Searching stacks of paper; Bidding on Government Contracts concept

3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Bidding on Government Contracts

It takes a lot of work to get your company ready when you’re bidding on government contracts.

The paperwork that goes into a bid can be daunting.

Below, we will take a look at three of the most common pitfalls trade contractors face when competing for government work.

Underestimating the Work That Goes Into the Bid

Public tenders such as requests for proposals (RFPs) are lengthy documents. A typical government construction project kicks off with 100-plus pages of documentation. Responding to all of the requirements laid out in such a document takes time and serious planning.

So, first, it’s important to have the basic requirements squared away. These include:

  • Getting your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. You can look this up on the U.S. Census Bureau’s website. Then, check to see whether your business meets the definition of “small business” relative to that NAICS code. “This standard 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,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce points out.
  • Registering at This is where government procurement notices get published. To complete your registration, your business needs to include a capabilities statement, Wil Chan at Next Insurance writes. “This is like a resume for your construction firm that government purchasers will use when deciding whether to hire you. When writing your capabilities statement, describe your construction company’s strengths memorably. Tout your previous projects, especially if you’ve had prominent clients. List any relevant construction certifications you have.”
bidding on government contracts

Bidding on the Wrong Types of Projects

Not every government contract will be a fit for your business, even if the job falls squarely in line with your trade specialization. Be selective as you browse opportunities, and only bid on projects that make business sense for your company. If you’re especially busy now, don’t overextend your team by bidding on government contracts just to land a one.

“It can be tempting to work with various government agencies in the hopes of assisting your company’s growth,” Earl Timothy at ExecutiveBiz writes. “However, that is not the case. It’s critical to choose the correct federal business opportunities to bid on if you want to keep your business healthy.

“You don’t want to bid on a project your business cannot meet the specifications and scope. It’s also not a good idea to win too many federal contracting opportunities that you and your team can’t manage adequately and end up failing to deliver.”

And even when you find a good fit, you might be at a competitive disadvantage because someone else submitting a bid could have an existing relationship with the government agency in question. 

Cielo Cinco at GovCon Wire suggests looking up individual competitors in the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) tool, which is managed by the U.S Small Business Administration. “This information will help you gauge the quality of the business relationship between your competitor and their previously engaged government agency based on their performance.”

Letting Yourself Get Overwhelmed by the Documentation

As mentioned earlier, government paperwork can be intimidating to navigate.

Derek James, whose YouTube channel GovKidMethod speaks directly to construction firms trying to secure government contracts, warns business owners not to get bogged down by a solicitation.

The first time you see one of these documents, it can seem unreadably dense. But as you see more and more solicitations, you’ll learn how to navigate them. “Your brain is going to start to normalize these things as you start to understand this is a skill you’re building over time,” James says.

Learn More About Bidding on Government Contracts

If you need help getting your construction project documentation in order so you can bid on government contracts, eSUB Cloud can help. Schedule a demo today to see how.

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