Common Government Proposal Mistakes

Let’s explore the most common government proposal mistakes. (How many of you immediately noticed the incorrect spelling of the word “mistakes” in the first sentence?)  One of the most common mistakes is an oversight of a misspelled word, punctuation mark, or failure to understand the government requirements. This can make the difference between successful and unsuccessful proposals.

Some businesses only read the performance work statement and fail to consider the terms and conditions set forth in the solicitations.

Here are 3 rules in responding to a solicitation:

#1 rule is to read and understand the solicitation requirements

#2 is to read it again

#3 is to read it again

Read, read, read…. This also includes reading all amendments to the solicitation.

  • If the solicitation requirements are ambiguous, get clarification from the Contracting Specialist (preferably in writing).  Oftentimes, the soliciting agency offers a time frame for questions and answers.  Don’t wait until the last minute to get clarification on any unclear language in the solicitation.


  • Ensure there is plenty of time to work on the solicitation and submit your bid. A late bid is generally rejected and will not be considered.  This means it must be received before the specific date and time at the designated location.


  • Since paying attention to details will significantly increase your chances of obtaining a government contract award, it’s a good idea to stop by your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) to ensure you don’t miss anything.