March is already half over and if you are thinking about bidding on Government lawn mowing contracts you may have already missed the majority of the contracts that have been let for bid for the upcoming mowing season. Don’t fret because there are likely several contracts that have been delayed or are being rebid for one reason or another.
Before you bid on a Government lawn mowing contract you should be aware that Government contracts follow a different code of conduct than many other requests for proposals. I’ve made a short video for you highlighting a few finer points of an example Code-of-Conduct manual. Understanding and agreeing to this manual is the first step in getting your lawn care company on a Government’s bidding list.
Proposal Forms: I want to highlight a few finer points of this contract bidding instruction booklet. The first point is the Proposal Forms. Most bidding packets come with a series of bidding forms. You must complete the bidding forms that come with the bidding packet. Do not fill in your own forms or simply write your prices on a sheet of paper. Your bids may be rejected if you fill them out on anything but the bidding forms that come with your bidding packet.
Late Bids: Make sure you get your bids in on time. If you are late on a bid, the purchasing agent will, most likely, reject your bid. I have seen lawn care companies attempt to turn their bid packets in 2 minutes after the bid-closing times and the purchasing agents have rejected those bids. 9:00AM means 9:00AM and not 1 minute after 9:00. Acceptance of a bid is a violation of the request for proposal and could cause the job to be rebid. I like to submit time sensitive bids a couple days in advance. Rushing to get your bid in at the last minute will cause you to make mistakes. Taking your time with bid preparation allows you to calculate your prices with a clear head.
Submittal of Bids: Bids must be presented in a special bidding envelope that comes with your bidding packet. The envelope will be time stamped by the Purchasing Agent as proof that your submittal was within time cut off of bid acceptance.
Competency of Bidder: Purchasing agents can reject bids from lawn care companies that are deemed incompetent to complete the work. A company that does not posses proper equipment, skills sets, or manpower can be rejected from the bidding process if they are unable to demonstrate their ability to complete the job. Likewise, if a company does not have proper insurance or if they have defaulted on a previous contract, they might be deemed incompetent and their bid rejected even if they are the low bidder.
Performance Bond: A performance bond is a financial instrument stating that you will complete the work as stated in the contract. If you do not complete the work, you may lose your performance bond. A performance bond is designed to keep lawn care companies from bidding jobs that they do not have intention or capability of completing. Take a performance bond seriously. Also, a performance bond will cost you some money or it will tie up some of your financial resources. So, take the additional cost into consideration and work that into your contract.
Collusive Bidding: Bidders of many government contracts are not allowed to discuss their pricing or estimating strategies with other bidders of the same contract. Price setting is highly frowned upon by purchasing agents. Collusion can cause all bids to be rejected by the purchasing agent. Worse than having your bid rejected; collusion can have you banned from the bidding list and can bring even harsher penalties upon the collusive bidders.
This is just a brief overview of a Code-Of-Conduct example to get your companies name onto a bidding list. It can be nerve-wracking attempting to navigate the bidding process. If you are interested in bidding government contracts, we include an in-depth discussion of the bidding process in our lawn care business guidebooks. We have lots of experience bidding these type jobs and our bidding tutorial as well as our estimating calculators will help you give the best bids for these larger-scale contracts. Take a look at our website for more information on the Start A Lawn Care Business program