When the government issues a solicitation, there are a few ways to decide if it should go into your proposal pipeline or be quickly dismissed. A thorough understanding of how the contracting officer will be evaluating the responses is one of the best ways to know if your company has a shot at a winning bid.
Reviewing solicitation text can be overwhelming but understanding the government’s evaluation methods can help your company select opportunities that give you a distinct competitive advantage.
Bid Evaluation Criteria
There are multiple ways the government decides which criteria are important. In federal solicitations, evaluation criteria are laid out in section M, and it describes exactly where you need to invest your efforts when creating a proposal. This section is typically found towards the end of the solicitation.
The two most common types of proposal evaluations seen are LPTA (Lowest Price, Technically Acceptable) and best value solicitations. Commodity and non-complex products are typically procured using the LPTA evaluation criteria described in FAR Part 15.101-2. They are awarded solely on if you are the lowest price, assuming your product matches what the agency is procuring.
When the government is procuring a less definitive, more complex requirement, or has a greater risk potential, the proposal will be evaluated under the best value criteria described in FAR 15.101. Under the best value criteria, proposals are scored based on weighted criteria, typically:
- Technical Capability
- Past Performance
By knowing and understanding how the contracting officer or committee will weigh each of the listed criteria, you can place an equal amount of effort into your response.
It is important to note that if it is not listed in the evaluation criteria, it will not be reviewed. In fact, adding extra information makes it more difficult for the evaluating contracting officer or committee to review your response. If you are not granted the award and come to learn that the awardee was chosen based on criteria not listed, you have grounds for a post-award protest.
Being selective when it comes to deciding which solicitations to bid on is the best way to increase your win rate, spend less time writing proposals, and ultimately make more money.
If you know that your business has the lowest price on the product the government is procuring, then these may be good opportunities for you. However, we have found that most of the time these are a race to the bottom with small quantities and low margins.
If you place more of your efforts on being the best and not necessarily the lowest price option, review the evaluation criteria before anything else in the solicitation. Choose only the ones that allow you to explain to the contracting officer how your solution is the best option for their needs. By responding with a proposal that offers an exceptional or new solution, you may open a dialog with the purchaser for future opportunities.
At JetCo, we specialize in responding to unique and difficult opportunities with custom products, multiple shipping locations, and opportunities where our logistics and past performance can stand out.
Best value evaluation criteria allow us to pitch our solution as best-in-class, with much less risk to the buying agency. Our understanding of the FAR procurement rules allows us to select the opportunities that give us and our subcontractors a competitive advantage, and a better probability of bringing home an award.
If you are looking to sell to the government, but are concerned about wading through the endless FAR clauses, compliance, and payment structure, connect with our team today.