Respond to a solicitation
Take your time crafting your response (also referred to as an offer, proposal, quote or bid) to a contract opportunity. You want to ensure your response thoroughly addresses the contract requirements.
How to respond to a solicitation
Before getting started:
- Read the solicitation thoroughly to ensure you understand the:
- Government’s requirements
- Factors the government will use to evaluate your proposal
- Sign up to be notified of any amendments, additions to, or communications related to the solicitation.
The solicitation will include a description of its requirements, typically by using one of these documents:
Statement of work (SOW)
When the government knows exactly what it wants done and how it needs to be done, it will use a SOW. Your offer should make clear how your business will ensure all of the work will be delivered on time and exactly as expected.
Performance work statement (PWS)
When the government uses a PWS, it's because it knows the specific outcome(s) it needs and how it will measure those outcome(s), but leaves it up to you to determine how to achieve them. In this case, your offer should provide a clear explanation of the activities you’ll perform and how they will ensure the desired outcomes are met or exceeded.
Statement of objective(s) (SOO)
When the government is open to a wide range of solutions to meet their objective(s), it will use a SOO. You will need to develop and include in your offer a proposed PWS (i.e., your solutions), performance metrics, a measurement plan, and a quality assurance plan.
The solicitation contains important information on how your proposal will be evaluated. The evaluation factors will include some or all of the following:
- Cost: How competitive your cost proposal is considering the quality of the products and services your business will deliver. (Though important, cost by itself is often not the most important factor.)
- Technical approach: How well your proposal or bid demonstrates a clear understanding of the government’s needs and your plan to fulfill those needs.
- Past performance: If your business or proposed team have successfully completed projects of similar scope and size.
- Management approach: Your plan for executing, monitoring, and controlling the work on the project.
- Experience: The relevant experience and education of your team members.
- Quality control: The quality control metrics and processes you’ll use to ensure the project meets or exceeds expectations.
The solicitation will contain instructions for submitting your offer. Make sure you follow these instructions and submit your offer on time. In most cases, the government will not accept a late proposal.