The Do’s and Don’ts of Forms-Based Bids

With GSA OASIS Small Business Pool 1 finally submitted, it’s tempting to file away this bid and move on to the next. But now is the time to reflect on the challenges this bid presented and proactively prepare for what’s ahead. After all, the onramp for other OASIS SB and Unrestricted Pools are just around the corner! We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 “Do’s and Don’ts” to prepare you as you respond to any forms-based bids.

1. Don’t rely on a gut check bid decision.

Do complete a detailed internal scoring analysis to inform your bid decision. This includes cross-checking your NAICS code in FPDS, and making sure your company aligns with the core disciplines and mission spaces defined in the RFP.

2. Don’t leave teaming to the last minute.

Do identify and confirm teaming partners immediately, if teaming is allowed. You will need content from your teaming partners to successfully complete the proposal.

3. Don’t stall on Joint Venture (JV) paperwork.

Do plan on submitting your JV paperwork for approval immediately. From our experience working on OASIS SB, the approval process usually takes more than 4 weeks.

4. Don’t overlook your size-standard.

Do be sure to meet the size standard at the time of award. Most agencies will require you to re-certify if awarded.

5. Don’t forget about CPARS.

Do pay attention to your past performance CPARS. If you have not received a CPARS, work with your contracting officer (CO) to get one in place. Keep in mind that CO’s will be flooded with CPARS requests, so give yourself ample lead time.

6. Don’t look just at your total score.

Do create a tracking spreadsheet to assess the individual point score for all relevant  past performance references. This will allow you to see which combination of references will elicit the highest total point score.

7. Don’t wait to get buy-in from your team.

Do make sure your team is aware of the bid and tell them how they will be involved. Getting buy-in from the team early on will allow them to prepare their contributions and meet your deadlines.

8. Don’t underestimate the amount of effort it takes to submit a forms-based bid.

Do start now and identify the team that will be dedicated to this proposal. Two to three weeks is not enough time to put together a proposal of this magnitude. If you’re going after OASIS Unrestricted or HCaTS and you haven’t started, you’re already behind.

9. Don’t rush compliance checks.

Do leave plenty of time for a comprehensive and complete compliance check before submission. Make sure all of the documents open, the file names are correct, and everything has a signature where required. There are often over 100 files, so this is crucial.

10. Don’t underestimate production time.

Do make time to verify the submission instructions. Submit early so that you have time to troubleshoot any issues, should they arise.

Thank you to Melany Schmidt, one of Red Team’s top consultants, for contributing to this article.