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Don’t Screw Up Your First Federal Bid, Follow These Tips!

 In Govcon Learning

Follow these tips and tricks in doing government contracts, so you won’t screw up on your first federal bid!


I know a lot of people who are bidding jobs all the time, but they aren’t really successful at getting the job or if they won, they found out that they made some huge mistakes along with their bid. This is what I want you to avoid. 

With this, I’m sharing some ideas and ways that I use myself when I’m looking at bidding projects in the federal marketplace.

1. Get the contract into writing.

We’re always in a rush for a very quick turnaround period, but in terms of pricing and specifications asked by the government, you should make sure to get it first into writing. 

Why? Because the government does not care if you make a mistake or if they are the ones who did it. If they can’t see those specifications in paper, then they won’t pay you. 

“They don’t care about anything that’s happening in your life, your personal life, or anything happening between you and the guy who told you that this thing was going to be square versus round. So make sure, the only way that you can really cover yourself is to get it in writing. You want to make sure that the first thing you do is get stuff in writing.”

2. Meet all the specifications.

Some people who watch my video usually bid for commodity-type items on sites like FedBid, NECO, or Dibbs. With this type of doing business with the government, you should make sure that you meet the requirements and specifications of the product they want. 

If they want a green headphone, you should give them green headphones. Regardless if your supplier doesn’t have that type of headphone, you still need to provide it. You may either look for other suppliers or you don’t bid the job. 

“Do not bid a job with something that’s different, that’s less, or inferior, than what the government’s asking for. Make sure that you’re giving exactly what they’re asking for.”

Also, even if it doesn’t make sense, give it to them anyways. Why? Because the government will pay for their mistakes. As long as you give them what’s written on the contract, they’ll pay you. 

3. Get supplier credit.

It doesn’t make any sense to go out here and attempt to bid jobs or attempt on pursuing opportunities that you don’t have the ability to finance. So, get yourself some supplier credit or ask someone or a company to provide it for you.  

“If you don’t have any money, you don’t have any resources, you don’t have any… a teaming partner or a company that you’re working with that has the ability to purchase this item, I would not encourage you to bid it.”

Don’t try to figure it out later, after the fact that you bid on it because I have met a lot of people who have won projects, but can’t do it because they don’t have any resources. 

In fact, these are the things that you need to think of first, before you actually take on the challenge or actually start bidding jobs.

If you want people to help fund your bids, then find a network of people who can vouch for you. If you also want to learn how to get yourself some supplier credit, don’t worry we have a video made for that. 

“Learn these things that you need to do. Put yourself in a position to be ready when the time is right.”

4. Know your numbers.

You need to know how to price your jobs and with this, you need to ask these questions:

How much profit do you have in that job? How much is the product? How much do you need to transport that product from the supplier to the agency? Do you pay your workers the right wage? 

“The only way that you would know what you can and can’t do is based on knowing your numbers. So have a good grasp of your numbers. Know what the things cost. Know what it costs to get it to where you have to get it to. Know what it costs to install it. Know what it costs to integrate it. Know how many people you need. Know your numbers.”

5. Don’t go at it alone.

A lot of people out there are one-man companies and a lot of my audience are people who want to shift from one career to the other, but in doing these things, you should not do it all alone. 

You can technically do some stuff on your own, but for other things, you can’t. You need resources

There are people out there. There’s mentorship and other seminars out there. There’s PTAC and other organizations that are partners with the Small Business Administration that want to help you. There are also entities that are willing to do partnerships, joint ventures, and teaming with you. 

“I’m not saying that you need someone 24 hours a day or 99 percent of the time. But, have someplace, some resource, somewhere that you can go to kind of like piggyback your thoughts, your ideas, when you’re doing this stuff.”

6. Prepare to work.

Government contracting is not a get rich quick scheme. It is work and if you’re not prepared to do the work, then you’re not ready for this. 

Now, some of you might have a day job or are working on other things, but consider that doing this is also a job and in order for you to get something out of this, you need to do the work. 

“We all have lives, I understand all that kind of stuff. But, again, it’s work. It’s like anything else. You get out of it what you put into it. So, if you put in very little, you’re going to get out very little. Simple as that.”

7. Cover the time element.

I’ve seen projects where the government said, “Listen, provide us this item from the day we execute the contract. We need it delivered to this particular location in three weeks.”

Now, that statement or specification is critical. If your supplier can’t meet that requirement, then you don’t need to pursue that project. If they can’t deliver that item to this particular destination in three weeks, then I would not go with their price.

Even if their price is lower than the guy who can deliver it in three weeks, you should not agree to it because you will just then be kicked off of the job for failing to perform. 

“You don’t want to be considered non-responsive for failing to meet that requirement. That’s a very easy way to disqualify yourself before you get started. And bids are so time consuming. There’s so much work that we put into this stuff that, why would you want to even be disqualified coming out the gate? So make sure you meet that time element.”


With this in mind, if you want to learn more about the tips and tricks in winning government contracts, then join us here at GovCon Giants.

Just visit our website and other social media platforms or check the new GovCon Edu where you learn everything about government contracting!

You can also check these resources below to learn more about the topic above:

Don’t screw up your first federal bid, follow these tips

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