The Ultimate SF330 Guide (with Template)

sf330 blog post header

If you’ve ever proposed on Federal, or even state, A/E contracts…you’ve probably run into the Standard Form 330 (sf330).

People often struggle with the sf330. But you don’t have to.

In this post, I’m going to explain:

  • How to fill out the SF330
  • How to structure your information
  • What to add to your submission

I’m not going to go over much of the obvious. Instead, I’ll answer common questions and give you some strategies you may have not considered.

And I’ll even give you a sf330 template that will be easy for you to use in Microsoft Word and the official directions.

What Is The SF330?

The sf330 replaced two universally hated forms (the 255 and 254). All Federal agencies are supposed to use the sf330 when soliciting for architecture and engineering services. Many state agencies have also adopted this form.

This new form solved a few problems:

  1. Clients wanted to make sure they were getting the people with the right experience.
  2. We (the industry) wanted something easier with more flexibility.

What?!?!

Yes, believe it or not, the sf330 was designed to be easy and flexible.

The first thing you need to do is change your mindset about this form. It is well thought out. And if you use it correctly, it is easy and flexible.

Keys To The SF330

If your proposed team has:

  • Relevant Experience
  • Worked Together Before on Relevant Projects

Then, this form will be your best friend.

If not, this form will work against you simply because it was created to weed you out. But I’m going to share some strategies that should help.

The Who and What

The sf330 revolves around the people you are proposing and the projects they worked on. Nobody wants to hire you based on your firm name or reputation. So, the who and what is critical.

Before you fill it out, you need to know who you are proposing and what they worked on. That’s because in Section G, we will need to make the connection between the key staff proposed and the experience provided.

Notice that I said, “key staff.” Unless expressly stated in the RFP, your sf330 does not need to list everybody who will work on this contract, just the “key staff.”

The Key in Key

Unless the client provides you with titles or roles they consider “key,” it is up to you to decide who is key.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are proposing to design a building. You know Bob, one of your mechanical designers, will work a lot on this project. However, you just hired him. He’s got no relevant experience, is not the project manager, nor is he the Lead Mechanical Designer.

Leave Bob out of your proposal. He’s not key staff. At least, not in this situation.

Then let’s say you have an electrical designer, Paul, that has tons of relevant experience, has worked with the rest of the team before, but won’t be spending as much time as Bob on the project. Put Paul in. He’s going to be key to the success of this project.

Even though Paul is spending less time on this project, the value of his contribution will be much higher. If the project runs into a snag, you’ll need the guidance of someone who has done it before. Paul is key.

We want to avoid pulling a “bait and switch.” Don’t propose the A team, but then turn around and give them the B team. Most contracts will state the key personnel cannot be changed without the client’s express written permission.

While unexpected situations and natural turnover might make complete consistency impossible, it’s just not good business to bait and switch.

Also, don’t be stupid. Your Project Manager is clearly a key person.

Nuthin’ But a Section G Thing, Baby

SF330 Section G Example One

If you are new to the sf330 game, you should complete Section G first.

In this section, you list your proposed staff and the ten projects you will highlight in your proposal. Then you mark an X on each project the staff member worked on.

Ideally, you want to list 10 projects that are just like the one you are proposing on. You can also include one or two projects from your subconsultants in the 10. But I wouldn’t include more than two.

Logic would dictate that evaluators want to see as many x marks as possible on this form. But let me tell you, I’ve never seen evidence or even heard of an evaluation committee making their selection based solely on the number of x marks in this section.

My rule of thumb is everybody needs an x. If you list people with no x marks, you are hanging out there.

Also, if you list ten different people having worked on ten different projects, that’s also risky. You want to show these people have worked together before.

You’ll also want to show, if at all possible, that your team has worked with the subconsultant personnel in the past as well.

Sections A, B, and C

Folks, it doesn’t get any more self explanatory than this. Sections A, B, and C are easy to fill out. Don’t spend too much time here.

But make sure everything is filled out including the percentage utilization for subconsultants.

Don’t Forget The Org Chart

Section D is the org chart. You can create this in a separate document and attach it after the first page (A, B, C).

You want to keep the org chart as simple as possible. What clients want to know is:

  • Who is my single point of contact?
  • Do they have enough people for this job?
  • Is there a clear management structure?
  • Are there any specialists on the team?

Section E The Resumes

SF330 Section E example two Section E is comprised of resumes of your key staff. This would include the key staff from your subconsultants.

Typically, these resumes should be kept to one page. Some clients will allow certain resumes to go over a page. But, to my understanding, the form was designed to be a one-page resume.

Each resume should include five projects. Not four, not six, but five projects.

