Congratulations, you won an IDIQ! Now what?

In the past year, two major Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), Alliant Small Business and CIO-SP3 Small Business, had major on-ramps. On February 14, 2018, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced it awarded 81 vendors small business contracts. On February 28, 2018, the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) made a Pre-Award Notice to 40 Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) vendors for the Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 3 (CIO-SP3) Small Business Ramp On. NITAAC expects to award more contracts to vendors in other small business categories shortly.

Statistics from the Alliant Small Business and CIO-SP3 SB GWACs tell us that the top 10 vendors will likely receive 50% of all contract awards, and approximately 10% of vendors will never see a single award, as summarized below:

  • Alliant Small Business Summary (awarded $5 billion to 65 vendors from 2012 to February 2018)
    • Top 10 vendors won 59% of all contract dollars
    • Top 25 vendors won 85% of all contract dollars
    • 17, or 26%, of vendors won $10 million or less
    • 6, or 9%, of vendors won $0
  • CIO-SP3 Summary (awarded $3.8 billion to 95 vendors from 2012 to February 2018)
    • Top ten vendors won nearly 50% of all contract dollars
    • Top 25 vendors 78% of all contract dollars
    • 41, or 43%, of vendors won $10 million or less
    • 11, or 11.5%, of vendors won $0

Five years after a GWAC award, many small vendors will be off-ramped because they exceed the contract size standard. Before the recent pre-award notice, CIO-SP3 had 95 small business vendors, 40 of which had outgrown their size standard and are known as Other Than Small Business (OSTB). These vendors are unable to bid on task orders unless a Contracting Officer waives the small business requirement, which is rare. Once off-ramped most of these businesses end up at or below the $100 million mark in value, which makes competition challenging.

Winning a great GWAC is an honor and should not be squandered. Vendors are not going to win a sizeable share of tasks order waiting around for them to drop. To optimize your return on investment, consider implementing these 12 tips.

  1. Understand the IDIQ organization and mechanics, including how a statement of work (SOW) becomes a request for proposal (RFP), how to use the GWAC software, how to process awards and payments, grounds for protest, etc.;
  2. Develop a strategic plan to become star player;
  3. Conduct research on current and potential GWAC customers;
  4. Identify your competitors and how you place in the pack;
  5. Create a multi-year pipeline to win bids;
  6. Cultivate the partnerships needed to win task orders with large and small companies;
  7. Develop a marketing plan to build your brand awareness and co-sponsor marketing events;
  8. Develop a plan to support the GWAC’s Program Office;
  9. Build an organization that can efficiently collaborate and respond to RFPs (business development, capture, proposals, production, contracts, finance, etc.) and transition to operations without disrupting ongoing work;
  10. Build your proposal response capabilities;
  11. Teach staff members how to collect information, grow business organically, win their recompetes, and support other proposals; and
  12. Keep your house clean—ensure you are continually updating the past performance, producing stellar monthly reports, updating your resumes, and earning excellent Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPAR) grades.

If you would like more information or training on any of these recommendations, please contact Lohfeld Consulting Group.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow.

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.

As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

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