Research Incumbent Contracts

Learn to identify incumbent contracts for current and upcoming opportunities

Related Articles: Federal Contract Award Data Hierarchy Find a Specific Contract or Grant Federal Contract Awards Federal Contract IDV Awards Federal Contract Vehicles

Reasons to Research Incumbent Contracts

When tracking or investigating a current Opportunity for a possible bid, it is often useful to find and research existing or past contract awards that may be either direct precursor contracts, or at least relevant past performance. These past awards can be referred to as "incumbent contracts" or “recompetes”.

From this research you can learn:

  • Information about your competition by research the Awarded Vendor

  • Past Performance qualifications to inform your own bid

Once you locate a past award that contains information you want to capture, you can link it to your existing Pursuit to capture that information where your team can easily use it.

Researching Incumbent Contracts

Step 1: Identify Current Opportunity or Pursuit

First, identify the Opportunity you wish to research. This can be an Opportunity you have found using the Federal Contract Opportunity Search, or it may be an Opportunity that you have already turned into a Pursuit by adding it to a Pipeline.

Either way, this is an Opportunity for which you want to see if any relevant past awards exist that will help inform your bid.

Examine the Opportunity or Pursuit and take note of qualities that will help you in the next step (searching for relevant incumbent contracts), such as:

  • Location

  • Federal Agency offering the Opportunity

  • NAICS or PSC Codes

  • Keywords in the Opportunity’s title or description

Step 2: Search for Relevant Incumbent Contracts

In this step, you’ll search for relevant past awards using the information from the active Opportunity in Step 1.

On the Federal Contract Awards Search page, use the Keyword Search and Filters to locate relevant past awards. In some cases, you may find the exact same contract, and in others you may find contracts that are similar to your current Opportunity in one or more respects.

One helpful filter is using the Award Date filter to identify contracts that are ending in the near future. This can help you identify contracts that may be coming up for re-bid soon.

Once you locate relevant past awards, you can analyze them for useful information.

Awards you locate may be part of a Contract IDV or Contract Vehicle, and the records for those “parent” contracts may also contain useful information to research. In these cases, it’s helpful to understand award data hierarchy.

If you locate Awards that contain information that is relevant to a current Pursuit, you can choose to link it to the Pursuit, so that its information is readily available to you and your team as you process the Pursuit through your Pipeline. Learn more here.

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