After reading through an RFP and determining initial viability, the next step is to deeply scrutinize two of the most important elements of the RFP: contract value and project purpose. When determining contract value, it can be tempting to seek out the contracts with obvious financial opportunity. Promises of million-dollar profits, options, adjustments built-in and free travel expenses is tempting for anyone. However, they may not always be the most practical options for your bidding team.
Analyzing Contract Value
A scenario we like to refer to is a IT company with 5 years of experience, a growing team, but with zero knowledge of government contracting, or the specifics of the processes. We recommend that a company like this go after smaller contracts first. While large contracts with lots of perks is a great goal for the future, when first entering government contracting, there is experience to be gained. By staying in the ~$100k to $350k range and setting goal posts there, you will likely not need to compete with larger SMBs with more experience. Not to mention a lower chance of shortlisting and a saturated market. By setting attainable contract value goals, you will ultimately save money and resources in the long run.
How to Understand the Project Purpose
It is also important to deeply understand the project purpose of the RFP. This may include multiple readings and scrutiny of the few sentences given. Typically, purchasing entities strive to make this section concise, but there are often key components to look out for, as well as RFP red flags in this section. This section of the RFP holds invaluable information about the project and can provide quite a bit of insight about the Notice of Award (NOA) timeline and how highly the purchasing entity prioritizes the procurement, and even more specific details like if you can request a deposit before investing in the project, etc. These small details can be considered crucial data points in your proposal development process.
This is a sample ‘Project Purpose’ section from an RFP. As you can see, the objective section (while expanded upon on other parts of the RFP) is short and concise. While the main goal, the planting of 102 trees, is highlighted, other project specifics to note are the included one year of tree maintenance and what exactly that entails. This is definitely a notable data point in the development process.
Ultimately, it can be argued that project purpose trumps contract value when it comes to importance. Other key details like how highly the purchasers prioritizes flexibility and their commitment to collaboration. In our experience, we have seen newcomers in the GovCon space bid on projects with low flexibility and little to no collaboration, only to win and discover that that value of the contract is not worth the trouble. Thus why we highly recommend carefully considering these factors prior to committing.
Still Need Some Guidance?
At TKS, we also acknowledge that understanding project purpose and contract value can be difficult to decipher. If you are unsure about the next steps in your RFP proposal, check out our website at trytks.com.