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How to Bid on Government Contracts

Government contracting is growing as more and more organizations of all sizes begin to understand how to bid on government contracts. The further you dive into this article, the more tips you will gain to improve on or spark your journey to bidding on government contracts.

Contracting with the federal, state, or even the local government can be a great way for organizations to gain consistent revenue and proven experience. It provides direct insight into public sector requirements and what it takes to be one of the government’s partners in operations.

So, it is beneficial for small businesses or large corporations to learn how to bid on government contracts in a strategic way with the best government proposal software and government contract bidding best practices.

The first aspect of how to bid on government contracts is understanding how to find RFP opportunities.

How to Find RFP Opportunities

The government often launches bidding processes with the issuance of a request for proposal (RFP). Yet, there are several other ways organizations can work with the government. Nonetheless, the RFP is a popular, contractual instrument that often facilitates procurement procedures and gives prospective bidders the opportunity to respond to the RFP with a business proposal.

Your organization’s leadership or Proposal Manager can search for RFPs online. Simply log on to an e-procurement site with a government entity – federal, state, or local government – or a commercial site that acts as a third party between vendors and the government. Once logged on to the site, begin your search for RFPs that are open for business.

You can also set up your account on the e-procurement sites to send automatic alerts to your email address when a bid drops that aligns with your business capabilities. Some well-known e-procurement sites include and

Another way to find RFP opportunities for government contracting is to network with potential business partners and organizations that have existing contracts with the federal, state, or local government.

Now that you have a better idea of where to find RFP opportunities, let’s go deeper into how to bid on government contracts.

Strategize Your Bid 

It is all about strategy. Strategize your approach to going after government contracts rather than solely relying on one thing or the next. You need a comprehensive approach to winning business with the government. Here are 06 key components of your winning bid strategy:

06 Components of Bid Strategy:

  1. Know the client.
  2. Know the competition.
  3. Create a great bid and contract team.
  4. Prepare for the proposal process in advance.
  5. Determine pricing strategy.
  6. Reference original plan for updates.

#1. Know the Client.

Since we have just discussed how to find RFP opportunities, it is fitting to stress that just receiving the RFP is not good enough. Yes, you read that right. Simply receiving the RFP should not be the first step in your bid for a government contract.

You are probably thinking that it is impossible for you to know much about government agencies without first winning the contract. That is false.

Knowing the potential government client means you have done your due diligence to track and understand the client hot buttons, issues, and anticipated requirements. Your organization’s capture management team has gone to bid meetings hosted by the client. Your Capture Manager has worked with client-facing stakeholders to understand the client even further.

You must know the client to build a strong relationship and improve your organization’s chances of winning the contract after the bid process is complete.

#2. Know the Competition.

Get a firm handle on the competitors. What organizations are also going after the same bid? What company is the incumbent? What does the competition offer that your organization lacks? Is it better to create a teaming agreement with a competitor than to bid alone?

These are key questions to ask when developing the bid strategy because it helps you determine how to differentiate your company from the competition. One of the aspects of how to write a business proposal is incorporating several differentiators into the write-up for persuasion.    

Create a SWOT analysis when discovering more about the competition.

#3. Create a Great Team.

You need a great team for the bid process and to carry out the work after the contract is awarded. Analyze the client’s needs (another reason why you need to know the client) and determine the types of skills that are required to do the work. You can identify the best human resources to achieve the client’s goals ahead of time.

Trust us! You do not want to wait to find and commit these resources.

Further, create your proposal response team. You need a Proposal Coordinator and Proposal Manager and subject matter experts on this team. The earlier you have everyone assembled and prepared, the more likely it is to have a smooth proposal process – instead of a last-minute disaster.

#4. Prepare the Proposal Process in Advance.

We have already alluded that you need to be prepared. Bid strategy has a ton to do with time management and being prepared in advance of the RFP release and proposal due date. It is a good idea to prepare at least 03 to 06 months ahead of the RFP becoming available.

The first 03 steps contribute to preparing for the proposal process in advance. Yet, there’s more. To prepare for the proposal process, institute templates management to create and monitor your proposal templates. Then, get a head start on the compliance matrix and proposal outline.

Starting early helps your proposal team stay organized during what could turn into a chaotic time.

Our final two components, Determine Pricing Strategy and Update Your Plans, go without saying forbid strategy. Pricing is a very critical factor in the bid evaluation. You want your pricing to be strategic, competitive, and favorable in contract terms according to the work that is required.

The bid strategy is fluid and should be updated as new information comes in and as the government issues amendments to the original RFP. You would not want to make the mistake of thinking that your original plan must stay the same no matter what. Of course not! Bid strategy plans are living documents just like any other project management plan.

Government proposal management software that integrates with capture management streamlines these processes when you decide to bid on a government contract. Learn about Zbizlink

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