If you are looking to secure one of those famously lucrative government construction contracts, you are not alone. Competition for these contracts is high, drawing nationally-known firm and local private companies alike. The federal government accepts bids for these jobs through a confidential and regulated sealed bidding process.
Like all government procurement, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) oversees the bid to ensure fairness and confidentiality. These regulations help the government remove bias and award the contract to the best available bid. If you plan to bid on an upcoming government contract, understanding the process can help you win a very lucrative job.
How does the sealed bidding process work?
FAR rules oversee a structured process of soliciting bids. Government agencies seeking private contractors must even advertise equitably or face accusations of impropriety and favoritism. FAR mandates that agencies begin the process with an Invitation for Bids (IFB) announced in trade journals, mailing lists, Commerce Business Daily, and even local newspapers or job boards. The IFB contains all information relevant to the job and highlights any important exceptions. Competitors may then submit their bids to the agency.
Each agency then employs a contracting officer (CO) to make these bids public, double-checking for errors and accuracy. These public readings increase transparency, allowing the CO to reject incomplete or error-laden bids without bias or agency preference. The CO awards the contract to the best offer with the lowest cost.
After revealing the winner, the bid must undergo one final review via FAR to confirm that the contractor is eligible and the bid legitimate. After reviewing local laws, taxes, regulations, and transportation costs, FAR may determine another bidder more advantageous for the agency, repeating the process for the next best bid. Eventually, the CO awards the contract to the most appropriate bidder.
An exhaustive legal process
Most hopeful bidders find more success in submitting a winning bid alongside legal help. If you hope to secure a lucrative government contract, you can find counsel with a local lawyer familiar with government contracts. An attorney will help construct a competitive bid and navigate the tricky legal hurdles of a sealed bid.