Norcal PTACNorthern California Procurement Technical Assistance Center

Responding to Sources Sought - What's in it for You?

Government agencies frequently advertise for “Sources Sought” – what does that mean? Should you bother responding to a sources sought when it doesn’t directly result in a contract?

The answer is YES! It is well worth your while to respond to a Sources Sought, as this is the one time that you, as a small business, can make a difference in determining (and limiting!) your competition. 

Why should you respond to a Sources Sought?

  • “Sources Sought” is the government’s market research tool to determine if there are any small business that can perform the contract work.
  •  If the government receives two or more responses that meet the criteria outlined, the project can be set aside for small business or any category of small business including:
    • Women Owned Small Business
    • Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business
    • 8(a) Small Business
    • HUBZone Small business
  • This means your competition will be limited to firms in the same small business category.

If a government agency does not receive any response of interest to the Sources Sought, the project will most likely be open to both large and small business.  This greatly increases the pool of competition.  

In talking with a Small Business Specialist last week, I asked, “If a small business has the opportunity to meet with you or respond to a sources sought, which is most important to the future of that firm?”  The answer was, “Respond to the Sources Sought!  They can always schedule with me, but this project will not have the opportunity for limited competition again!” 

Need help responding to a Sources Sought? Our Procurement Specialists at the Norcal PTAC can help you prepare your response! Sign up for our services here to become a client. 

Written By: Mary Jo Juarez, Norcal PTAC Procurement Specialist



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This procurement technical assistance center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency