Throughout the American Southwest, state and local government agencies consistently post bidding opportunities related to numerous industries including security, graphic design, construction and information technology . Once a vendor has located a bid that matches their interests through manual searches or by way of a partnership with a bid research company, it is then time to prepare and submit their proposal to the posting government agency for consideration.
As a vendor, the process of preparing a successful proposal comes down to paying close attention to the details of the bid’s requirements and submitting your most competitive bid. Although the price you submit on a contract is always a major factor, there are a number of additional factors that, if utilized correctly, can help lead to you securing a win.
Before submitting all the required documentation and pricing information to a buying agency, there are usually a number of Pre-Bid Activities that you as a vendor will need to take care of. It is important that you closely review the bid details and ensure that you are able to complete all the required actions, as failure to complete these activities may disqualify your proposal from consideration.
In addition to any mandatory activities, there may be a number of voluntary activities listed in the bid that, if you choose to complete them, can help give your proposal a leg up on the competition. Some of more common activities include:
- Pre-bid conferences
- Request for Comment (RFC)
- Request for Information (RFI)
- Request for Quote/Qualifications (RFQ)
- Notice of Intent (NOI)
- Invitation/Intent to Bid (ITB)
The requirements for each of these activities can differ from bid to bid, so it’s important to review each bid notification closely. Even if the goods and/or services of multiple bids appear to be the same, it is vital that the vendor knows the specific requirements pertaining to each bid that they are submitting a proposal for.
Submitting Your Proposal
The southwestern region of the U.S. includes California and Texas, the states with the largest GDPs in the country. Along with the states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico, these states are home to hundreds of government agencies which are constantly reviewing new vendor proposals. To make sure your proposal is considered fairly, remember that the devil is in the details.
Improperly completed forms, missing data and other small errors can disqualify your proposal from consideration. Many of the most common mistakes made by vendors are the result of not paying close attention to the bid requirements or from simple human errors. Taking the extra time to closely re-review one’s proposal before submitting it can make all the difference in catching that tiny math error or missing document. The most common mistakes vendors make include:
Late submissions - If your submission doesn’t arrive before the deadline, your documents will not be opened or reviewed and will be disqualified.
Incorrect Documents – Mislabeled and outdated documents, or submitting an incorrect number of copies of a required document, are simple mistakes that can result from not double-checking ones work to ensure that the submission package contains everything needed to meet the requirements detailed in the bid.
Missing Data – When a bid calls for data to be included on a USB drive, CD, or other form of media, you must make sure that everything has been saved properly. Additionally, if the bid calls for data to be submitted on a specific media device or in a certain format, follow those guidelines - do not assume the data can be accessed in any other way than what is detailed in the bid.
Lacking Certification – If a specific certification is required for eligibility in order to submit a proposal on a bid, details about this certification will be listed in the bid. Make sure to include any documents that are required to show that you are certified.
Pricing Errors – One of the biggest factors in determining the winner of a bid is pricing. If your pricing is incorrect or missing from your bid, your submission will not be considered, even if everything else you submitted is completed correctly.
Once your submitted proposal has been reviewed and accepted, it will be entered into the bid evaluation phase along with all the other accepted proposals. During this phase it is important to be a responsive participant, as additional action may be required on your part. This could include making yourself available for interviews, fulfilling reference checks, providing demonstrations of your product or service and/or completing requests for clarification.
By staying active throughout the entire bid process, you will draw attention to your submission, gain opportunities to network with decision makers and, in some cases, have a chance to make your case in-person as to why your proposal would be the correct choice.
Getting a Leg Up on your Competition
Bid research companies like BidNet specialize in providing vendors with the tools and resources they need to gain a leg up on their competitors throughout the bidding process. By providing clients with pre-solicitation intelligence, bid intelligence companies allow vendors to see opportunities before they’re put out to bid, giving them extra time to research and prepare their proposal. In the case of BidNet, awards and tabulations data are also gathered by their team of experts to provide their members with insights into potential competitors. BidNet’s extensive library of historical bids also allows members to access past awards, allowing them to model their proposal after previous winners.
The world of government bidding can sometimes seem overwhelming but it all comes down to the details. By utilizing the expert resources of a company like BidNet and taking the time to properly prepare and review one’s proposal, any vendor can become more competitive in the lucrative world of government contracting.
Kevin McClintock | BidNet.com