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How to Write a Proposal to the Government Step-by-Step

How to Win a Government Proposal: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • In this video, Fed Access walks the viewer through submitting a proposal to the government
  • This includes how to complete the cover page and pricing schedule, deal with amendments, submit questions and the proposal, as well as what makes a winning proposal
  • The video also explains what information is on the SF-1449 form and how to find contracts on sam.gov.

5 Tips for Preparing a Successful Proposal

  • Read the solicitation and associated instructions thoroughly
  • Submit questions in a timely manner
  • Acknowledge receipt of any amendments issued
  • Fill out all required Representations and Certifications
  • Follow instructions exactly when submitting proposal, including due date and format.

Essential Steps to Submitting Successful Government Contracts

  • Government contracts require careful preparation and review
  • It is important to check the due date of each contract opportunity and ensure you have enough time to prepare a response
  • Non-responsive proposals will not be read by evaluators, so it is essential to have someone review the proposal before submission
  • Contacting your local PTAC advisor can help make sure all elements are included in the proposal before submission
  • Proposals become easier over time with repetition and practice.

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many of you have told me that what'sholding you back is that you don't knowhow to actually prepare and submit aproposal to the government and that'sunderstandable government solicitationsare complicated and confusing and it canfeel like they've been specificallydesigned to keep people out ofgovernment contractingthis is fed access and i believegovernment contracting should beaccessible to everyone in this video iwalk you through how to submit aproposal to the government i'll show youhow to complete your cover page yourpricing schedule how to submit questionswhat you have to do with amendments howto deal with those reps inserts how tosubmit the proposal and finally what arethe keys to a winning proposal okaylet's jump in we start at sam.gov wefind a contract that we want to bid onand we download the solicitationdocuments by clicking on these linkshere if you don't know how to findcontracts or bid i have a whole othervideo that walks you through thatprocess check out the link in the notesbelow but now let's walk through thesteps of preparing and submitting aproposal starting at the beginning withthe cover page of your offervery often the solicitation will includethe cover page that you should use foryour offer here's a turn rfq forjanitorial services that i justdownloaded from sam.gov and it includesthis cover page they're giving you theform they want you to use as the coverpage of the offer that you submit to thegovernment you just fill this out signin and date it here at the bottom andinclude it as the first page of yoursubmittal there are actually a bunch ofdifferent forms that you will see usedas a cover page and the layout of theforms differ but the information isbasically the same the form you're mostlikely to seeis the sf-1449 which i'm showing youhere this is a solicitation documentthat i just downloaded from sam.gov andthe sf 1449 is the first page of thatdocumentthe key thing to understand is that partof this form is filled out by thegovernment as you see here and part ofthis form will be filled out by you andyou'll usually include the form withyour offer as the cover page this formhas really important information solet's walk through it step by step firstnote the solicitation number here youwant to make note of this number anytimeyou correspond with the agency you wantto be sure to include this numbernext note the offer due date and timehere this proposal is due noon onseptember 23rd this is essential yourproposal must be received by thegovernment by the due date and timespecified and here in box 7 we see thename and telephone number of thegovernment point of contactand these plots here tell us thecontracting office that's issuing thecontractbots 10 here tells us who's eligible tobid on this contract we see thissolicitation is set aside for smallbusinesses remember the definition ofsmall business is based on the nate'scode and its size standard so they'retelling us that for this contract thenate's code is five six one seven 720and the size standard for this nate'scode is 19.5 million annual revenuewhat this means is that if your averageannual receipts are less than 19 and ahalf million dollars then you qualify asa small business and you're eligible tobid on this contractand by the way if you're bidding on thiscontract and you don't already have thisnate's code listed in your sam profilethen simply go back into sam and updateyour registration to add this nate'scodewhen you submit your offer you can usethe same form as the cover page for youroffer so let's walk through how youwould fill it out you fill out box 17aenter your company name address