Assess Your Business Readiness
Theres no question that competition for government contracts is quite steep. Before you get too far into the bidding process, make sure this is the right option for your business.
The General Services Administration has found that businesses with the following assets tend to have higher chances of winning a government contract:
- Businesses with two years of experience working with federal contracts, either as a prime or subcontractor.
- Businesses that have contacts and relationships within the federal contracting community.
- Business owners who work with a mentor who is a successful GSA contractor.
- Businesses that attend GSA seminars and workshops on contracting.
- Businesses that invest between $80K$130K to find and manage the initial government contract.
The GSA has a readiness assessment that can show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie before you spend time and money bidding on government contracts.
Finding Open Bids For Cleaning Contracts Doesnt Need To Be Complicated You Just Need To Know Where To Look
A critical part of running a cleaning business is finding open bids for cleaning contracts. You cant very well run a business if you dont have customers. Its always nice when these come to you from references or word-of-mouth, but unless you have a large, influential network, youll still need to do a bit of searching on your own.
Even if you dont currently need to find open bids for cleaning contracts now, its good to know where to look. You may decide you want to expand your business, or you may just want to see whats out there. You never know when that lucrative, long-term contract will appear in your future.
However, you also dont want to spend countless hours searching through websites and listings without some guarantee of a reward. While we cant promise any rewards, we do have a few ways to make the process easier and less time-consuming.
Use Janitorial Manager to reconnect with dormant customers, track leads on new customers, enhance your marketing strategies, and so much more. Check out a free consultation to see these features and many more!
Where To Look For Federal Contracts
There are a number of places to monitor for contract opportunities as the government releases requests for proposals. Use these resources to see the government contracts on which your company could bid.
- The Contract Opportunities Search Tool on beta.SAM.gov: This is the official database of federal contracting opportunities. You will need to create a profile to bid on contracts through this portal: have your DUNS number ready as well as your NAICS codes.
- The Dynamic Small Business Search : This is a database that government agencies use to find small business contractors for upcoming contracts. Its maintained by the SBA. You can also use the DSBS to find a small business with which to partner.
- FedBizOpps.gov: This website is where government agencies are required to advertise all contracts over $25,000.
- The GSA Schedules Program: This program connects government buyers with contractors. When you get on the GSA schedule, it means youve been approved to do business with the government.
- SubNet: This is a database of subcontracting opportunities, where a large enterprise looks to partner with a small business on a government contract. This could be a good option if youve never worked on a government contract before and want an enterprise with experience to show you the ropes.
Want to read more?
To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.
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Release Of Acquisition Information
Before solicitation. Information concerning proposed acquisitions shall not be released outside the Government before solicitation except for presolicitation notices in accordance with 14.205 or 36.213-2, or long-range acquisition estimates in accordance with 5.404, or synopses in accordance with 5.201. Within the Government, such information shall be restricted to those having a legitimate interest. Releases of information shall be made to all prospective bidders, and as nearly as possible at the same time, so that one prospective biddershall not be given unfair advantage over another. See 3.104 regarding requirements for proprietary and including access to and disclosure thereof.
After solicitation. Discussions with prospective bidders regarding a solicitationshall be conducted and technical or other information shall be transmitted only by the contracting officer or superiors having contractual authority or by others specifically authorized. Such personnel shall not furnish any information to a prospective bidder that alone or together with other information may afford an advantage over others. However, general information that would not be prejudicial to other prospective bidders may be furnished upon request e.g., explanation of a particular contract clause or a particular condition of the schedule in the invitation for bids, and more specific information or clarifications may be furnished by amending the solicitation .
Request For Standing Offer
This method is used to solicit standing offers to provide goods and services on an as-and-required basis, at firm prices, as per established terms and conditions. It clearly states the requirement, the evaluation method and selection criteria, the call-up procedures, the ranking methodologies, whenever applicable, to be used for making call-ups against the authorized standing offer, and all terms and conditions applicable to the contract that is brought into effect, as a result of any call-up.
For more information, please visit the Standing Offers Web page.
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Submission Modification And Withdrawal Of Bids
Bidders are responsible for submitting bids, and any modifications or withdrawals, so as to reach the Government office designated in the invitation for bid by the time specified in the IFB. They may use any transmission method authorized by the IFB . If no time is specified in the IFB, the time for receipt is 4:30 p.m., local time, for the designated Government office on the date that bids are due.
