5 Reasons You Shouldn't Bid GSA Polaris (And what to do about them!)Apr 16, 2021
Don't forget to register for our webinar series on how to become a prime on the Polaris GWAC IDIQ. [Register HERE!]
Do you want to know if this IT Service-centric GWAC industry is right for you to qualify for? Read this article to find out.
[Tip: When you're ready, you can download our Eligibility checklist here!]
Reason #1 - You're not a Small Business.
To be eligible, you must be considered one or more of the following three categories:
- A Small Business* in NAICS 541512 - Computer Systems Design Services (and your SAM.GOV record must reflect this!)
- A Woman-Owned Small Business (Verify here: https://beta.certify.sba.gov/)
- A HUBZone Small Business (Verify here: HUBZone program (sba.gov))
Right now, the draft RFP states in Section L.126.96.36.199.2 that "The offeror and all proposed subcontractors must represent as small businesses for NAICS 541512 within SAM.GOV." That means that everyone -- Prime or Sub -- on a team must meet these criteria. If you're not a Small Business in this NAICS, then sorry - this contract isn't for you. Also, it's worth noting that your status will be evaluated at the time of proposal submission -- so don't wait until the final RFP comes out to verify and/or validate that your status is up to date.
Solution: Unfortunately, this requirement is a show-stopper, at least based on the terms as written in the Draft RFP. Subscribe to our updates to stay apprised of the requirements - we'll let you know if something changes! If you qualify as at least one of these representations, our Eligibility Checklist can help you confirm that you meet the additional pre-requisites.
Reason #2 - You're not an IT Services Company.
Since the Polaris contract is designed to "provide customized IT services and IT services-based solutions," it shouldn't be a surprise that you need to be an IT Services company to be eligible. If you're not primarily an IT Services company, there are a couple of conditions that might make you an appealing teammate! While the "principal nature of any resulting task order procurement must be for IT services", the Government also states that "ancillary support may be included when it is integral to and necessary for the IT services-based effort." You should consider teaming if:
- You have emerging technology you can offer
- You are primarily an IT products company
- You perform services in some of the identified NAICS tangentially, but it isn't your core offering
Solution: Contact us if you need help building your team or finding a viable prime! We can help you find a teammate with complementary skills and experience so that you can submit a stronger proposal.
Reason #3 - You don't have the "right" projects.
Relevant past experience is the best predictor of future success -- at least that's the Government's assumption in the case of Polaris. You will need to submit relevant past performance contracts that demonstrate you're capable of fulfilling the services sought under Polaris. Historically, the Government won't publicize a "minimum score" that qualifies you for an award. That's because when they evaluate the offers, they start at the top and award contracts to the highest-scoring bids (*Note: the number of approximate awards has not been disclosed yet). That means you need to try to score as many points as possible. If you don't have the "right" projects, you aren't going to score as well as the other offerers; for that reason, you need to select your projects carefully. Reasons for not selecting a project might include:
- The project doesn't meet the minimum dollar threshold for value
- The project falls outside the cutoff for recency or doesn't meet the requirements for minimum duration/evaluation
- The project won't garner any additional points for you (e.g. no teammates, OCONUS performance, single customer, relatively small, etc)
- All of your projects collectively only cover a limited number of Performance Areas or Emerging Technology Listings
- You didn't earn ratings of "Satisfactory" or higher in your CPARs (or equivalent) evaluations
Solution: If you need help determining whether your projects are good candidates for submission, start by downloading our self-assessment project documentation form. This form will help familiarize you with the requirements and evaluate your projects from the Government's point of view. You can also contact us if you need help finding a teammate with complementary experience!
Reason #4 - The infrastructure of your company is too small to Prime.
Being a successful Government contractor doesn't mean you're automatically ready to take on the challenge of managing a GSA GWAC. This reason to pass on a bid might apply to you if:
- Your revenue threshold is $5M or less, or if most of your portfolio is in the commercial sector
- You only deal in commercial contracts
- You know your internal Contracts and/or Business Development resources are already at capacity managing your existing work
Solution: If your infrastructure is too small to Prime, consider planning for investment -- this might be the time to put more resources towards growing the business! You can also talk to Trident about outsourcing your Contracts or Business Development tasks to help support your long-term business and growth goals.
Reason #5 - You have commitment issues.
Ok, we're kind of kidding here, but make no mistake -- the work on Polaris isn't over after the contract award! You're going to have to put real resources towards pursuing and managing work under this GWAC. You may want to think hard about a bid if any of these conditions describe your company:
- You have been off-ramped from a GSA schedule before because you didn't meet the minimum threshold
- You are good at getting on IDIQs but struggle to win task orders
- You have a history of passing on bids because you are too busy when the solicitation is released
- You don't have a formal Business Development team, but rather rely on the President and billable staff to do BD on the side or on an ad hoc basis
- Your BD team is focused on defending the business, not expanding it
- You like the idea of working with GSA, but aren’t willing to commit BD resources to stay on a contract
Solution: If you want to pursue a bid, you're going to need to invest in success. Talk to us about how we can help you outsource the BD and Contracts functions that tie up your team's time and resources!
Polaris isn't right for everyone, but with a little preparation and investment upfront, you can still achieve a successful bid through teaming, strategic growth, or supplemental support!
If you are interested in pursuing the Polaris GWAC IDIQ, here are some recommendations for you:
- Download our eligibility checklist here
- Download our self-assessment and gathering project documentation
- Sign up here for our Polaris newsletter and get alerts on the contract as they happen.
- Sign up for updates from the GSA Small Business Community of Interest
- Verify your WOSB cert is in order or make updates at https://beta.certify.sba.gov
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