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RFIs, RFIs Everywhere–Yet No One Is Responding…

August 31, 2022 | Business Development, Government

Photo by Cytonn Photography: https://www.pexels.com/photo/person-holding-gray-twist-pen-and-white-printer-paper-on-brown-wooden-table-955389/

If you’ve been on SAM.gov lately, you’ve likely noticed an uptick in RFQs and RFPs. This is understandable given that the end of the government fiscal year is less than a month away and contracting officers are feverishly trying to award contracts against dollars obligated to their respective agencies.

What might be surprising, however, is the number of RFIs being released–and how powerful they can be amid the frenzy of opportunities that exists during the fiscal year end. While it’s not necessary to respond to an RFI to be eligible for a subsequent RFQ/RFP release, a response–or lack thereof–can greatly affect the outcome of the award. Here’s how:

  • Set Asides. If you have a specific socioeconomic small business classification, you must submit a response for RFIs where you want to compete for the follow-on RFQ/RFP. A lack of response may mean the opportunity is not set-aside for your specific socioeconomic business classification. Recently, a client of mine–an SDVOSB looking for a contract in the VA space–neglected to respond to an RFI. Consequently, it wasn’t set aside for their classification and they had to compete against a much larger pool of interested vendors. My belief is that the opportunity would have been set-aside for SDVOSB if they had submitted an RFI. 
  • Shrinking the Competitive Field. RFI’s are often released so contracting officers can “check the box” on their acquisition list. However, I know of several instances when companies that submitted an RFI were emailed the RFQ/RFP directly from government buyers and never appearing publicly on SAM.gov. In other words, only those that responded to the RFI received the RFQ.
  • Sole Source. Depending on your socioeconomic status and other criteria, such as award size, the agency may award a contract based on your RFI response if you include pricing without any competitive bidding process.

The last two bullet points are especially noteworthy. The government continues to grow its expenditures, while the number of contracting officers continues to diminish. If you can find a way to help contracting officers make their job easier, it can create more opportunities for you.

Please email me at [email protected] or connect with me on LinkedIn if you would like to learn more about developing a government business strategy.

 


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quoteMark

MYTH: Government agencies always award contracts based on price alone. Lowest price always wins.

FACT: While some contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder, government agencies also make awards based on the best value which includes trade-offs between the ability to perform the work, quality, past performance, and price.

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