FedBizOpps, What is it For Anyway?
After all, many old Government contracting hands will tell you that if an opportunity is out for bid on FedbizOpps, or FBO, you’re too late. But is that really true? Not always. If that is true, what value is FBO to building Federal business? Well, FedbizOpps is a goldmine and not just for current bids, but as a research, business planning, and competitor intelligence tool.
There are many FedBizOpps listings worth a look and perhaps worth bidding on. Whereas GSA Schedule holders know that a bid posted on eBuy usually has a (relatively) short turnaround time, whereas FBO can post pre-solicitations even a year before an IDIQ (Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity) RFP (Request for Proposal) is posted or an opportunity to buy a product within a week’s turnaround. Posting things on eBuy and FedbizOpps are not mutually exclusive—many things are posted in both places, but some only in FedbizOpps. For example, if you are interested in Medical Staffing services or selling medical products, you would be well advised to check FBO in addition to eBuy, as the Department of Veterans Affairs often posts = fast-burn opportunities on FBO.
If you want to break into the Federal Government market and don’t have a GSA or VA FSS schedule, you should watch FBO for IDIQs GWACs (Government Wide Acquisition Contracts), and other large contracting vehicles. If you qualify for any of the setaside categories—8(a), Small Business, Women Owned Business, HUBZone, Veteran Owned, or Service Disabled Veteran Owned—you should be checking FBO daily for set-asides that offer you an opening to this market.
FedbizOpps can be a treasure chest if you know how to use it. You can find out who is winning awards by looking at FBO. You can get the names and contact information for contracting officers and sometimes even end users who have ordered products or services similar to yours and will likely do so again.
When you arrive on the opening page, you will find information on the opportunity, what kind of contract action it is (sources sought, presolicitations, solicitations, award notices, sole-source justifications and awards), due dates, points of contact, and solicitation documents. Note the order of the items above carefully: Sources sought are market research requests that result in presolicitations that result in solicitations. Other important information includes due dates, any amendments to the solicitation, and other special notices. You can also register as an interested party for the solicitation and get email notices when something changes or new information is uploaded.
At the bottom is very useful information even if you aren’t planning to respond to an opportunity—you will see the name, email, and possibly the telephone number of the contracting officer and possibly of an end user.
That is the front page, and only the tip of the iceberg. For business intelligence, you need to become familiar with the Advanced Search form and function. Click on the “Advanced Search” link and you open a door to an entirely new dimension of information.
- Keyword/solicitation number
- Opportunity/procurement type
- Posted date (up to 365 days ago)
- Response deadline
- Last modified date
- Contract award date
- Place of performance state
- Place of performance zip code
- Set-aside code
- Classification code
- NAICS Code
- Agency/office location
- Recovery and Reinvestment Act action
- Active vs. archived status
- Justification & approval statutory authority
There is also a keyword search box on the main page of FBO.gov where you can enter a solicitation number (if you know one). And you can use an advanced search function to search by all the above options and by multiple set-aside codes and multiple procurement types.
The information on the chosen solicitation will include date of the original solicitation and any amendments to it; a synopsis of what is being procured, the due date, applicable NAICS or PSC Code(s).
For daily searches, you can save time by selecting your applicable NAICS codes and any target agencies. To be safe, you may wish to include a couple of “nearby” NAICS codes in your search. But you may look at what has been posted overnight and stay on top of potential business.
FBO can help you answer questions such as “What are my target agencies buying? From whom are they buying? What kind of market research is my target customer interested in? Whom may I contact about my products or services?” FedbizOpps not only lets you find posted Federal Business Opportunities but, if properly used, can also create them!
Additional Resources on FedBizOpps:
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