Proposal Development

Sources Sought

A Sources Sought Notice is a government market research tool to determine if there are two (2) or more capable businesses or Small Businesses that can perform the requirements of a planned contract.  It is not a Request for Proposal (RFP) or Invitation for Bid (IFB). It’s used by the government in developing Acquisition Strategies.

Definition: FAR 5.201(c): “the primary purposes of the notices are to improve small business access to acquisition information and enhance competition by identifying contracting and subcontracting opportunities.”

Purpose of a Sources Sought:

The purpose of the source notices is to make it easier for small businesses to get information about government contracts and to increase competition by letting people know about contracting and subcontracting opportunities. The information received all the government to:

  • Access the market’s capability
  • Determine acquisition strategy
  • Small Business goal attainment

The government is required in certain instances to “set-aside” a certain percentage of their procurements to small businesses. Sometimes the solicitation will specify explicitly that they are looking only for small businesses (or HUBZone, …) to respond. (Even if it doesn’t say “only small businesses” it means only small businesses.)

Difference Between Sources Sought and Request for Information

The purpose of a Sources Sought is to determine if a small business can perform the work required while a Request for Information (RFI) purpose is to collect written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. Both are used as a market research tools for the purpose of developing strategy, and building a database, for an upcoming contract competition.

Why Should Contractors Answer a Sources Sought Notice?

Contractors often make the mistake of not responding to a Sources Sought because it doesn’t have a dollar value. Even though it doesn’t have a dollar value, it’s very important to your business. This is because early-stage opportunities, like Sources Sought, are when your business has the.

This is when your company can suggest ways to improve efficiency, cut costs, or make other changes that would make the award go in your direction. If you can persuade the contracting agency that the solicitation should include an important part that most of your competitors don’t have, you will have a much better chance of getting the job once the formal solicitation comes out.

Responding to a Sources Sought Notice gives your company a chance to introduce itself to the Contracting Officer and start a conversation with him or her (CO). It’s not a good sign if the government agency reviewing your final proposal has never heard of you before the final stage and has gotten to know other contractors during the solicitation process.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 3/14/2023

Rank: G4.2

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