And don’t forget to check whether or not the project was completed while with the person’s current firm.

The Ten Year Rule

In general, the sf330 requires you to keep the experience listed in sections E and F to within the last 10 years.

Some clients will restrict this even further to three of five years. But if they don’t, it’s best to keep it to projects within the last 10 years.

Personally, I have not experienced firms getting disqualified for listing experience that went beyond 10 years. And, in a resume, if I had to choose between a project that was completed over 10 years ago and an irrelevant project, I would choose the old one. But please note, that may be a risky move.

Services vs. Construction

There are two fields after the project name. The first is “services” and the next is construction. Remember, this form was created for design firms. But it is being used for many other services.

The date services were completed is the year this person stopped providing services for this project. The construction year is when the person stopped working on the construction

The date construction was completed is when the building was opened or the renovation was complete.

The Job Titles

sf330 section e example one Ideally, you want the person’s title for his/her projects to match up with the role identified in item 13 in Section E.

For example, if this person’s role is Lead Mechanical Designer, you wouldn’t want the titles for his/her experience to read “Senior Mechanical Designer.” The client will want to know “has this person ever done this before?” If the titles on the project descriptions and role don’t match up, you are indicating that they haven’t.

Again, above all, be honest. But often people use different titles when they do the work vs when they propose on it.

For example, the person may have acted as the Project Manager on an assignment, but his/her title is listed as principal. If you are proposing for this person to be the Project Manager, that’s not going to work.

The F in Projects

In Section F, you’ll detail 10 relevant projects. Again, not six, not 11…but 10 projects.

Yes, there will be occasions where clients specifically ask for fewer projects. In all cases, give your clients what they ask for.

Time, Time, Time

In general, the projects should be within the last 10 years. Again, it is feasible that a client could restrict it to fewer years. And, just in case I’m not sounding like a broken record yet, give your clients what they ask for.

I’d be much more likely to deviate outside those 10 years in projects than in resumes.

If, between you and your subs, you can’t come up with 10 relevant projects…that may indicate a challenging competitive situation for you.

Making The Projects Relevant

With regards to relevancy, the term I use is “slap your clients in the face.” These projects must be so relevant that it slaps your client in the face. They shouldn’t be able to glance at a project and wonder why it’s in your sf330. It should be stupid obvious.

You can ensure this by adding a box within the description identifying why this project is relevant. Adding a photo may also help with that.

Yes, you can add photos and text boxes to your sf339. There are many examples of how firms do this in the presentation linked at the bottom of this post.

Subconsultant Projects

Like I said when we covered Section G, I think it’s OK to include one or two projects from subconsultants.

Don’t forget to add that your subconsultants worked on your example projects when they did. Clients will want to know how much your firms have worked together before.

Section H

Finally, at least for Part One, you have Section H. Many times clients will specify what they want to see in this section. If they do not, I would advise you to ask what they want to see in it.

Sometimes, the answer will be, “That’s up to you.” That may indicate they don’t plan to read that section. But you don’t want to take any chances. So, yes, add some information to Section H.

What you don’t want to add is boilerplate drivel from your extensive library of crap (ELC). Only add information that is relevant to this project and/or helpful to the client.

SF330 Part Two

No, this is not the sequel. Part Two is the replacement for the 254. The 254 provided general information about your firm.

You should always include Part Two In your submission unless directed by the client not to.

You really should complete one of these forms for each office (location) that will be working on the project. There are always exceptions, but that’s the general rule.

Conclusion

That should give you enough information to complete the form. If you want to download the free, easy to use form (Microsoft Word Format)…click the link below. I’ve also included the official sf330 directions in the download.

Click Here To Download The Free SF330 Template

If you feel I left something out or have some useful sf330 advice, submit a comment below.

Useful SF330 Links

Comments

  1. A couple suggestions I received from state representatives regarding the SF300 for Ohio – a modified federal version. To help the people scoring the submittals it was suggested to make personnel job titles match those on the scoresheet, but you can qualify them with additional discipline descriptions – ie. Project Management Lead | Electrical, Project Design Lead | Mechanical, Technical Staff | Mechanical.

    The other suggestion also uses the scoresheet. In Section H, organize a page to answer all the items listed on the scoresheet. Much of that info is scattered throughout the rest of the SF300, but listing it on one page can help the scorers.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. These are great tips on the SF330, Matt. We definitely need to put a little more thought into some of our approaches to filling it out. I’m not sure what you mean when you say, “But make sure everything is filled out including the percentage utilization for subconsultants.” under “Sections A, B, and C.” I don’t see where it asks for percentage utilization.

