There are many reasons why a vendor may lose a bid for a Federal contract. Learning why you were not awarded the contract can help your business win future bids, but often a losing bid can be attributed to one of three reasons.
Bid Too High
While not usually the highest priority for contracting officers, setting your price too high can cause you to miss out on a contract. Remember that the mythical days of $300 hammers are over; the Federal government is highly focused on cutting spending and expects to receive a discount when awarding contracts. Be realistic when quoting prices; remember that few companies get rich on Uncle Sam’s dime. Government contracts should be regarded as steady and low-risk income, not a “get rich quick” scheme.
Lost to a More Qualified Bidder
Another likely possibility is that another bidder is more qualified or capable of fulfilling the needs of the contract. In most cases, government buyers are more concerned over your technical capabilities and past performance over quoted prices. Even if you can undercut all your competitors, it doesn’t matter if you have little experience or are unable to do the job. If you find yourself in this dilemma often, you may want to consider subcontracting for awhile. Subcontracting will allow you to perform work on contracts you could not have handled on your own, gain experience and past performance that will make you a more attractive vendor for future jobs and build your reputation as a dependable, high quality contractor.
Errors or Omissions in Your Bid
Whether you’re new to government contracts or have enough past performance references to fill a book with, making a mistake in your bid can cost you a contract. It is essential that you give yourself plenty of time to read through the solicitation and review your documentation. Make sure you have completed all the requirements for the bid, answered all the questions and filled in all the requested prices and quantities. Missing even a single piece of data can result in your bid being rejected, so it’s worth your time to double and triple check everything.
If you’re not sure why your bid was rejected, don’t be afraid to ask the contracting officer why you lost the bid. If you are respectful, most buyers are happy to explain why they chose not to award the contract to your business. Don’t forget to take notes on the reasons they give you; armed with this information, you can increase the odds you’ll win the next bid!