Tips for a Successful RFP Response

Tips for a Successful RFP Response gsa

You’ve been awarded a General Services Administration Schedule and now it’s time to set foot into the government marketplace. When a contracting opportunity arises, government agencies issue different types of requests to gather information, assess the pool of contractors, and find a GSA supplier who best meets their needs. The most common is the Request for Proposal (RFP), which communicates what the government is interested in buying and instructions on how a respondent should prepare their proposal. Preparing a winning proposal is the key to GSA Scheduling opportunities. Here are 4 tips for a successful RFP response.

Check if you Qualify to be a GSA Contractor

1. Prepare for the RFP and Do Your Homework

If you’re looking for a contractor to solve your problem, who are you more likely to choose: someone who turns up in the middle of a business meeting asking to get involved, or someone who has participated since the beginning and understands exactly what you need? The government acquisition process doesn’t begin with an RFP, but rather with other types of requests, such as RFI, SNN, and Q&A, that help the buyer to plan their RFPs. 

  • Request for Information (RFI) –a market research tool used to obtain information about a contractor’s pricing, delivery, capabilities, and interest, which helps the client define their requirements.
  • Sources Sought Notice (SNN) – a market research tool used to identify small businesses capable of meeting the buyer’s requirements.
  • Q&A – when a solicitation has been posted, the buyer provides a Q&A period so that potential vendors can ask for clarifications or recommend changes that would benefit both parties.

You should engage with the acquisition process as early as possible, monitor and respond to these requests, in order to establish yourself as a serious contractor who understands who the client is and what they need. 

2.Review and Fully Understand the Stated Requirements in the RFP

To understand whether you are the right GSA Schedule Holder for the job, you should carefully assess all of the government buyer’s requirements that are set out in the RFP documents themselves. These include:

  • Statement of Work (SOW): this defines all work (non-specification) performance requirements that a contractor must fulfil. 
  • Period of Performance: the RFP should detail the intended duration of the contract. 
  • Other requirements: any meeting, travel, or report requirements that are expected of the contractor.

3.Respond to all Key Requests for Pricing, Technical, and Contract Vehicle Information

Your RFP response must include specific information about your company and contract, pricing, and technical capabilities:

  • Pricing: Quote Details, Part Name and Description, Overview of Services or Labor, List Price, Sell Price, Discount, Period of Performance. Make sure your GSA pricing schedule is fair and reasonable but be aware that, unless you are bidding on a Lowest Price Technically Acceptable contract, agencies often prioritize high technical capabilities over low prices.
  • Technical: Response to SOW, Place and Period of Performance, Background, Purpose/Intent. Don’t just summarize the RFP; be specific as to how you can provide continuous improvement to your client.
  • Contract: Offeror name and mailing address, Contract Number, Business Size, POC name and contact details, CAGE Code, Tax ID Number, Prime Contractor, Subcontractors and Teaming Partners. If you don’t have significant government contracting experience, working with experienced contractors, rather than bidding against them, can improve your chances of winning this opportunity.

When working on your proposal, make sure to follow the government client’s instructions about cover page, font size, page number etc. And, of course, pay close attention to the response deadline. 

4.How to end an RFP response

Any good proposal has a strong beginning and a strong ending. You should use the last section of your RFP response to clearly emphasize to the client why you are the best choice for them. Summarize the main points of your proposal, reference past clients or measurable results from previous projects, and highlight what makes your solutions unique.

What makes a successful RFP?

To summarize – when writing a successful RFP response, you should consider these suggestions:

  • Prepare in advance for the RFP: monitor agencies’ early requests to demonstrate your dedication to their mission.
  • Make sure you’re the company they need: carefully assess all the buyer’s requirements,  contract duration, and any extra obligations. Only respond if you’re certain you can meet and exceed their expectations.
  • Don’t miss anything out; include every detail the client asks for; price proposals, technical capabilities, information about your government contract vehicle, and write it all down according to instructions.
  • End with a bang: the end of your RFP response is the last chance to demonstrate your company’s strengths and unique solutions to your potential client.

RFP Best Practices and Next Steps

We have detailed the best practices for responding to a government RFP, but it can still be a tricky task if you don’t have much experience in this area. Price Reporter’s consultants are here to help you draft a winning RFP response, and really demonstrate to government clients that you are the contractor to solve their problems.

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