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When to use set-aside terminology in a bid match search profile?

At Outreach we are often asked to include set-aside terminology in a search profile. For example, sometimes clients think that because they are a veteran owned business that they should add VOSB or EDVOSB to the search profiles. Similarly, certified woman-owned businesses often want to add WOSB, EDWOSB or even WBE terminology to their search profile. Which, in turn, makes us ask: Why?

Option 1

Does the client only want to see bids that have been set-aside? In other words does the client not want to see any contract opportunities that pertain to their business but that are not necessarily set-aside? The answer to this question is usually: No! Clients want to see everything that they can bid on (unless it is sole-sourced.)

Option 2

Does the client want to see all bids that have been set-aside? In other words, does the client want to see every bid that is set-aside, from forklift rental jobs to HVAC repair jobs to landscape maintenance jobs? Again, the answer to this question is also usually: No! Clients don't want to see bids outside of their area of expertise.

Why, When and How?

Which brings us back to the original question: Why does the client want to include set-aside terminology in their profile? If they truly want to exclude all non-set-aside bids from consideration (e.g. Option 1) then we can restrict a profile to only look at set-aside bids. This would mean that we restrict the search profile to those set-aside programs that the client is certified for and they wouldn't get any contract opportunities that are not set-aside.

If the client wants to see all bids that have been set-aside, regardless of the type of service/commodity sought by the buyer (e.g. Option 2), then we can add the set-aside terminology as select statements in the profile.

Best Approach

There are a number of different set-aside programs currently in effect and we have created a sample profile that you can review for the different set-aside phrases to use. Again, we strongly recommend careful consideration before adding these keywords into a profile either as a restriction or as a select statement. Option 1 may cause the client to miss many valid opportunities; Option 2 may cause the client to get far more bid leads than what they are interested in.

Bottom line: Our recommendation is to never add set-aside keywords to a search profile. Instead we recommend that the client add keywords that describe what the business actually makes or sells. More about keywords here

If the client does decide to add set-aside terminology, please let us know if you want to restrict the keywords in the profile to only set-aside bids or whether you want to use the keywords as actual search terms.

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