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Sources Sought Notices and the Rule of Two – MasterMinds Monday

 In Bid Opportunities

On this episode of MasterMinds Monday, Eric Coffie shares the benefits of responding to sources sought notices and the rule of two in getting contracting opportunities.  


Sources sought notices are not actual bids and solicitations. Rather, these are solicits of interest from a specific government agency in order to look for contractors that can provide the same products and services that are in the notice.

Because of that same purpose, there are not a lot of people who don’t respond to these notices. However, that’s the wrong way to think about these notices. 

“You should be going after these sources opportunities the same way you go after contracts. In fact in my personal opinion, I believe that you should go after source soughts harder than you go after contracts and bids.”

Consider it this way, because there are not a lot of responses to these notices, you can be able to shape the way this government research will come out. This is your opportunity to gain a set-aside or a contract meant for small businesses. 

Although there are times that no project or contract will come out of this research, this is also a way for you to be able to market to the agency and let them know you exist even before they put out a formal request. 

Let’s just say you responded to a sources sought notice about a portable toilet cleaning service job. You can contact or email the contract officer who handled that notice and ask if there’s a project that came out from that research or not. If there is none, you can ask for a similar project related to the sources sought notice or the contract officers will be the one to contact you when a related opportunity comes out. 

“I have never received a contract from a source of sought notice… What I receive is another contract that is related to my skill set, my company’s skill set, and our abilities because of submitting to a source of sought notice… So, I’m not expecting you to necessarily receive this contract because you submitted a source of notice however because you showed that you could do this, they may have an opportunity right now, today that’s a simplified acquisition that they could call you for and invite you to participate in.”


In a sources sought notice, there is a factor that affects whether a project be given as a set-aside for small businesses or not and that is through the rule of two. 

The rule of two  has to be met for contract opportunities above the simplified acquisition to be set aside. In this process, there should be two or more companies that must submit to market research and let the government agency know that a business that provides a specific product or service exists. 

Consider that government agencies can just look for businesses that can provide a specific product or service through DSBS and other government contracting databases but they chose to publicly post a sources sought notice to provide opportunity to small businesses and to look for those that are really interested in such type of opportunity. 

This is why it is very important for small businesses as a whole to respond to these market research because if there is only one small business that responds, opportunities related to these sources sought notices will most likely be given to large companies rather than to small businesses. 

However, don’t expect that you will directly get a return on investment by responding to these notices. The rule of two has to be met by two or more companies. Slowly, when more companies respond to these notices, this can change the paradigm and this can shape future opportunities coming down the path of small business contractors. 

“Why don’t we help them (small business activists, liaisons, and some offices) do their job easier? Like let’s make their job easier by giving them the information they need, finding people that can do these types of jobs, and if even if you can’t do it, reaching out to someone who you know that can do it and have it helping them submit their information. All that does is creates more opportunity for all of us small businesses out there.”

So that’s essentially the rule of two in a nutshell. Respond in the market research phase and ask other businesses to do the same. Put together your teams. Send your capability statement and response to the government. Lastly, allow them to take the evaluation.


If you want to watch the full video where Eric shares the benefits of responding to sources sought notices and the rule of two in getting contracting opportunities, then be sure to click the links below:

[GovCon] What is an RFI/Sources sought, the rule of two and why does it matter?

Last week’s sources sought notices in Beta.Sam and why this is important 0727

What is a ‘Sources Sought’ on FedBizOpps (FBO) & how to respond? – Eric Coffie

Let your competitors know about a sources sought

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