Good morning everyone, and welcome back to Gateway to Government's blog, where we will post tips and tricks to doing business with the government our way.
Today is the first in a series of Seven Steps which can help you get and win government contracts - which as you know can be quite a prize for any small business owner, especially in today's economy. Each new step will give advice on how to proceed with contracting - some of them may seem like common sense, but even the best of us can sometimes overlook the obvious! Just remember that we at Gateway take the hard part out of government contracting, making it quick and easy for all of our partner members.
Step 1 – Fully Read and Understand the Bid Requirements
First things first: know what is required! Individual bids generally have specific terms and conditions, so every contract opportunity - be it RFQ, RFP, IDIQ, Quick Quote, or any of the other options - has unique bidding requirements. It is the responsibility of the vendor (that's YOU) to carefully review and ensure that all of the requirements are met. Make sure you are capable of meeting all of the requirements of the bid before you submit it!
We at Gateway have seen some contracts with extremely... unusual requirements. If the bid documents state that you should have your workers on-site wear a company photo ID, pinned to the left side of their blue jackets, you can’t ignore it. If everything has to be signed in triplicate and then two copies faxed to North Dakota, one to Looneyville (yes, that's a real place - in Texas), and then have three originals shipped to Alaska in a banana crate, you have to be willing to do it.
Obviously, most contracts won't have such arbitrary requirements. Generally, there are a few clauses which are seen over and over, such as the one requiring all workers to be U.S. citizens or have valid work permits and documentation, or the buy American act, which dictates that all products used are made in America.
You have to comply with every part of the contract - there is generally no negotiation on bidding requirements. Sometimes these rules can seem a bit extreme, but if you just read over the requirements summary we send you completely before bidding, there won’t be any surprises in store. One of the benefit of being a Gateway member is this requirements summary - rather than having to hunt through dozens of pages and look up FAR clauses and other referenced items, we put it all out there for you, short and sweet.