The REAL Numbers (& Why the Burnt-Out, Sleep-Deprived #GovCon Proposal Manager Industry Norm Needs to Change)

rates and times for RFP proposal professionals

Often, companies find that the hours needed to produce a compliant and compelling response exceed the number available in-house. But, they push forward anyway. Which is why burnout and turnover in GovCon proposal development are very real issues.

WinBiz is passionate about helping our clients to grow and capture more revenue—and that requires knowing and being honest about the numbers. We’ve seen companies who say they are tracking external and internal costs, but they use a “plug” number for internal costs. What they don’t realize (or realize too late) is there’s a problem whether the trust cost is documented or not.

It’s critical to get a pulse on how much your internal team is able and qualified to do versus what the RFP needs to win. The true number of hours your internal and external resources are dedicating…versus what they actually can and want to dedicate…may be a wake-up call. Companies that don’t use total time accounting may not track this labor investment and mistakenly consider it a sunk overhead cost. But, all the extra work of pursuing proposals on top of 40-hours-a-week of client obligations often creates a toxic environment for personnel, leads to increased turnover, causes you to lose great talent, and doesn’t even produce a winning proposal most of the time.

If true cost is documented, you can better allocate resources…and get back some time. The eight hours you get back by hiring outside support may not actually be a huge investment from a monetary standpoint, but it may allow you and your team the ability to leave the office at 5. You don’t have to wait until someone finishes their day-job to start writing. You don’t face a team suffering from burnout every morning. You aren’t sacrificing quality. By knowing exactly what level of effort you and your personnel invest in each bid, you’ll very quickly see the value of hiring external support.

write and editor rates

Complexity, time, and number of revisions can dramatically impact these guidelines. For example, each volume and each round of editing would be a separate cost. Don’t forget the most overlooked cost either…production. In-house costs like shipping, paper costs, binders, tabs, CDs, printing, and shipping can be up to $15K depending on the size of the document.

Save yourself from having a time crisis (and losing great talent)

Estimating the time and effort it takes to produce a compliant and winning response isn’t as hard as it seems—if you know industry standards on just how many hours it takes to develop, edit, and produce content.

To further help this effort, we compiled all relevant data and developed a quick and dirty B&P calculator with standard turnaround time averages to estimate the time, effort, and manpower needed to support proposal projects. You can use it to forecast your total hours and then multiply against the fully-loaded labor rate for your personnel to get a general idea of what it’s really costing you internally versus “what it will cost” for surge support.

For us, these guidelines provide a quick way to break out proposal costs for high-level estimates and break-out the number of hours expected for each role based on the presumed level of support.

For you, knowing the skills and capacity of your internal team allows you to partner with a consultant that supplements any skills gaps, shares the workload, creates synergies, and increases productivity and profitability.

Sound dreamy? It doesn’t have to be. Reach out. We’re here to help you win more with stronger and easier proposals.