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Understanding Capabilities Statements For Government Contractors

Understanding Capabilities Statements for Government Contractors

Understanding Capabilities Statements for Government ContractorsMany types of documents may be requested of federal contractors — one such example is a capabilities statement.

Capabilities statements for government contractors typically come in one of two forms:

  1. Stand-alone or generic
  2. As a response to a sources sought notice (SSN)

Stand-Alone Capabilities Statements

Type one is a stand-alone capabilities statement. This could also be used as a capabilities statement template for government contractors. In this type, the organization will want to include a statement of qualifications and experience as well as a brief overview of the company. These are often called “briefs” or “SOQs” (statement of qualifications).

These can be used as a marketing tool to send to potential clients and can be tailored as needed. They can highlight individual staff when appropriate, especially if those individuals are well known or have lots of experience.

One tip: try to make this document visually or graphically interesting.

Capabilities Statement as a Response to a Sources Sought Notice

The second type of capabilities statement is used as a response to a sources sought notice. In these instances, more information should be included. It usually includes expressing interest and ability to meet the requirements listed in the SSN.

They’re typically looking for things like:

  • The background of the company
  • DUNS number
  • NAICS code
  • Company or individual capabilities (explain the people who would be involved in such a project and what their experience, certifications, and/or clearances are)
  • Technical and professional certifications held by key project personnel (for example: ISO 9001, PMP certification, A+, CISSP)
  • Experience or past performance doing the type of work in question
  • Business size (i.e., whether it qualifies for small business set-asides)
  • Whether the business falls under any other status that may qualify it for set-asides; examples include HUB Zone, or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned
  • Information on whether the business will be utilizing subcontractors or if the organization can handle the full contract in-house
  • Explanation if new people will need to be hired to complete the task and if yes, what that hiring plan would look like
  • Information confirming the organization has the financial capacity to do the work
  • Contact information for key personnel
  • Contracting vehicles held by the firm (for example, a General Services Administration -GSA- schedule contract)

The response to the SSN is also an opportunity to ask for a set-aside if applicable. However, a capabilities statement does not usually require you to provide pricing or any specific details of how the project would be completed.

It is advisable to always tailor the capabilities statement to the SSN. Don’t use generic information when specific information is available. Try to demonstrate experience doing the requested work with that client and in the region the client is located if possible. If not, then with a similar agency with the same type of work. (Note: these responses are not the type to use a more generic capability statement template for government contractors; while the information may follow the same format as your template, the information included should be customized for the SSN.)

Another tip: copy the small business rep at the agency requesting the capability statement. (Find out who this is if you don’t already know!)

Dr. Rafael Marrero

A nationally recognized expert in federal contracting, small business entrepreneurship, vendor, and project/program management. A graduate of the prestigious Stanford and Cornell Universities, Dr. Rafael Marrero is a former Fortune 500 procurement executive, two-time Inc. 500 honoree, network news commentator, and Amazon best-selling author.

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