Build a Search that Gets the Right Results
- Planning your search
- Building your search
- Why FedScout's search results are different from the government's
Planning your search:
The core question, especially if you are new to Federal search, is: Would you rather:
- Get a lot of search results, but a lot of them will be bad fits for you
- Get fewer, higher quality results, but risk missing some good ones
Building a search in FedScout is pretty straightforward but here are a couple thoughts:
- Cast a wide net: We make it really easy to get rid of bad search results and the government is terrible at classifying work, so we recommend creating a pretty open ended search. Ideally just a keyword
- You may need to decide between products and services: The government puts out an insane number of small product contracts each day (e.g. buying brake pads or HVAC parts) so if your search results are bringing back lots of small product contracts and you do services then you probably want to get rid of the product contracts.
- Accept false positives: Government documents are stuffed with legal boilerplate that has nothing to do with the work being requested, and this boilerplate leads to LOTS of keyword matches that you don't really want. We are working on this but don't be surprised when a lot of nonsense is returned.
Creating a search:
1. Choose an informative name:
It's common for companies that do a dozen different things to have a dozen different searches, so we recommend using descriptive names
2. Selecting keywords:
Choosing keywords can be tricky. If you're new to the government market you probably don't know what the government calls things so either:
- Create a few different searches each with a different keyword
- Update your search with different keywords
NOTE ON HOW KEYWORDS ARE TREATED: We apply an "AND between each keyword you enter. So, for example, if you entered: "Devops development" (as shown to the right)
Then we will only return results that have both "Devops" and "Development" in their description
3. IDENTIFY THE BROAD TYPE OF WORK YOU DO:
Answering this question is going to help us get rid of SO MANY false positives.
As we discussed the vast majority of government contracts (by volume) are for commodity products (stuff like: new tires or a new HVAC system) so if you do services or R&D choose that se we can improve your match quality
4. IDENTIFY THE SPECIFIC TYPE OF WORK YOU DO:
If you are new to GovCon we recommend you choose "All types of work"
Now that we know the general kind of work that you do (e.g. services or product sales) it's time to focus a little more, so what kinds of services or products. And while you can choose your own NAICS and PSC codes we hate doing that so instead we've created clusters for the most common types of products and services so you can quickly find the ones that are probably right for you
|So assuming you want to get a bit more specific select "Choose specific types of work"||
|Then review the groups and either select the entire group||
|or you can click in and choose the specific NAICS and PSC codes you want us to return||
5. WHICH PROJECTS ARE YOU INTERESTED IN
The fundamental question here is how how much time do you want between today and when a proposal is due.
Open opportunities: These are active contracts that you can bid on. The good news is that these are the fastest way to revenue. The bad news is that you don't have much time to respond and you don't get a chance to influence the process
Upcoming opportunities: These are pre-RFPs. So the government has made an ask, but it is more like a preparatory ask. So these are likely 3-6 months from being an RFP, so you have to wait, but it does mean that you will have time to prepare and influence
Distant opportunities: These are speculative RFPs. We have reason to believe that these will become RFPs, but they may not, and if they do it'll be a 6-12 months out.
6. IF YOU ONLY WANT TO SEE RESULTS FROM CERTAIN AGENCIES SELECT THE ONES YOU WANT
|Decide whether you want to get results from across government (All Agencies) or from only certain agencies and offices (Choose Specific Agencies)||
|If you select specific agencies you can choose which ones you want||
7. SPECIFY ANY GEOGRAPHIC BOUNDARIES
If you only want to see things that will be done in your state or region specify that here.
|Or you can choose a region or state||
8. DECIDE WHETHER YOU WANT TO PRIORITIZE RESULTS WITH A PARTICULAR SET-ASIDE
A lot of new contractors want to only see things in their set-aside but we highly discourage this. Even if you prefer things in your set-aside you want to know about working coming out in other set-asides (go sub to them) and that is coming out with no set-aside (go sub to that prime). So because of this you can select a set-aside and those items will come back first, but right after those you'll get all the other matches