How To Make a Government Contract Bid

Signing of paper

The government has the distinction of consistently being one of the largest employers of its citizens, but you don't have to get a full-time job to get a government paycheck.  If you offer a business or service, you can learn how to make a government contract bid to supply your product or service to a specific government agency and enjoy having the government as a steady paying client.

A variety of government agencies routinely put out an Invitation for Bids (IFB) in order to secure products and services from private companies.  When the government requests a bid, that means there is no room for negotiating the price.  The particular government agency knows what it needs and now just needs to find a company that can provide that product or service at the lowest price. An IFB differs from a Request for Proposal (RFP) in that there is no wiggle room to change the specifications or any of the contract guidelines.  You have to sharpen your pencil and put forth your best and lowest bid because once the parameters of the contract are set forth, you cannot revise or change any of the specifications.

IFB contracts generally involve a payment of at least $100,000 and could involve anything from stationery or carpeting to office desks or copying equipment.  Start searching through local county and city government websites for IFB invitations outlining the exact specifications of the contract for the project.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) also offers tips about bidding on government contracts on its website.

Be sure to fill out the required paperwork as accurately and completely as possible, and submit what is called a "sealed bid" prior to the deadline to accept IFBs. There is usually not much time that passes between an IFB being announced and the deadline for bidding, so pay attention to closing dates. You are allowed to see past IFB bids pertaining to the contract that you are seeking, so take the time to see what bid amounts managed to win the contract in the past and determine your bid accordingly.

At the close of the deadline, a government official opens all sealed bids and reads them allowed so that they can be recorded, with the lowest bidder being awarded the job contract.

Check with the Small Business Administration to obtain a Certificate of Competency (COC) which some government agencies require in order to prove that your business can perform adequately to fulfill the terms of the contract.  It's also helpful to provide the government agency with a website address and any other promotional materials which proves your experience and longevity in business.


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