    A recent challenge we faced was a NAVFAC requirement for a minimum of 12-pt font in the SF330. Ugh. I usually use Arial Narrow when 12-pt is required, but that meant we had to go through all the resumes and project sheets and change the entered text to that font and size. (Items 9 and 10 in the Part II were especially challenging!) Then, we had asked the subs (8 of them!) to change the font in their Sections E and F and Part II and only a couple of them did. Most just sent their standard forms without editing them at all. And one of the ones who DID just highlighted the entire form and changed the font, including the little lines of instructions in each box, so all of their resumes went to two pages. We ended up having to reformat almost ALL of the subs materials!

    • Matt Handal says:

      Trish,

      We typically put the percentage utilization in item 11. I guess it is not mandatory.

      If I was submitting a SF330 to NavFAC, I would have sent a question in about that requirement.

      And if a sub doesn’t comply, send it back. Why reformat their material?

    • If you use Word Styles in building your 330 templates. You can with a couple clicks make those font changes. We are often on teams and are sent other firms templates. We just need to change our styles to match the clients. Other wise we would be copy/pasting all night. Now, we can even merge out from our proposal automation, then modify the Word file to match.

  4. Excellent post! I have even used Section G in the go/no-go evaluation. If we can’t make the matrix work to make us feel comfortable enough to win, we pass. Thanks, Matt.

  5. I figured it was easier for us to reformat the subs’ materials. It was obvious that it was technical people and not marketers (which they probably don’t have) who were sending us the 330 pages. AND it was a rush job; we didn’t really have time to wait for them to do it.

  6. Matt, when I went to work for a construction management and project management company in 2009 the SF330 was the first proposal template that I had to deal with and so I started building a proposal database that complied style-wise and content-wise with it – all sections. When I completed that module the database had about 30 ways to brand resumes and almost an equal number of ways to brand project descriptions. By branding I mean changing the background colors and logos on an agency-by-agency or partner-by-partner basis. It also allowed me to work on two- and three-page resumes for a single person at the same time, sorting and selecting jobs based on the customers’ instructions. There were still some problems with typefaces that required manual interventions and exorcisms but the Access database internally takes care of most of them for both the 2004 and 2006 versions. It also handled graphics but those are better dealt with in Word.

  7. Jennie Kay says:

    Question – Is there a horizontal version of the 330? We are in process of putting a horizontal RFQ together, and I’m having a hell of a time trying to get this in a horizontal format. Any leads or tips would be great. Thanks!

    • Matt Handal says:

      It’s just a table. I might increase the page size, change the page layout, adjust the table, then change the size back.

      But keep in mind, some agencies will not let you screw with the form.

      • Lisa Lynn says:

        When using the A/E Standard Titles for Specific Roles, I am confused about the difference – in the world of the SF330 – between a Project Design Lead and a Project Engineer. At my company, we refer to our senior engineers as PDEs, or “Project Design Engineers,” which implies they are lead engineers for the project. Would they be considered Project Design Leads on the SF330? Or is a Project Design Lead more like a CAD Designer/Technician on the SF330, and our discipline engineers should be considered Project Engineers? The Project Design Lead’s experience seems to be important on the scorecards I’ve seen, so maybe it’s something else altogether they’re looking for. Yikes.

  8. Matt, This was a great refresher on how to build a seamless SF330. However, could you remind me where the codes found on pages 5-8 are used? THANKS

  9. How do you copy and insert nine (9) additional pages for Section F? (The .pdf security features prevent the form from being altered in this manner.)

  10. Erin Starks says:

    Thank you for this information, Matt! Does it matter if you use the (6/2004) version when there is a (REV.3/2013) version available? The latter doesn’t allow you to duplicate sections E and F for each person/project?!?

    • Matt Handal says:

      Erin,

      The 2013 version does allow you to have individual pages for sections E and F. Download my free word template at the bottom of the page.

      Matt

  11. Hey all, The design company I work for is preparing a SF330 for some work with NASA. The solicitation says that if your company had an IDIQ contract with multiple task orders, then the task orders should be rolled up and submitted as 1 project in section F. I managed the design and construction for a NASA center for many years and have just recently retired. In my 30 plus years at NASA, we never had this requirement. I contacted the procurement office and they said there rationale was based on the fact that all those projects are under one contract. I have always been of the opinion that section F is to showcase individual projects. If we comply, our rolled up project will include utility projects, renovations, new construction, demolition etc. Each project is stand alone and hits on the experience requested in the solicitation. Also, each project had a different POC. They also want just one PPQ for the entire contract which will not (in my opinion) show our strengths on various types of work. Matt and all, I would love to hear what ya’ll think

    • Matt Handal says:

      That is actually very common. I personally believe that it is important to be compliant. On the other hand, the portions of the IDIQ you describe need to relate to the needs of the contract you are submitting on. If you have a specific question, I’m sure we can help.

