How to write a strong capacity statement for government contractors

What is the purpose of a capacity statement?

Government contracting has developed into a very competitive market, thanks to its potential to be very profitable. Companies of all sizes, from small and micro businesses with one employee to huge corporations with thousands of employees, have successfully sold products and services to government agencies at the federal, state, city, county, and municipal levels.

However, competition has intensified as more companies attempt to break into, be competitive, and remain successful in this market. Five years ago, no one knew what a capability statement was, and now, it’s an important tool to help you be as successful as possible, no matter the size of the company you represent.

Another complicating factor is that the government uses fewer people to handle outreach and takeover. This means that contractors must know how to extract the information that is most important to a particular decision maker, articulate it in a clear and concise manner, and reinforce its relevance to prospects, even more so than in the past.

Successful companies use their ability statement for a number of purposes:

o Required in many government registration processes

o An open door for new agencies

o Proof of eligibility

o Evidence of past performance

o It will set you apart from your competitors

Capacity statement format

The capability statement should be very brief (only one or two pages), relevant specifically to the needs of each individual agency. Ideally, it is a living document that will change depending on the target agency. why is that? Because smart contractors know each agency has its own mission and focus, and they speak directly to those in their ability statement.

It is important that the document is visually pleasing and contains graphic elements that are similar to your company’s branding and logo. It should also be a searchable document that can be easily sent as a PDF.

Therefore, we recommend creating an Ability Statement in Word or Publisher using a template that reflects the company’s branding with its logo, colors, and graphic identity. It is important to have all important information on one side of one page. The second side may, if needed, contain additional supporting data important to the target agency such as case studies of successful previous projects.

Contents of the capacity statement

The five key areas included in success are:

1. Core Competencies

2. Past performance

3. Paradoxes

4. Company data

5. Contact information


It is best to name the document a capability statement. This should be mentioned at the top of the document. This term is popular with government contracting decision makers, and indicates that you have knowledge of the contracting process. The capability statement should also show the company logo and other branding elements, for recognition, and be devoid of long paragraphs, instead using short sentences and bulleted lists for quick visual scanning.

When creating the ability statement, use the following section designations: core competencies, past performance, and differentiators. These are the key items government buyers look for so they can make a quick decision.

Show contact information, including a website, a specific person’s name, email, and phone number, on each side (page) of the document.

Create a new document for each agency, lead opportunity, or group opportunity. This way, each ability statement contains all the information it needs for that opportunity, and only the information it needs.

The ability statement should preferably be one page only, and one side. Go to the sides only if necessary.

Save and distribute as a PDF file and not in Word, PowerPoint, or any other format. Save the document with your company name in the file name. Many federal agencies ban Word and Publisher documents because they may contain viruses, however, a PDF file is more secure, usually smaller and visually stable when mailed.

Core Competencies

These are brief intro statements relating the company’s core competencies to the agency’s specific needs followed by keyword-heavy bullet points. This is not all the company can do, but the company’s core expertise, which relates specifically to the agency this ability statement is written for, its mission and the opportunities identified.

previous performance

Start by listing previous customers that your business has done a similar job with. Prioritize starting with the relevant agency, to all other federal to state agencies, to commercial contracts. If previous projects do not relate to the target agency’s needs, do not list them.

advice: Ideally, include specific contact information for immediate references. Include your name, job title, email, and phone. Use this information when meeting with decision makers. Leave this information out of the Statement of Capability when sending the PDF as an initial outreach effort or as a conference handout.


Doing business with the government is very competitive. Contractors bear the burden of navigating this competitive market and rising above other contractors. Many companies trying to increase sales to the government market do not have a clear value statement detailing what makes them different from their competitors. A concise, clear statement relating to the agency’s specific needs is what will help purchasing and purchasing staff, program managers and end users understand why they should choose your company over other competitors.

Sample differential questions:

How does your company best fit the needs of this agency? What sets your services apart from the rest? What differentiates your employees from your competitors? Why are your products better solutions than others out there?

If these benefits cannot be clearly communicated, it is impossible for the decision maker to make a clear recommendation for your company over one of your competitors. Many companies fail to take this crucial step. And they wonder why they are losing contracts.

Company Data

Include one or two short sentences with the company description detailing the relevant history. Include: the size of your company, your revenue, the number of employees you have, and the typical geographic area you serve.

adviceReaders will visit your website for additional information. Make sure your website is constantly updated and focused on government.

List of related symbols selected

  • Exceeds
  • Socio-economic certifications: 8(a), HUB Zone, SDVOB, etc.
  • NAICS (all) Don’t include code descriptions, just use numbers
  • cage code
  • Acceptance of credit cards and purchases
  • The number(s) of the GSA scheduling contract
  • Other federal contract vehicles
  • BPAs and other federal contract numbers
  • Government contract numbers
  • Name (a specific person)
  • Title
  • Phone (main and cellular)
  • Email (personal email, not info@)

If your company has won any awards, awards, or notable accomplishments related to that agency, only list it if you have the space.

Use this information to help you create a strong capability statement and open doors to federal government contracting opportunities. This document is key to building a relationship with important decision makers in government contracting, providing them with a brief description of the goods and services your business can provide, and a consistent reminder of your company. When written correctly, a capability statement is the tool that puts your company head and shoulders above your competition.

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