buyer wants, make sure your offer does include what the buyer requests. Explain yourself if necessary.
- The approval number is correct and current. I noted if the product requires special qualification approval.
- I am complying with the packaging, marking, and radio frequency identification (RFID) requirements. I have what I need from my packaging partner.
- My bid delivery schedule meets the solicitation-specified delivery requirements. I can meet the delivery schedule.
- Solicitation requirements meet my acceptance time.
- I classified my company correctly (i.e., small, woman-owned, or veteran-owned business).
- I entered all discounts (if applicable) correctly.
- I signed the contract.
- I read the entire contract before I signed it.
- I listed all of the amendments I received. I have received all necessary amendments.
- I included conditions that might modify the requirements. (Note: Beware of your cover letter. If your letterhead includes, for example, a statement about terms, price, or time of delivery that might reflect badly on your bid, it could be thrown out.)
I made the correct number of copies, as requested.
- I put enough postage on the bid package.
- I gave enough time for the package to get to the buying agency.
- I read the bid.
Now that you completed your check list, send in your bid. Then it's the government's responsibility. Once it receives your bid document, the government forgets that it sent you a solicitation and views it as a new and wonderful opportunity to meet a new supplier. If it's an invitation for bid (IFB), you might not even have a human buyer to deal with. In this case, everything—intake, evaluation, and award—is done electronically by a friendly computer.
The last two steps in this series will address the bid evaluation and award, quality standard, and what to do when things go wrong—and, of course, how to get paid.
Jim Kleckner is a retired acquisition specialist from the Department of Defense and owner of Government Contracting Assistance, 2168 Spaulding Ave., West Dundee, IL 60118-3521, 847-426-7003, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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