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Past Performance and Experience: The Backbone of Your Proposal

Even the simplest of proposal requirements will most likely also request your past performance and experience information. The Government often places more emphasis on the applicability of your past performance and experience than the private sector.

Although past performance and experience are closely interwoven, their evaluation can be broken down into two distinctive, complementary factors. Essentially, past performance reflects the proven quality of your company's performance on specific tasks, while experience relates to the applicability of your company's performance in relation to the proposed contract. Your past performance may be evaluated against a variety of customer service factors, such as cost, quality control, safety, ability to recruit and maintain a qualified workforce, response to customer concerns, response to changing workload conditions, effectiveness of administration and recordkeeping, and the like. Your experience is generally evaluated in the applicability of the quantity and type of work your company has performed, as well as the quality, in relation to the proposed contract.

It is vital for you to keep your past performance and experience information up-to-date. Government solicitations usually specify the exact information needed for evaluation, and the information requested varies among agencies, services, and specific solicitations. To be ready to address these variety of requirements, for each project/customer you use as a reference, we suggest you keep the following information updated and readily available:

  • Contract/Project Number (or private sector equivalent)
  • Contract Title and Location(s) of Performance
  • Contract Award Date, Contract Start Date, and Contract Completion Date (actual or estimated)
  • Contract Cost, both by the year (if a multi-year project) and total
  • Award Cost and Actual Cost, with an explanation if there is a difference between the two (e.g., increase in the wage determination, change in scope of work directed by the Government, etc.)
  • Contracting Officer's (or private sector equivalent) name and current address, telephone and facsimile numbers, and e-mail
  • Contracting Officer's (or private sector equivalent) Administrative and/or Technical Representative's name and current address, telephone and facisimile numbers, and e-mail
  • Quality Control Evaluator's (or private sector equivalent) name and current address, telephone and facimile numbers, and e-mail
  • Description of Services Provided, including specific, quantifiable workload data, as appropriate
  • Description of any Problems or Challenges Encountered and Resolutions to Same--it pays to be honest here, as 1) No one expects absolutely perfect performance and 2) the evaluators will discover if there has been substandard performance. Usually, these situations can be presented as a "lessons learned." Also, this information can be used to reflect how your company successfully met such challenges as weather disasters or substandard performance inherited from an outgoing contractor.
  • Awards, Certifications, and Citations should be listed and quoted from whenever possible, as well as included with the proposal when formatting and solicitation requirements allow
  • Phase-In/Transition Experience should include an indication of the number of days allowed for phase-in and the tasks accomplished (e.g., recruitment and training of personnel, fulfillment of adminsitrative requirements, et al)
While not all solicitations require all of the above details in discussion of your past performance and experience, keeping this information current for your references will enable you to address the most commonly requested past performance and experience information.

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