andtelephone number and check bot 17b ifyour remittance address is different andput the remittance address in your offerand in bots 30 you sign you type a printyour name and title and you put the datesigned in terms of pricing sometimesthey want you to type your pricing righthere in these boxes and often thesolicitation will include a separatepricing sheet that they want you to fillout and include with your offer so let'stalk about pricing nets and look at howto fill out those pricing sheetsand here's what the pricing sheet fromthat solicitation looks like they'rerequesting 1100 1152labor hourshere you'd write in your unit pricethat's your dollar per hourand here you type in your total amountwhich is1152 labor hours times your price perhour and you'd enter that heresometimes the pricing sheet thegovernment provides is in the form of anexcel spreadsheet like i'm showing youhere in this case you use theirspreadsheet and you'd list the price forthe base year and each of the optionyears of the contractnow what i want you to notice is thatfor the offer that you submit to thegovernment you're just going to fill outthe fits price that they ask for forexample the price per hour and the totalprice for a yearso you don't submit the details on yourpricing you just give them the numbersthey ask for but you're going to need toknow those details in order for you tofigure out your priceto develop your price you start byreading the scope of work and sometimesthis has a different name sometimes it'scalled a performance word statement likeyou see here so let's go through thisand see what kind of information thegovernment providesso we see that this is a janitorialservices contract to provide coven 19related cleaning for office areasrestrooms porch break room receptionarea conference room and hallwaysthey tell you the cleaning will takeplace one day a weekit'll be performed between the hours of8 a.m and 3 p.m on a tuesday or awednesdayand here they tell you that towelstissue hand soap cleaning supplies andtrash linerswill be furnished by the government sothat's really important to know thatmeans you don't have to include the costof those things in your priceand here they actually go into a greatdeal of detail on exactly what the workentailsthe theory is you read the scope of workand the rest of the solicitation and youput together your price but the realityis you'll read the solicitation andyou'll still have questions and this iscompletely normal in fact i'd be moreconcerned if you didn't have questionsnow i don't want to scare you off buthere's what you need to know aboutpricing where companies get into troubleis by not actually reading the entiresolicitation and not understanding allof the requirements when they submittheir pricingi don't want you to submit a pricethat's too low due to not understandingeverything the contract entailedso don't be shy about asking questionsif something's unclear then please askand let's let's talk about how to submitthose questionssomewhere in the solicitation it's goingto tell you the due date and time forthe submittal of questionsand it's also going to tell you theemail address for you to submit yourquestions to and when you email yourquestionsremember to put the solicitation numberin the subject line of your emailnow let me show you what happens nextthe contracting officer will post allquestions and answers in sam and they dothis so that all the bidders have thesame information and i'm sure when youhear what that looks like you see thecontracting officer repeats the questionbut does not identify the name of theperson who submitted the question andthen they answer it so we see the firstquestion asked is who is the incumbentand they tell us it's in ted reward llcand the second question asked is what isthe incumbent's full contract price andagain they tell us it's 87675 dollars and 46 centsin the fourth question the person isasking for a clarification on how manyvolumes to submit for the proposal andthe list of questions goes on and ona lot of times answers to questions aremade into amendments to solicitations sonext we need to talk about how to handleamendmentshere's an amendment that i found postedon a current solicitation on sam.gov andi want to show you what it saysoffersmust acknowledge receipt of thisamendment prior to the hour and datespecified in the solicitation and thenit goes on to say in capital lettersfailure of your acknowledgement to bereceived at the place designated for thereceipt of offers prior to the hour anddate specifiedmay result in rejection of your offerto acknowledge receipt fill out block 8here including your name and address andin block 15 here put your name and titleyou sign it and put the date and yousubmit it with your offerwhen you're working on a proposal youwant to check for amendments becauseoften they provide information that willaffect your pricing and also sometimesthey extend the proposal due dateand because your offer can be rejectedif you don't acknowledge them irecommend checking for any last-minuteamendments right before you submit youroffer now you won't always use thisparticular form i'm showing you here