<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2596089320430847&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1"> Federal Contractor Assessment Checklist

Federal Contractor Assessment Checklist

In today’s fast-paced world, something that we often do not take the time to do is look at ourselves in the mirror. Taking a moment to reflect on who we are, what we are looking for in life, and where those few gray hairs could have come from often gets lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, the same can be said about federal contractors. Finding opportunities, submitting RFPs, analyzing data, talking with teaming partners, working to grow the business itself, there are a ton of moving pieces and taking the time to reflect often gets overlooked. Taking the time to discuss and reflect on the past can say a lot about where the company is heading. When overlooked, the future trajectory may look much different than it did several years prior.


If you find your team constantly running around in a panic trying to keep up with the times and pivot on a daily basis, it is time to pause, take a moment, and conduct a self-assessment. This brief pause could be what gets your company back on track and sets your team up for continued success. There is a lot to be said about being a proactive contractor compared to a reactive one.


What is a Self-Assessment?

A self-assessment is the process of observing, analyzing, and judging one’s abilities and performance. In terms of federal contracting, it is a way for contractors to assess where they currently stand in the federal marketplace and if they are on the right track. Is what they provide being purchased by their intended buyer? Is the way they sell the most effective way to do so? Are they actually able to perform the work they are bidding on?


Self-assessments can get lost in the shuffle when millions of dollars are on the line. However, on the flip side, they can save millions of dollars in unnecessary expenses, and companies in their entirety. Self-assessments are an essential element for federal contractors to succeed.


Federal Contractor Self-Assessment Checklist

The importance of a self-assessment helps ensure that your time, resources, and efforts are being directed in the right direction. If your team is chasing any and every opportunity to fill your pipeline, what happens if you win a contract you cannot actually perform? A self-assessment helps alleviate that pressure and keep your team aligned from top to bottom.


Your Services Provide a Solution to the Problem

First and foremost, do you solve the government’s problem? When you come across an opportunity and review section C of the RFP, how will you solace the government’s problem? The more generic your response, even if technically sound, the more problematic the response. Every one of your customers has a unique environment, and they want to see that represented when contractors submit proposals. Clearly define how you are able to solve the problem at hand. If you have trouble identifying the answer, it may be time to identify another opportunity to chase.


You Have Key Personnel Available

Oftentimes, the government defines key personnel that must be included in a proposal. When included, it is NON-negotiable. The government sets a benchmark to identify experience, education, and additional criteria for the overall individual(s). Anything outside of a perfect match for them is a negative for you. Ensure that you have the key personnel available, or, are teaming with someone who does.


Your Past Performance is Relevant and Accepted

Your past performance wins contracts, not the buzzwords you use or how salesy you can be. Past performance verifies your credentials to the government to show that you have the maturity and capability to satisfy the scope of their solicitation. The government sets the requirements and number of each past performances that will be accepted for each RFP. If you can perform the work but do not have past performance, you may need to find a way to team with someone so you can get it.


Adjectival Rating


Very Relevant

The same scope and magnitude


Similar scope and magnitude

Somewhat Relevant

Some of the scope and magnitude

Not Relevant

None of the scope and magnitude


.Following Directions is Easy

Can you properly format your proposal based on the criteria given? A small mistake such as using the wrong font or having margins that are a few centimeters too wide could result in being non-compliant and the entire proposal being immediately rejected. Once rejected, there is no pathway forward. Being able to follow directions, even the most minute, show the government that you are detail-oriented and can follow directions.


Passing Good-Standing Contractor Performance Assessment Report (CPAR)

Every past performance has a CPAR where the customer of that past performance rates the contractor’s performance based on multiple criteria. In the event of a bad CPAR, it essentially makes that previous contract worthless. It becomes a toxic asset that scares away new customers and renders the past performance for that work utterly useless.


An Understanding of How to Provide Performance Updates

Performing the work may be easy, but accomplishing all the other elements and tasks on time can be tricky. Describing how you will manage the project, how you will report progress, and provide analytics is essential and the government wants to know how you will report on your progress. The government wants to feel confident that a contractor can self-manage and be proactive if any surprises arise during the contract.


Accurately Pricing Your Work 

Maximizing profits is great. Pricing yourself out of work is very, very bad. If and when a budget or estimated cost has been provided by the government, your goal should be to try to avoid being right on that budget without bidding too far under or over as well. Sounds easy, right? When no information on cost is available, you will need to conduct a price to win to playout how competitors will likely bid, defend their pricing, and leave enough room for negotiations.


Possess the Necessary Qualifications and Certifications

The government will conduct its due diligence on any representations made by the submitting contractor. They will ensure if a contractor says they are a small business, that they are. They ensure the necessary certifications and qualifications are met, and so on. This stage is where the government confirms that a bidder is compliant with all conditions set forth in the RFP. If it is determined that there are lacking qualifications or certifications, it could spell big trouble for you and your team.


Understand and Answer “Why”

Federal contracting opportunities will never end. The government will always have its limitless needs. It is up to your and your team to identify the ones you can win and which ones would be a waste of time to chase. Knowing which opportunities you can actually WIN is crucial. What good is an opportunity if you have to bend over backward just to satisfy the contract? Understand why a given opportunity is in your pipeline and why it should continue to be chased after. If you cannot answer why it is in your pipeline, you may find it difficult to answer how you plan to accomplish the contract.


Time Spent Now is Time Saved Later

Taking the time now to perform a self-assessment can save you time, effort, and resources down the road. Your efforts will be more focused and centralized so you are not straying far from the path, if at all. You may also find that you end up winning more contracts. Who does not want that?!


Your team will be aligned on the opportunities they seek, you will help build your past performance, and you will find better and stronger teaming partners, which should all result in more revenue.


With Federal Compass, we take your company’s DNA and past performance to spoonfeed you opportunities and information that is relevant to your business. It helps you conduct your own federal contractor assessment so you can answer these questions.


See how you can conduct a full 360 assessment of your business with Federal Compass.

The Author

Nate Winans Federal Compass
Nate Winans

Federal Compass offers unique solutions for every member of your federal government contracting team.