Responding to a request for proposals is time consuming and, yes, tedious at times. However, your proposal is your opportunity to demonstrate to the government: 1) that you understand their need, and 2) that you can meet, and perhaps exceed, their expectations. Consequently, it is not enough to tell them that your business can do the job. You must provide concrete evidence that you have what it takes to meet their demands.
While reputation, prior experience, and good will may get you additional business in the private sector, this is not true in government contracting. Even companies who have exceeded performance expectations for years must provide details commensurate with the RFP in order to maintain their position as the government contractor providing the service. Finally, a key difference between private sector work and government contracting is that the government’s decision is almost always subject to scrutiny. Consequently, even if your proposal satisfies the government and you win the bid, you still run the risk of losing the award due to a properly filed protest, if the reviewing body determines you shouldn’t have received such high scores.
Below we offer some tips, based on years of defending award winners, protesting awards to others, and hands-on experience in government contacting. In our work, we have seen certain detrimental mistakes repeated – time and time again. While proposals include some subjective criteria, by implementing these tips, you can increase your chance of achieving a higher score which, in turn, increases your chances of an award, and increases your likelihood of surviving a protest later.