With each #RFP or #RFQ that is issued by the Government, there is a window of opportunity for Contractors to ask questions if the #StatementofWork (SOW) or Performance Work Statement (PWS) is not clear. As is often the case, the first #governmentsolicitation draft released is not perfect and may contain errors, discrepancies, omissions, or be downright confusing. It is important not to overlook this chance to receive clarification or request a change. In addition, it may buy you extra time as the RFP or RFQ deadlines will likely be extended if questions have merit and necessitate changes to the SOW requirements.
Follow these tips to take advantage of the Q&A opportunity:
- Take time to read through the solicitation package as soon as it drops. Take notes as you read and formulate questions or suggestions for improvement.
- Two heads (or more!) are better than one. Assemble a team to read the solicitation and have each member write questions or comments. A designated writer can then work through the responses and consider which questions to submit to the Government.
- Be selective in choosing which questions to submit. Less is always more. Make sure your questions raise strong, valid points for consideration.
- Note the Q&A submission deadline and make sure it is placed on the calendar.
- Craft questions designed to tip the scales in your favor. Be sure to phrase the question with specificity (reference the exact SOW section and page number). Suggest a corrective action that makes sense and is beneficial to the Government, Contractor or both.
- Since Q&A responses are public record, be careful not to divulge privileged information to your competitors.
- Watch for the modification or amendment with answers to the Q&A questions submitted by industry to be posted. Make sure the proposal writer and reviewer(s) have these Q&A responses in mind as the RFP or RFQ is finalized.
- Consider building a repository of questions that you can refer to when reviewing future solicitations. This may save time for your team in the long run.
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