Government contractors often underestimate the process involved with submitting Invitations for Bid (IFB) proposals. Although you don't have to put together all of your own documents for your IFB submission, you will still need to approach the proposal carefully, much as you would with an RFP.

An IFB is a competitive method of contracting that involves a public opening of the bid and award. This type of bid is usually for buys of over $100,000, and the government spells out the exact parameters of the bid: what's needed, and when and where it should be delivered. As a result, the IFB award is based on price and price-related factors.

With an IFB proposal, you complete and submit forms sent to you by the agency. However, keep in mind that the agency will approach your submitted proposal documents as if they have never seen them before. In other words, they will be reviewing them with a critical eye.

By knowing the components of an IFB form ahead of time, you'll be able to better prepare for your response. An IFB form is usually form DD 1707, which is used with the Department of Defense's large-dollar solicitations. Here's the information that's typically included in an IFB form:

  • Solicitation Number: This is associated with the solicitation throughout the procurement lifecycle
  • Type of Solicitation: This specifies if it's an IFB, RFP or RFQ
  • Response Due Date/Time
  • Office Issuing Contract
  • Item/s to be purchased
  • Procurement Information: This section helps you to identify if there are any set-asides or restrictions that apply. If so, you will see it marked as "restricted." The restricted IFBs are reserved for small businesses, HUB zone businesses, and 8(a) businesses. If there aren't set-asides or restrictions, it will be marked "unrestricted" and any business – large or small – can compete.
  • Additional details
  • Point of contact
  • Reason for no response: If you aren't planning on filling out the IFB and sending it in, it is important that you fill out this section.

To learn more about the difference between the various types of proposals and bids, read Responding to an IFB, RFP and RFQ: Do You Know the Difference?