Proposal writing is not a skill that’s cut out for everybody, but if you want to win the award you have to be aware of some common mistakes to avoid.  Just as I wouldn’t attempt to do my own taxes without knowledge or proper guidance, you shouldn’t attempt to respond to solicitations without a proposal specialist.  Yes, hiring someone to help you win an award can cost money, but think about it this way will it be worth it in the longrun?  Now if it’s not within your budget to hire a proposal specialist and you’re left to tackle the task of putting pen to paper there are a few things you should know about before you begin your response:

Follow the guidelines within the solicitation.  Getting off track in your response by giving the CO information they never asked for could get your submission placed in the back of the pile.  We all believe our business is the cat’s meow and we never hesitate to boast a little more than we should I am guilty of this myself, but in this case the agency really doesn’t care give them what they ask for and no more.  To steer clear of this faux pas read and understand the solicitation carefully before attempting to respond, afterwards you should create a checklist of to do items based on the directions of the solicitation.

Offer reasonable pricing.  Not staying within the agency’s budget could be a costly mistake…literally.  You can avoid this snag by doing effective market research.  Market research for each proposal response differs and you should be aware of how to make a sound decision in determining an acceptable offer.

Submit complete proposal responses.  Make sure you respond to the agency’s request completely.  As a former contract specialist I have seen contractors submit proposals in on time but neglected to respond to the solicitation in its entirety, or left notations to call the vendor for more detail.  If you’re not able to completely respond to the solicitation then you’re not a good candidate to fulfill the requirement.  Not completely responding to a solicitation will get your offer disqualified.  Just because you get the proposal in on time doesn’t mean you will make the list of most qualified vendors.  So do yourself a favor and don’t waste your time or the governments’ time with half cocked responses.

If you want more helpful tips like this subscribe to my mailing list


You can, as long as you include the following with it:

“Ilene Giles is an expert with GSA contracts and its process and she has helped contractors worldwide in winning more federal business faster and easier with a GSA contract. Get her FREE CD “Top 3 Things You Should Know When Applying for a GSA Contract” at