What Bid Protests Can Teach Us About Preparing Better Contract Proposals
Winter 2018

Proposals to perform federal contracts fail to result in awards for many reasons. Frequently, the prospective contractor simply cannot compete on technical considerations, price, or past performance. On other occasions, however, a contract is lost because of defects in the offeror’s proposal. Bid protests before the Court of Federal Claims and the Government Accountability Office frequently turn on deficiencies in contract proposals. In hindsight, many of these defects could have been avoided if identified in advance. Consequently, protest decisions offer useful lessons as to why some proposals are rejected and how they could have been improved.

Federal agencies expect offerors to submit adequately written proposals for the agency to evaluate. A Plus Services Unlimited, B-255198 et al., January 31, 1994, 94-1 CPD ¶ 52. It is an offeror’s responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information, which clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation requirements and allows for a meaningful review by the procuring agency. An offeror is responsible for affirmatively demonstrating the merits of its proposal and risks rejection of the proposal if it fails to do so. Henry Schein, Inc., B-405319, October 18, 2011, 2011 CPD ¶ 264.

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