Presenting a Compelling Subcontractor Proposal
Published: May 07, 2020
Learn how to win more business for your company by preparing and submitting a successful subcontractor proposal.
Subcontracting is a widely used practice throughout the public sector, and the process of becoming a subcontractor can be very similar to that of contracting directly with state or local government. If your business is interested in a subcontracting opportunity, you should be prepared to create a proposal and submit it to the prime contractor on the project. Prime contractors usually have specific requirements and information they are seeking, and these will likely be outlined in a request for proposals (RFP) or request for qualifications (RFQ).
Below you will find a breakdown of the type of information your business should be prepared to include in your next subcontractor proposal:
Most solicitations will have you start with the basics: your company’s name, address, ownership status, length of time in business, DUNS number, tax identification number, and a principal contact. Additionally, you should include your company’s history, management strategy, and any other qualities that set you apart from your fellow subcontractors. Be sure to incorporate details about your company’s relevant experience on similar projects as well. The prime contractor may also want to know if your company is a minority- or woman-owned business, or has been certified as a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE). You will likely be required to include information about licenses and industry certifications too.
Statement of Work
When preparing this section, your company should accurately describe the products and services you can provide to the prime contractor. Depending on the solicitation instructions, this section can range in size from a short letter to a detailed report. Either way, be prepared to describe the specific contributions your business will make to the project, along with deadlines for the start and completion of work. It is also a good idea to include particulars about design review, testing, training, and any other necessary tasks.
The prime contractor will also want an assurance of accountability. Your statement of work should identify the person in charge of the project, whether inspections or facility tours are possible, reassurance that the job will be completed on time, and your plans for auditing the project as part of this accountability.
The budget is a crucial part of every proposal and can often be the deciding factor in awarding a contract. Your budget should explain how much a contract with your company will cost and why, and should include a fairly high level of detail. Explain all the components and direct costs of the project, such as salaries, supplies, materials, insurance, and travel and legal fees. Also, explain all the indirect costs of your overhead and infrastructure, such as rent, human resources, equipment, and management. Be prepared to clarify why certain costs are included. For example, the prime contractor may question the travel budget and have you break it down into the number of necessary business trips. Or, they may ask you to justify an equipment purchase.
Overall, your proposal must include a great deal of information to present a compelling case to the prime contractor. Before you plunge into your proposal, find out everything the prime contractor wants to know. Then, strive to provide it and be willing to offer more information upon request. Above all, make sure to stress why your company is the best subcontractor for the project.
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