For many businesses, state contracts can be a game changer, providing an opportunity to scale up operations, add new staff, grow revenues, and build trust and awareness among other potential clients. State procurement, however, is not an easy process and requires acute attention to detail and a strategic approach to the response to an RFP.
Our team at Old Line Government Affairs has extensive experience in helping businesses navigate the complicated and often daunting process of state procurement, and successfully secure contracts. Here are three steps to ensure a competitive response to a state bid for contracts.
- Scope of work
Have you and your team read through the entire RFP? Everyone on your team who could possibly be involved with the project should read through the RFP. It is important that you understand the entire scope of work and before you even consider responding, know that your team is qualified to perform the work outlined in the scope. Often the RFP will require examples of similar work you have performed in the state of Maryland so having experience with the work outlined in the RFP is critical.
The state typically hosts pre-bid proposal meetings which allows interested companies to learn more about the project, the scope of work, the requirements, and the timeline for the entire process. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions of those state officials managing the bidding process.
During the RFP process, there is usually a timeframe to submit questions to the procurement officer. If you submit questions within the timeframe, they should be answered by the procurement team in a timely manner. If not, you may have a right to request an extension to respond.
You have reviewed the RFP, discussed the scope of work with your team, and participated in the pre-bid process. Your team is qualified to complete the work and you have demonstrated experience. However, companies often overlook other key requirements that can result in disastrous situations for a business.
Does everyone understand the financial requirements for the bid? Are you able to meet the minority participation goals or will you require a contractor to help you meet the goals? Are you able to meet the veteran goals? When building the budget for the RFP, you will need to consider all of these requirements, especially if you will need to sub-contract with another company in order to meet the requirements. Understanding the full scope of work and all of the requirements within the RFP will be critical in developing a budget for the project.
State contracts can provide a tremendous opportunity for your business to grow, however, they can also be detrimental if not planned for appropriately. Many businesses who are qualified fail to secure the contract because they simply didn’t understand the process and weren’t able to submit a competitive bid. In addition to understanding the pre-bid process, it is important to also understand all of the rules of state procurement including any restrictions on communication after bids are submitted, and options should a post-award conflict arise. Following the rules is the most important but you must know them and understand them first.
If you are interested in learning more about the state procurement process, contact us to schedule a time to meet or invite us to lead a roundtable discussion for your industry group. Click here for more information about our team.