Don’t be too picky with task order qualification

It is difficult to carve out market share or get last-minute fourth-quarter awards without the right indefinite delivery vehicle that your target agency uses.

Of course, you can get under contract fast if you have the right socioeconomic status that your contracting specialist knows how to use. Yet, you can’t solely rely on that. To achieve sustained growth, you must have a portfolio of Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts that are perfect for your types of offerings. For example, you could be on a GSA schedule that your customer uses, a Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) such as SEWP V, or a department-wide IDIQ such as DHS’s EAGLE II. Your contracting specialist will have an easier time directing work to your company, or driving it to where your competition is the weakest, if you have multiple options in your IDIQ portfolio.

There is no rest growing through IDIQs; winning task orders is in many ways harder than winning requirements contracts. Getting on an IDIQ vehicle is like getting on a bus with no available seats. You only make money if you compete for and win task orders (e.g. getting a seat on the bus). However, if you are waiting for a seat in your preferred shape, size, and distance to where you stand, you may never get it. In other words, your chances of winning a task order diminish exponentially the longer you don’t compete.

The reasons are simple: those who act quickly and aggressively will acquire two advantages over those who wait:

  1. They will get the most relevant past performance on this specific IDIQ, rather than other past performance references that are less relevant and will score lower during source selection.
  2. Through the process of receiving feedback from the government on wins and losses, the bidders will learn more about the IDIQ’s peculiarities and improve their future proposals.

Inactive participants also stand the risk to be “off-ramped” from the vehicle, if that IDIQ has such a mechanism.

Waiting to bid on the perfect task order and being overly selective is counterproductive and puts you at a disadvantage. You should use a thorough qualification process, but ensure that your filter is not eliminating good opportunities because the perfect opportunity may never come. As the clock ticks away, your opportunity to catch up to your competitors diminishes.

Naysayers may point out that you don’t have a chance of winning a task order if you didn’t “carry the work” to the vehicle. But, bold companies “out-proposal” their competition all the time. You just have to know what you are doing.

Our Bid & Proposal Academy course on Preparing Winning Multiple Award and Task Order Proposals is coming up soon. This course shares the secrets of winning IDIQs and task orders, and is frequently updated with the latest information. You can still get the early bird pricing.

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