Any bid, modification, or withdrawal of a bid received at the Government office designated in the IFB after the exact time specified for receipt of bids is “late” and will not be considered unless it is received before award is made, the contracting officer determines that accepting the late bid would not unduly delay the acquisition and-
If it was transmitted through an electronic commerce method authorized by the IFB, it was received at the initial point of entry to the Government infrastructure not later than 5:00 p.m. oneworking day prior to the date specified for receipt of bids or
There is acceptable evidence to establish that it was received at the Government installation designated for receipt of bids and was under the Governments control prior to the time set for receipt of bids.
However, a late modification of an otherwise successful bid, that makes its terms more favorable to the Government, will be considered at any time it is received and may be accepted.
The date and hour of receipt.
The envelope, wrapper, or other evidence of the date of receipt.
Advance Contract Award Notices
An ACAN is a public notice published on the Tenders minisite for 15 calendar days indicating to the supplier community that a department or agency intends to award a contract for goods, services or construction to a pre-identified supplier, thereby allowing other suppliers to signal their interest in bidding by submitting a statement of capabilities. If no supplier submits a statement of capabilities that meets the requirements set out in the ACAN, on or before the closing date stated, the buyer will proceed with the contract award.
When a department or agency claims that there is only one source for a requirement, PWGSC scrutinizes the situation very carefully. If you feel your company can fulfill the requirement set out in an ACAN, you can submit a statement of capabilities for this requirement. If in fact your statement meets the requirements, the buyer will then proceed with the competitive process.
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Modification Or Withdrawal Of Bids
Bids may be modified or withdrawn by any method authorized by the solicitation, if notice is received in the office designated in the solicitation not later than the exact time set for opening of bids. If the solicitation authorizes facsimile bids, bids may be modified or withdrawn via facsimile received at any time before the exact time set for receipt of bids, subject to the conditions specified in the provision prescribed in 14.201-6. Modifications received by facsimile shall be sealed in an envelope by a proper official.
The official shall
Write on the envelope
The date and time of receipt and by whom and
The number of invitation for bids and
Sign the envelope.
No information contained in the envelope shall be disclosed before the time set for bid opening.
A bidmay be withdrawn in person by a bidder or its authorized representative if, before the exact time set for opening of bids, the identity of the persons requesting withdrawal is established and that person signs a receipt for the bid.
Upon withdrawal of an electronically transmitted bid, the data received shall not be viewed and shall be purged from primary and backup data storage systems.
General Rules For Solicitation Of Bids
14.202-1 Bidding time.
Policy. A reasonable time for prospective bidders to prepare and submit bids shall be allowed in all invitations, consistent with the needs of the Government. .) A bidding time of at least 30 calendar days shall be provided, when synopsis is required by subpart 5.2.
Factors to be considered. Because of unduly limited bidding time, some potential sources may be precluded from bidding and others may be forced to include amounts for contingencies that, with additional time, could be eliminated. To avoid unduly restricting competition or paying higher-than-necessary prices, consideration shall be given to such factors as the following in establishing a reasonable bidding time:
Degree of urgency
Anticipated extent of subcontracting
Whether use was made of presolicitation notices
Geographic distribution of bidders and
Normal transmittal time for both invitations and bids.
14.202-3 Bid envelopes.
Postage or envelopes bearing “Postage and Fees Paid” indicia shall not be distributed with the invitation for bids or otherwise supplied to prospective bidders.
To provide for ready identification and proper handling of bids, Optional Form 17, Offer Label, may be furnished with each bid set. The form may be obtained from the General Services Administration .
14.202-4 Bid samples.
Bid samples will be used only to determine the responsiveness of the bid and will not be used to determine a bidders ability to produce the required items.
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Find Your Naics Code And Business Size
Government contracts will ask that you submit your North American Industry Classification System code as part of your application. This code is used by the federal government to classify businesses for statistical purposes related to the U.S. business economy.
The NAICS Association website offers a free search tool that can help you figure out what NAICS codes apply to your business. Codes are categorized by what your business offers. For instance, the NAICS code 611430 applies to businesses that provide professional and management development training. It can take a little bit of work to find the right code for your business: some entrepreneurs prefer using the US Census Bureau code lookup tool to find the best code.
Once you have your code, check the SBA website to determine the small business size standard that applies to your specific NAICS code. Each industry has different standards for what qualifies as small. For instance, NAICS code 611430 shows that businesses must have sales below $7 million annually to be considered a small business. This will have relevance as you decide which contracts to bid on, as some contracts are only open to small businesses by the SBA/NAICS code definition.
There are a number of places to monitor for contract opportunities as the government releases requests for proposals.
Preparation Of Invitations For Bids
14.201-1 Uniform contract format.