butregardless of the format you use assumeyou should always acknowledge amendmentsin your offernext we have to talk aboutrepresentations and certifications whicheveryone calls reps and certs and that'swhat you see on the screen herethe first time you see reps insertsthey're confusing everyone's confusedthe first time they see this the thingto understand is they don't change muchover time so on your first bid this isgoing to take you some time to readthroughbut it's pretty much always the samething so after a while you're not goingto think twice about thisnow you did some reps inserts when youregistered in sam and the solicitationmay give you the option to just printout your reps inserts from sam andsubmit them with your offerso you can do that and that'll be easierthan filling out the clauses all overagainbut many solicitations also haveadditional fill-in clauses you need tocomplete like the one i'm showing youhere if yours does just print it outmark the boxes scan it and include itwith your offerif you're still confused don't worrythere is help available at the end ofthe video i'm going to tell you whereyou can get free help with this repsinsert stufffinally when it comes to actuallysubmitting the proposal the solicitationwill tell you exactly how to submit thisone i'm showing you here is telling youto submit your signed cover page thefilled in reps inserts the pricingschedule and the signed amendments andthey tell you the email address to sendit to and they remind you to be sure toput the solicitation number in thesubject line of your emailnow sometimes rather than emailing theproposal there's going to be a websitewhere you upload your documents buteither way the instructions will tellyou how to submit and that brings me tomy top five tips for a winning proposalfirstfollow the instructions exactlygovernment solicitations differ widelybut they all have one thing in commonthey'll all tell you exactly what theywant you to include in your proposal andyour job is to give them exactly whatthey ask forsometimes the instructions will beincredibly detailed here's asolicitation that's telling you exactlywhat sections to include whatinformation and even how many words canbe in each section and here it eventells you what font and font size to usethe key thing to bear in mind is to putyour proposal together in the order thatthe agency requests and label thesections the same way they do you wantto make it really easy for the reviewerto find each piece of informationwhere people get into trouble is theydon't take the instructions literallyand do exactly what they sayfor example if they say to submit threevolumes then you create three separatepdf documents and title each documentexactly as the instructions say andorganize your information in exactly theorder they list if they've numbered theitems then use their same numbering inyour offerand the following trips up manyfirst-time proposal writers let's saythe submittal instructions say to emailone pdf document with two sections andthen they asked for the exact sameinformation in both sectionsmany beginners think i've already giventhem this information i shouldn't repeatmyself but that's wrong if they askedfor the exact same information in twosections then you repeat the exact sameinformation now why is this the reasonis they may evaluate each sectionentirely on its own so each section hasto contain all of the informationrequired for that sectionsecond the government will tell you theevaluation criteria that will be used toevaluate proposals so before you submitcheck your proposal to be sure you'veaddressed each of the criteria andmake sure that the person reviewing yourproposal can easily find your responseto each of the evaluation criteriai'm not going to say much about this oneother than to say i'm always amazed athow many proposals are submitted afterthe deadline if you do this you're justwasting your time because they probablywon't even read itso when you're in sam.gov looking atcontract opportunities first check thedue date and make sure you have enoughtime to prepare a response if you findone where the due date is tomorrow youprobably don't have enough timefor me the most dreaded words inproposal writing are the wordsnon-responsive it means they think youdidn't respond to a required element ofthe solicitationand if they deem your proposalnon-responsive they won't even read itthe best way to make sure this doesn'thappen to you is to have someone reviewyour proposal before you submit it andthat brings us to my final piece ofadvicei recommend you contact your local ptacyour ptac advisor can look over yourpackage and help you make sure you'veincluded everything you need to andyou've put together your offer correctlyand this help is free hey friends i knowthis is a lot to digest but don't bedeterred once you've done a couple ofthese you'll start seeing how a lot ofthis is the same from proposal toproposal and it does get much easierand for those of you who asked for thisvideo i hope you now feel more confidentbidding on government contractshey friends keep the questions comingand thanks for watching see you nexttime[Music]you