How To Create A Proper Federal Bid For Small Businesses Contracts

The Bid

The Federal government has the following type of solicitations for bidding:

  • Request for Quotation (RFQ). This type is for contracts below $150,000 with a simplified acquisition procedure.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP). This type of solicitation asks vendors to propose in response to the government’s request. You can (and often will) discuss delivery details, technical requirements, and specifications with the contracting officer when you bid on that type of solicitation.
  • Invitation for Bid (IFB). The “lowest bid wins” or “sealed bid” type of solicitation. No discussion or price negotiation is implied here.
  • Request for Information (RFI). This is mostly to research the market and evaluate the interest and capabilities of contractors in a specific niche.

Make sure you read the solicitation requirements carefully. A solicitation package will include, documents, technical conditions, attachments, and various other things required with the submission. For most federal government contracts under RFP and IFB solicitations, there are standard contracting forms you should fill. As for required documents, they are listed in the solicitation

Contact your contracting officer if you have questions. You must understand every single thing about the solicitation that you are bidding on. Also, look to FARs (Federal Acquisitions Regulations) that govern the solicitation you are to respond to make sure you know the regulations and requirements.

Small Business Administration Certifications

A Small Business Administration certification is a great way for your business to stand out in the marketplace. Certifications can help you gain access to specialized funding and scholarships, allow you to compete for set-aside contracts, and can be a great bonus to potential clients. Here are some certifications to consider for your small business:

  • Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program (WOSBs)
  • 8(a) Business Development Program
  • The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concern Procurement Program(SDVOSB)
  • Historically Underutilized Business Zone Program (HUBZone)


Sometimes the hardest step is getting your foot in the door. Networking is extremely important when trying to secure government contracts. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great resource and hosts many events throughout the year. These events are usually at no cost to business owners and can offer a treasure trove of information about how to obtain contracts from various agencies. 

This is your opportunity to shine so make sure you are prepared to present an elevator pitch to better define your company. This is a speech that explains what your business has to offer and how you can help another organization meet itsTo goals. It should be short and simple, no longer than a 30-second elevator ride.

Get The Bid Package

After you have ascertained the government contract that you want to bid on, it is important to contact the agency and request a bid package. This package is also often called the solicitation package.

After you receive the package, review it carefully. Find out what the purchasing office is wanting to buy and figure out if your company can meet the requirements.

The Bid Package should contain the following: the buyer’s contact information including name, address, phone number, and e-mail address are listed on the bid notice. When you request the bid package, make sure to also ask for amendments.

What Type Of Contract Is Being Sought?

The three major contracts that are being sought are fixed price, cost-reimbursement, and special situation.

Be Competitive

Use resources like or to compare your bids using third-party service providers. The government uses the Most Favored Customer or MFC to determine what is fair and reasonable pricing.

This is defined as”

A Standard Clause allows a buyer to obtain the best possible price on goods or services from a seller by requiring it to provide the buyer with the lowest price among all buyers in that market. If the seller wants to offer a different buyer a lower price, it must also first offer that price to the buyer with the most favored customer clause (MFC), also known as a most favored nation clause. MFCs can implicate US antitrust laws, which analyze the enforceability of MFCs using a rule of reason analysis. This Standard Clause addresses the price of goods and has integrated drafting notes with important explanations and drafting tips.


It usually takes the government 30 to 120 days to review your submission. The Contracting Officer evaluates many factors including financial figures of your business, how long it has been on the market, past performance reports, and, of course, if your pricing is competitive.

Whether your proposal is accepted or rejected, you will receive a response from the Gov’t. Sometimes, the Contracting Officer requests some more information or asks you to clarify some issues. If you have not heard anything after 120 days, follow up with the contact information with the agent listed in the solicitation.

New Bidding Techniques

Auction — A government buying technique where the bidding continues until no competitor is willing to submit a far better (i.e., lower) bid. The technique is usually mentioned as “reverse auction” because the government is trying to find a rock bottom price, not the very best price.

It is important to do your research and make sure that you can cover your costs in an auction process. Do not get caught up in the excitement of the moment and make calm rational decisions.

Bundling — a way where the government consolidates two or more requirements that were normally bought separately into one contract. The support contracts of the many military bases, which require a spread of labor disciplines to stay at the bottom operating, are being bid in this manner.

In bundling, make sure that you carefully read all the provisions. It is important to not ignore the project management aspect of this type of bidding.

How Do You Get Started Working With The Government?

SAM stands for System Award Management.

In order to do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management. The government will not hire any type of business that has not registered in the SAM directory.

We have an article on our site, Everything You Need to Know About SAM for Small Businesses, that gives you important information about this process.

As a smart entrepreneur, you have already used our site to register in the SAM directory. Congratulations on taking this important first step to become a government contractor.