Expert Advice

What is a Sources Sought?

A sources sought is the government’s way to find out if there are capable small businesses that can fulfill their requirements. They are usually posted on Federal Business Opportunities ( early in the procurement as a form of market research. If you see a sources sought, it typically means that the contracting officer has not been able to find small businesses through other research methods and this is their attempt to find small business sources before they make the determination to solicit the opportunity full and open, which opens the requirement up to large businesses.

It is important for small businesses to reply to the sources sought if they are capable of providing the supply or service described in the notice. Not only will this provide the contracting officer with the research they need to set the requirement aside for small business, it allows the small business the opportunity to market themselves to the government. Contractors who submit their capability statement are usually included in the solicitation release so you will know exactly when it is released and when you submit your response, your name will be familiar to them when they are reviewing the responses. Contracting officers will also share the capability statement with the technical representative which can give exposure of your company to the actual people who will be using your product or service.

So, the next time you get notice of a sources sought for your particular product or service, take the time to tailor your capability statement to the requested information and send it to the point of contact. You’ll not only help the cause of all small businesses, you’ll get the word out about what you can supply to the government.  It is a great way to market yourself directly to a government official.


Written by Nanci Pigeon, NORCAL PTAC Procurement Specialist