Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Step 3: Price Yourself to Perfection

Hello everyone! Welcome yet again to another installation of Gateway to Government’s Seven Steps for Successful Contracting. Each day this week I will focus on ways you can gain an advantage over competitors and maximize your small business’s chances of getting government contracts. Each step will examine different aspects of federal contracting, all with the goal of increasing your business. Today is Step 3 of 7, focusing on how to price your bids for government work.

Step 3 – Realistic Pricing

As it would be with any business venture, the pricing of your product or service for government contracting is very important. With government, pricing is not always the only factor (some contracts are based on ‘best value,’ but it is always a strong consideration. Contracts worth thousands, even millions of dollars have been won or lost literally by a one-cent difference in bid price. Research your product and know what it is worth – but don’t cut so thin that you aren’t going to make any money! Remember to include your costs, overhead, time, and profit into the price, just as you would any other contract. However, be careful – in some circumstances, the government can come back to you and ask for documentation explaining how you can to your pricing.

The government always expects a discount; however, they don’t want you to sell yourself short. President Obama recently said “small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and we must protect this great resource.” His statement affirms that while the government does expect you to give a good price for your service or product – generally under the MSRP for goods, for example – it doesn’t have to be under its value. Many contracts are awarded solely on price, so be sure that you can be competitive! However, as you know, not all of them are. Gateway will indicate which projects are based on price, and which are on ‘best value,’ meaning that other factors are evaluated, and what they are. Factors can include delivery time, performance history, and a wide range of other possibilities, but all will be detailed in the bidding documents.

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