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Tips When Responding To A Sources Sought


Sources Sought are a way the government seeks to find out if a potential contract could be set-aside for small businesses or other set-aside programs. In general, the sources sought will seek replies from small businesses that could possibly complete the work being considered and their small business set aside status. If two or more businesses with the set aside requirements and are qualified respond then the solicitation could be set aside for this group. For example, if three qualified, HUBZone businesses respond to a sources sought then the solicitation could be set aside for response by only HUBZone companies. Sources sought are covered by FAR clause 52.215-3, “Solicitation for Information of Planning Purpose.”

Requests In A Sources Sought

Review the sources sought document carefully. It will contain what the government would like to receive back and when they want it back. There may be specific questions to be answered, company information, page limitations and capabilities requests. If you have any questions make sure you ask them so you submit a complete response.

Some common requests in a sources sought:

  • Contact person
  • Small business status – 8(a), veteran owned, HUBZone, woman owned, disadvantaged
  • Relevant NAICS code
  • Where the work will need to be completed
  • Can a multiple award contract such as a GSA schedule be used for the procurement
  • Relevant work you have completed that demonstrates your capability
  • Can you complete the contract or will you have to form a team to complete it
  • Any required certifications and security clearances

Responding To The Sources Sought

The first thing to note is when the response is due. Make sure it is submitted in the way requested and before the deadline. Like proposals, late submissions will not be reviewed.

Make sure you answer any questions in the sources sought clearly and completely. Any extra information you provide will be considered extraneous and not help your case. The sources sought will describe the project and be sure you describe your capability in this regard. Describe the experience you have in the area being requested. Again, additional information will cloud the submission and not help your company. List relevant contracts you have performed and your experience to confirm any claims you have made. If you have contract vehicles that could be used for this opportunity be sure to list them. Contract vehicles can limit your competition and thus increase your chances of winning a contract.

Your answer should cover not only your technical capability but also how stable a company you are, quality systems, subcontractor management, management processes and experience and what sets you apart from the competition. Remember the sources sought’s goal is to determine if there are small businesses capable of completing the project and the government contracting officer needs to feel comfortable deciding to make this project a small business set aside.


NAVAIR recommends providing detail on the number of employees you have and their capabilities as well as where your company has offices.

Check the website of the agency issuing the sources sought. They may have tips and information on what they want to see in a response. Following their suggestions will make your response better.

Follow up after submitting the response to see if there are any additional questions that you can answer. Watch for the solicitation release so you can respond to it also.

If there are requirements in the sources sought that you can not meet suggest alternatives and explain why these options should be considered.

The government does not want you to just send them general marketing materials but wants their specific questions and areas of interest addressed.

Make sure you list someone as your point of contact and provide their name, title/role, phone numbers and email address.

Sources sought are released on FedBizOpps.

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