The Federal Government publishes an inordinate amount of free information for jumpstarting your bids. We summarize our top 10 favorites below. Many of these free databases are hosted by the General Services Administration (GSA), so visit GAO.gov for a comprehensive list of the agency’s assets. While we rely on these free databases, we combine them with paid database subscriptions (we subscribe to Deltek GovWin) to get the best of both worlds.
Free tracking databases to support capture and proposal
- System Award for Management (SAM) (SAM.gov): This website provides a one-stop shop for identifying and tracking bid and contract information. Sam.gov enables users to register their business with the Federal Government, track contracting opportunities, capture contractor performance information, view contract data, and search assistance listings.
- Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) (sba.gov/pro-net/search/dsp_dsbs.cfm): Helps you to find small business contractors for potential teaming on upcoming bids.
- Individual Agency Acquisition sites: Some agencies maintain their acquisition sites, e.g., NASA’s acquisition website (hq.nasa.gov/office/procurement/forecast/NAF.html). Other agencies have eliminated the part of their acquisition website that supports bid forecasts and tracking, and they direct visitors to sam.gov.
Free pricing databases to support price/cost volume development
- Pricing Central (gsa.gov/pricing/): Provides access to multiple tools/databases to support pricing. For example, the Calc +Quick Rate tool helps you review fully burdened, not-to-exceed ceiling rates awarded under GSA Multiple Award Schedule contracts.
- Wage Determinations (sam.gov/content/wage-determinations): Helps you identify the latest Davis-Bacon Act (DBA) and Service Contract Act (SCA) wage determinations (WDs).
- USA Spending (usaspending.gov): Contains the official open data source of federal spending information on contracts and grants.
- IT Dashboard (itdashboard.gov): Provides great visual details of IT spending at the investment level. For example, the dashboard can break an investment down into the total investment, development, modernization, and enhancements vs. operations and maintenance (DME vs. O&M) spending, IT towers, and cost pools.
Free bid/contract administrative databases
- Acquistion.gov: Provides a searchable online version of the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR). Refer to the FAR if you have questions about how its guidelines or definitions affect your bid.
- FOIA Online (foiaonline.gov): Lets you create and submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and track the government’s progress in completing it.
- Government Accountability Office (GAO) Protest Docket (Bid Protests | U.S. GAO): Explains why a protest was upheld or denied. We are currently featuring a monthly blog on lessons learned from the GAO protest docket on the blog page of our website. In addition, the GAO.gov website contains other helpful information, including the GAO High-Risk List, which provides a deep dive into at-risk programs, and many other in-depth reviews of agency performance.
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 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 $170B 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 www.lohfeldconsulting.com and join us on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.