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Make Your Past Performance Count

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Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation. US government buyers want a fair, fast, reliable way to evaluate vendors’ past performance, and many require vendors to include a report from Open Ratings as part of their proposal. Most GSA schedule solicitations require the Open Ratings report, particularly schedule contract proposals to provide services.

Open Ratings is for-fee service operated by Dun & Bradstreet, through which your customers report how well your company performed. This sample past performance evaluation report shows the questions that Open Ratings will ask your clients.

Skilled reference selection won’t necessarily give you an advantage, but it will keep you from losing ground to your competitors.

Getting started with Open Ratings

  • Start early! It will take time for your customers to respond to Open Ratings’ request for evaluation. And check your solicitation (or call your contracting officer) to find out whether you need to submit a completed report, or whether it’s enough to just include your Open Ratings registration form, so the contracting officer knows a report is in the works.
  • Which references should you ask? Contact your best clients. Start out by verifying their contact information and willingness to be a reference, but continue the conversation in order to validate your sense that they will give your firm a top rating. Use the sample report above to send them the list of questions in advance.Hint: You are allowed to have more than one reference from the same organization, so definitely consider that option.
  • Some GSA solicitations for services require details on three past projects corresponding to the services you are proposing in your offer. Ideally, your references will be from the same projects you listed in your solicitation. Your project descriptions establish the nature of the projects you did. The contracting officer can then turn to the Open Ratings report to find out how well your clients think you did.
  • To register a reference in the Open Ratings system, you need the name of the organization, and the name, phone number, and email address of a contact person.
  • How many references do you need? The Open Ratings online form requires you to list at least four references to complete the initial registration, but I recommend you list more than that, and here’s why:
    1. First, the solicitation may require more than four references. Check the RFP to find out. If you don’t provide enough references, your proposal may be disqualified from consideration for the contract!
    2. And, second, some of your references might be away, or not respond in time for the report that you need. So if you enter more than the minimum number of top-drawer references, you increase your chances of a successful report in both quality AND quantity.

Now, you’re ready to pay your fee, establish an Open Ratings account, enter and verify your basic corporate identification data, and then get started listing those references.

The Past Performance Evaluation process (PPE) costs $190.00 plus applicable state and local taxes for the PPE Report option, or $215.00 plus applicable state and local taxes for the PPE Report plus Supplier Qualifier.

While you can’t change your past performance, you can ensure that the US government gives first consideration to your very best work. This is the opportunity to show your prospective US government buyer thatyou have the right stuff. 


Thu, 03/06/2014 - 2:01pm

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