Federal Government Contracts

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This article has been contributed by Government Solutions Service Provider.

Anatomy of a Solicitation

Although each solicitation is different from the next there are some common elements. The typical Federal solicitation is broken down into the following parts.


1. The Solicitation Form is the solicitation/contract form used by the federal government not only to solicit orders but also to award a contract, since it is a bilateral (two-signature) document. This means the bidder signs the document and submits it to the government. Then, upon acceptance of the bid, the government signs the same document and a binding contract is established. It contains the solicitation number, the contracting officer, agency and all information needed to award a contract. The Standard Form 33 (SF33), Solicitation, Offer and Award, is used in soliciting bids and awarding contracts that result from the bids, and with the solicitation for proposals and award of negotiated contracts. The Standard Form 1449 (SF1449), Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items, is used in soliciting bids and awarding negotiated contracts for commercial items. The Standard Form 18 (SF18), Request for Quotes, is used in soliciting quotes.
2. Section B - The Supplies or Services and Cost/Pricing is the area where you will need to list your cost/price based upon whether it is a supply item or service that is being requested. This is typically the full cost. Many times you will also need to include a breakdown of costs in your price proposal to the government. And, also, many times it will include a base year and 4 additional years

3. Section C - The Statement of Work is that part of the solicitation where the government will describe exactly what it needs. This is where you will find the technical requirements of the contract. Although you need to read the entire solicitation carefully and make certain that you understand what is expected, it is best to start with the Statement of Work (sometimes called the Performance Work Statement). If you or one of your teaming partners cannot do the work required then you can look for another contract that you can complete.

4. Section D - The Packaging & Marking is for the requirements for the packaging and marking for items to be delivered.

5. Section E - The Inspection and Acceptance will notify you of who can inspect your work or items and how they will be accepted.

6. Section F - The Deliveries or Performance typically contains the deliverable schedule of when items are due and where they are to be delivered or performed. 

7.  Section G - The Contract Administration Date contains who will be responsible for the technical aspects and what reports the government expects from the bidder. It may also contain a part that discusses how and when the contractor will get paid and what is a valid expense against the contract. It may also contain the evaluation criteria that will be used to gauge the contractor’s performance of the contract.

8.  Section H - The Special Contract Requirements can contain any special requirements. Typical are a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Rights to Data, Confidentiality Requirements, Security Audits, Privacy Regulations and other special requirements of the contract.

9.  Section I - The Contract Clauses contains the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clauses that will be incorporated into the contract. These are the procurement rules and laws that will govern the contract.

10.  Section J - The List of Attachments is just that a list of the attachments to the contract.

11.  Section K - The Representatives, Certificates and Other statements of Bidders contains the representations and certifications that you may not have to complete if you have already done them electronically via the ORCA website at http://orca.bpn.gov. Most companies complete their ORCA after their CCR is complete.

12.  Section L - The Instructions, Conditions and Notices to Bidders will contain instructions on what exactly should be in your bid proposal and the format in which the proposal should be presented. That may include how many pages the proposal should be, the size of the type, whether the copy should be single or double spaced. A typical proposal contains a technical section, cost section, past performance section and business section.

13.  Section M - The Evaluation Factors for Award will contain both the factors that will be considered and their weight. As you will note in many solicitations the price is just a small part of the overall score. In fact price is relatively low on the consideration scale. Rather, emphasize whatever experience you may have that demonstrates that you've done this sort of work before and done it well. Many times past performance is rated higher than price. .

In the next article we will begin the Anatomy of a Response. For more information or help with your bids please contact john@gssp.us.

Government Solutions Service Provider (GSSP)

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About: GSSP is a provider of on-demand and on-going services needed by clients and by the government, allowing us to focus resources at the most reasonable costs, providing clients and the government with the best values possible.