Understanding the Different Types of Notices (SAM.gov) to Find Opportunities

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SAM.gov is the official website agencies solicit opportunities and find small businesses who are selling products and services. Learning the basics of government contracting 101 is how it all begins.

This brief post will help you understand the different types of Notices on SAM.gov and recommendations to develop your small business standard operating procedures for finding opportunities.

According to the FAR, the primary purposes of the notices are to improve small business access to acquisition information and enhance competition by identifying contracting and subcontracting opportunities (Federal Acquisition Regulation [FAR], 2019).

KeyToLife Professional Services LLC’s main focus aligns with the FAR.  We started our consulting company to educate small businesses on what subcontracting is and how to leverage subcontracting to grow their small business.

The dialogue with agencies is strongly recommended in the earliest acknowledgment of a need for the requirement prior to the receiving of the bid or proposal. To learn more, reference FAR 15.201(c) 1- 9 for a few techniques used to promote the early conversations with the agency and contractors. That is why it is important to review procurement forecasts for agencies.

In this post, we will talk about:

  • Special Notice
  • Sources Sought
  • Request for Information (RFI)
  • Presoliciation
  • Solicitation
  • Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
  • Award Notice

What are the Types of Notices?

Special Notice
A special notice could be written to announce small business events such as conferences, business fairs, long-range procurement estimates, pre-bid or preproposal conferences, meetings, and the availability of draft solicitations or draft specifications for review. (Reference FAR 5.205(c), DFARS PGI 205.207(d)). This information is available to the public and can be easily accessed so small businesses can mark the event on the calendar.

Sources Sought
The sources sought is a notice type of market research conducted by agencies to determine if small businesses can provide the capability. The notices are used when the agency does not right now intend to award a contract but may later down the line. However, they want to obtain price, delivery, other information, or capabilities for planning purposes. Responses are information only and shall not be used as an offer or proposal. (Reference FAR 5.20)

Check out the Contracting Officers Podcast. It is a great resource to learn working with the government – https://www.contractingofficerpodcast.com/podcasts/140-sources-sought/

Request for Information (RFI)

An RFI or Solicitation for Planning Purpose is used when issuing a solicitation for market research. This information is mainly for planning purposes. The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 52.215-3. The RFI or Solicitation for Planning Purposes will be clearly marked on the face of the solicitation that it is for information or planning purposes. (Reference FAR 15.209 (c)).

Also, if you want to learn more about the RFI, check out the Contracting Officers Podcast – https://www.contractingofficerpodcast.com/podcasts/179-should-i-respond-to-the-rfi/


The use of a presolicitation notice to notify contractors of the scope and purpose of the acquisition and to invite potential offerors to submit information. This allows the Government to advise the offerors about their potential to be viable competitors. Responses are information only and shall not be used as an offer or proposal. The FAR requires that a presolicitation notice be published in advance of a solicitation notice unless the combined synopsis/solicitation is used. (Reference FAR 5.204)

Requests for proposals (RFPs) are used in negotiated acquisitions to communicate Government requirements to prospective contractors and to solicit proposals. (Reference FAR 5.704)

Note: You must relate the solicitation notice to the presolicitation notice to enable the industry to continue to follow the status of the procurement. Search by number or name under the “Relate to a Notice” field. Information from the presolicitation notice will prepopulate the draft solicitation; however, you have the option to edit.

Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
A combined Synopsis/Solicitation when the procurement meets the applicable conditions outlined in the FAR to reduce the time required to solicit and award contracts for the acquisition of commercial items. This notice type combines the synopsis and the issuance of the solicitation into a single document. (Reference FAR 5.203)

Award Notice
Publicize the award notice. (Reference FAR 5.303, DFARS 205.303)

Note: Award notices must be related to the solicitation. Search for the number or name of the solicitation under the “Relate to a Notice” field. Information from the solicitation notice will prepopulate the solicitation notice.

To start your small business and to understand more about working with the Government as a Subcontractor, here are your FREE quick start guides to help you reach your business goals! Get yours now!

Do you still have any questions about growing your small business? Let us know in the comments section. We are happy to answer your queries!


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