What should my bid price be on a government contract requirement?

By Nick Economou, PTAC counselor at UNC-Charlotte

You are pondering what price to bid on a government contract but wish you had additional information. You want to be competitive but you don’t want to lose money if you the contract. Although losing a bid is disheartening, winning a bid that brings your company a loss can be serious mistake as well. Unlike the commercial world, you are entitled to know what the government has been paying for like products and services.
When looking at previous pricing for your product or service, ask yourself: are they soliciting the very same product or service? Be sure to pay attention to the bid instruction, conditions of purchase, delivery and payment. When determining the amount of the offer, make sure to include all costs of material, labor, overhead, packaging, and transportation.
What are some of the sources you can use to help you develop your bid price? Pricing History: the procuring contracting office can provide you with the prices of current contracts for identical or similar items. It’s always good to check for the contact point noted on Standard Form 33 or the point of contact noted in the FBO notice.
GSA elibrary and GSA Advantage provides you with the negotiated government rates of numerous services and the prices of millions of products and the data base is available to the general public 24/7. You can find a range of prices from low to high based on a variety of labor categories to help you determine the competitiveness of your rates or prices. GSA elibrary: http://www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/ElibMain/home.do
GSA Advantage is https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advantage/main/start_page.do
Additionally, the U.S. General Services Administration recently launched a powerful new labor category and pricing research tool to help the federal contracting community make smarter, faster buying decisions. The tool can also be used by businesses to vet how competitive their labor rates are across a variety of labor categories.
The Contract Awarded Labor Category (CALC) https://calc.gsa.gov/ allows contracting officers and specialists to conduct research and price analysis for professional labor categories across a database of contract awarded prices for 48,000 labor categories from more than 5,000 recent GSA contracts. CALC searches awarded ceiling prices on several of GSA’s professional services schedules, including Mission Oriented Business Integrated Services (MOBIS), Environmental, Logistics Worldwide (LOGWORLD), Professional Engineering Schedule, Language, Advertising and Integrated Marketing Schedules (AIMS), and the Consolidated Schedule.
CALC allows contracting officers and businesses to search a database of labor categories in seconds and returns hundreds of comparable data providing a comparison of fair and reasonable pricing awarded at the contract level that the contracting officer can use to conduct market research. Another source for finding the cost of a particular government contract requirement is the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation (FPDS-NG) https://www.fpds.gov/. This is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts in excess of $25,000. With this system, you can find out the name of the business who won the award and the amount. This is great information to help you make decisions on your next bid.
Additional sources for tracking wages and salaries include the Bureau of Labor Statistics at this link: https://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm and also Indeed at this link: https://www.indeed.com/salaries
If you are working on a proposal/bid make sure you are using the free tools to help you make better business decisions. Contact your local PTAC counselor for assistance because we want to make your business better http://www.sbtdc.org/pdf/ptac_map.pdf

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