      • Thanks Matt, If we are following the instructions on the form, the instructions for section F are “F. EXAMPLE PROJECTS WHICH BEST ILLUSTRATE PROPOSED TEAM’S QUALIFICATIONS FOR THIS CONTRACT (Present as many projects as requested by the agency, or 10 projects, if not specified. Complete one Section F for each project.) I’m all about compliance, but rolling up hurts my teams proposal. If the form says one section F for each project, I can make a case that a project by NASA’s definition would be any and all of the individual task orders completed as part of the IDIQ and should not be rolled up just because they were completed as part of an IDIQ contract. For example, a “Chiller Plant” project may be part of the IDIQ, but is clearly defined by NASA regs as a project and is also approved by OMB as a project not a contract. My problem is the definition of project versus contract. The form asks for projects and the guidance asks for contracts. The Government benefits from IDIQ contracts by not having to do A-E selections for all of the projects. An IDIQ should not benefit the Government and potentially hurt the A-E community. In your opinion, what is the governments rationale for asking A-E’s to roll up IDIQ’s? Huge Thanks, Jimmy

    • I was under the impression that since each task under an ID/IQ vehicle generally requires separate negotiation of scope and fees, they may be under one master agreement, but they are technically separate contracts.

  12. Melanie Koch says:

    Hi Matt, On a Part II, I know that we can insert a signature, however, what I’m not sure about is if a secure digital signature is acceptable as a means of “signing” the Part II. Looking forward to your response.

  13. What is your opinion about adding graphics to the form? Pictures, logos, colors, etc.?

  14. Diane Kistler says:

    What if anything has changed in the new SF330 form dated o8/2016?

  15. Hi Matt, did you see that there are new SF 330 forms dated 8/2016? have you reviewed them??

    Thank you for your advice. Ginger

  16. Do you know of any InDesign versions of the form out there that we can use instead of Word?

  17. Carly McCarrolli says:

    What, if any, are the rules for updating one’s SF330/SAM registration info?

    • Matt Handal says:

      SAM and sf330 are two different things.

    • Carly McCarrolli says:

      Yes, I am aware that they are different things. 🙂 I was specifically looking for information on when one is required to update the SAM info. I know it is to be done annually, but if you have a significant change (a branch office closes, for example), are you required to update the 330, pt. II AND the SAM registration at that time? Can one just update the 33o and save SAM for later?

      A potentially better question: When filling in the SF330, pt. II, Section 10, c., I am confused about what numbers to use for the Revenue Index. I’ve read that a firm should do a separate part II for each branch office (assuming they have more than one) and that the section 10 should refer back to the branch office listed in 2a. They didn’t, however, address how to handle section 10 now that they’ve removed the firm/branch columns and made it into a single column (2016 version). For revenue numbers, do I use the firm’s overall number, or do I use the branch in 2a’s numbers?

  18. Good morning, Matt. I received your SF330 documents in Word format, thank you. However, we need to fill out the Standard Form 330 (REV. 8/2016). Do you have that revision in MS Word? If you do, that would be a huge help to us.

  19. Logan Jack says:

    Matt, Thank you very much for you willingness to help so many with the SF 330. This was my first encounter with the document and your step-by-step clear explanations where invaluable.

    Question for you- Is there a rule or unwritten rule regarding how / where the SF 330 is positioned in the proposal? Perhaps in the Professional Qualifications section? We don’t see any direct guidance on that aspect of the proposal from FBO and were unsure if it mattered? Our initial thought was to explain the background of our company, sub contractors, and cover “requirements” from the FBO project listing. Then, in the Professional Qualifications section, insert the entire SF 330. Is that an acceptable method or would you recommend otherwise?

    Thank you immensely, Logan

  20. You state Part I, Sections A, B, & C are pretty much self-explanatory. Marketing staff from my company in other offices always list our company multiple times with each office location in Part I, Section C when proposing staff from multiple offices. It clearly states to complete the section for the Prime Contractor and all Subconsultants. Am I missing something? I don’t believe it’s necessary. I know a Part II is required for each proposed office and Section E requires the firm name and location. Can you please provide feedback?

  21. Hi Matt, Love this! Do you know if there is a de facto requirement for providing the cost of projects on the 330 resumes? Some of our subconsultants aren’t privy to actual costs of projects and don’t like providing fees there either.

    • Matt Handal says:

      I’m not sure it’s a requirement per say. I doubt you would get kicked out for omitting costs. But its something you want to put in.

      Regarding fees in SF330 resumes, I’m not sure why you would ever do that.

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