Why Pricing Federal Government Proposals with Spreadsheets is Risky Business

June 28, 2024
Why Pricing Government Proposals with Spreadsheets is Risky

If you’ve prepared a response to a government Request for Proposal (RFP), you’re well aware of the struggles that come with the process. Developing cost volume proposals can be long and tedious; however, it’s absolutely necessary to your contracting company’s lifeblood. Both your estimating and pricing teams must continue to be in sync, working together to ensure that your firm wins the business—ultimately helping you stay in business.

Like many contractors, your typical pricing processes may often rely on data that originates from custom-built systems or Microsoft Excel cost models, which provide little insight or context behind the data. Making matters worse, these tools are designed to make error-checking and analysis by project estimators extremely difficult. Does any of this sound familiar?

Continue with Spreadsheets at Your Own Peril

Often, cost engineers become so frustrated with their current homegrown pricing system that they circumvent it altogether when developing estimates and turn to Excel instead.

But spreadsheet estimates only connect to your network, the internet and your other platforms through an unchecked or unverified array of formulas and links. Errors arise, and you spend a monumental number of hours trying to diagnose the origin of each. Are there data input errors? Do some cells contain incorrect formulas? Did someone change the correct proposal version to something else? Was this “something else” used in other proposals? Even when errors don’t occur, using spreadsheets drastically slows your estimating process.

Shift to an Automated Pricing Platform

Progressive tech brands have created online platforms with all of this in mind. These platforms—and there is actually only one—incorporate features that enable estimators to perform instant sanity checks on data and formulas. Additionally, their lockable pricing algorithm helps your data go from a mess of spreadsheets and formulas to a clean and organized environment.

Secure, Database-Driven Proposal Pricing with ProPricer

Meet Deltek + ProPricer, which is the only solution to deliver what we’ve described. Start with locked-down rates in a secure environment. Then, once the pricing logic of your cost model is built and roles and responsibilities are set up in an online platform, spreadsheet madness turns into a clean, standardized methodology. If needed, you can easily import data from Excel into the system and automatically populate it at the press of a button. ProPricer's unified database can even receive inputs from various other tools, such as Microsoft Project.

Prompts Help Pricers Follow a Reasoning Process that Creates Proposals Faster

Although each estimate is unique, ProPricer provides workflow features that help pricers follow a reasoning process that creates estimates faster.

Often, your estimators will adjust labor estimates without changing other related hours or costs. With ProPricer, you can set up resource relationships that automatically adjust these related inputs proportionally. The database properly enforces all pricing formulas to prevent inaccurate estimates. Additionally, the workflows provide prompts and complete sets of information so you don’t become preoccupied with just one cost element, such as labor. As a result, the system helps you avoid the trap of glossing over critical parts of your cost estimate.

Version Control Lets You Create Different Proposal Versions Instantly

Create different versions of your proposal in seconds for any comparison scenario that may come up. With all your data loaded in ProPricer, your estimating teams can manage and reuse the entire library of cost data from one proposal to the next—even from one proposal scenario to the next. This dramatically reduces the potential for human error by eliminating duplication of data input. Further reduce manual input with ProPricer’s time-phasing features, which allow estimators to shift data when timelines change in a mere three clicks.

Standardized, FAR-Compliant Reporting

Beyond streamlining and improving the accuracy of your proposal process, ProPricer's standardized reporting templates offer an even greater value.

Comply with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requirements using in-depth data to support your cost estimates. Report to auditors quickly and deliver the exact data your partners and colleagues require. With ProPricer Reporting, you can export formula-rich Excel models from the top down or bottom up.

A Fast & Accurate Solution to Help You Win More Bids

In the initial design and during every subsequent revision, ProPricer directly addresses the needs of contractor proposal teams. The software enhances and automates much of the effort you put into developing competitive cost proposals and consistently meeting the detailed requirements set forth by the FAR.

ProPricer eliminates the redundant process of developing one cost proposal after another after another—while bogged down by the limitations of your homegrown or spreadsheet-based pricing system.


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Deliver Winning Proposals with ProPricer

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