Contracting officers shall prepare invitations for bids and contracts using the uniform contract format outlined in Table 14-1 to the maximum practicable extent. The use of the format facilitates preparation of the solicitation and contract as well as reference to, and use of, those documents by bidders and contractors. It need not be used for acquisition of the following:
Shipbuilding , ship overhaul, and ship repair.
Supplies or services requiring special contract forms prescribed elsewhere in this regulation that are inconsistent with the uniform contract format.
Firm-fixed-price or fixed-price with economic price adjustment acquisitions that use the simplified contract format .
Information suitable for inclusion in invitations for bids under the uniform contract format shall also be included in invitations for bids not subject to that format if applicable.
ContractTable 14-1 – Uniform Format
|Supplies or services and prices|
|PartIII-List of Documents, Exhibits, and OtherAttachments|
|List of documents, exhibits, and other attachments|
|PartIV-Representations and Instructions|
|Representations, certifications, and other statements of bidders|
|Instructions, conditions, and notices to bidders|
14.201-2 Part IThe Schedule.
The contracting officershall prepare the Schedule as follows:
Section A, Solicitation/contract form.
Invitation for bids number.
Date of issuance.
Number of pages.
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What Do I Need To Know Before I Start
Every bid solicitation is unique, so read it very carefully.
If you have questions, follow the process specified in the bid solicitations. To ensure the integrity of the competitive bidding process, enquiries and other communications regarding the solicitation must be directed only to the contracting officer identified in the solicitation, not to the client department or other government officials. Generally, you will be asked to submit your questions in writing. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your bid being declared non-responsive.
Do not make any assumptions about what is required. If you need clarification or think you have found an error, let the contracting officer know as soon as possible. The bid must be evaluated against the criteria as they are written so changes cannot be made by the contracting officer after bid closing date.
The buyer will compile all questions and answers and issue an amendment to the solicitation document . This ensures that all bidders have the same information. Pay attention to the timelines specified in the solicitation document, as questions may need to be received before a certain deadline.
Elements Of Sealed Bidding
Sealed bidding is a method of contracting that employs competitive bids, public opening of bids, and awards. The following steps are involved:
Preparation of invitations for bids. Invitations must describe the requirements of the Government clearly, accurately, and completely. Unnecessarily restrictive specifications or requirements that might unduly limit the number of bidders are prohibited. The invitation includes all documents furnished prospective bidders for the purpose of bidding.
Publicizing the invitation for bids. Invitations must be publicized through distribution to prospective bidders, posting in public places, and such other means as may be appropriate. Publicizing must occur a sufficient time before public opening of bids to enable prospective bidders to prepare and submit bids.
Submission of bids. Bidders must submit sealed bids to be opened at the time and place stated in the solicitation for the public opening of bids.
Evaluation of bids. Bids shall be evaluated without discussions.
Contract award. After bids are publicly opened, an award will be made with reasonable promptness to that responsible bidder whose bid, conforming to the invitation for bids, will be most advantageous to the Government, considering only price and the price-related factors included in the invitation.
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Bid Evaluation And Award
Once the government buyer receives all the bids, the evaluation and award process begins. Here is an outline of what happens.
Non-Negotiated Bids : If the solicitation is an Invitation for Bid a non-negotiated, sealed bid situation where best valued bidder winsthe bid is opened and the information is recorded on what is referred to as a “bid abstract.” This will be used as the bid history database. The abstract contains, in order of opening, the names of the bidding companies, the items being bid, the prices quoted, and any other information that the bidding officer deems relevant.
This is important information that could prove to be very useful to you, whether you get the bid or not. And since the information contained in the bid abstract is considered public information, you can get it just by asking. The government buying office will send you a copy of the abstract if you enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your bid. You should also include a letter stating that you are requesting the bid abstract under the Freedom of Information Act.
Tools to use
Among the Business Tools are Sample Information Requests from Government Officials.
With this information in hand, you can see where you stand in the bidding process. If your price quote is in the upper third of the price ranking, you are outside the competitive range. If you find yourself in the middle third, you’re getting there. If you are in the lower third, you are in the right place.
Receipt Of An Unreadable Electronic Bid
If a bid received at the Government facility by electronic data interchange is unreadable to the degree that conformance to the essential requirements of the invitation for bids cannot be ascertained, the contracting officer immediately shall notify the bidder that the bid will be rejected unless the bidder provides clear and convincing evidence-
Of the content of the bid as originally submitted and
That the unreadable condition of the bid was caused by Government software or hardware error, malfunction, or other Government mishandling.
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