How To Bid On Government Contract Work
Regardless of who gets elected in November, one thing you can be sure of is that the government will continue to spend big money on contracts.
Last year, the federal government spent an estimated $439 billion across 31,000 contracts. That amount does not even include the billions of dollars that state and local government agencies spend each year.
In short, there is a lot of money to be made in contracting for the government. However, bidding on government contracts can be a drawn-out process that takes several months. It is also highly competitive, as you are likely to be bidding against experienced government vendors.
If your company is fairly new to bidding on public sector work, these eight tips can help you win your share of RFPs from the federal, state and local governments:
Making Your Bid Or No
Now its time to delve into making decisions. Its important to carefully evaluate the suitability of a contract before proceeding with your federal bid opportunities. Many organizations try and make their services fit the contract when, really, it should be the other way around.
To help you decide whether or not to proceed with a bid, you could ask yourself the following questions:
% Of Contract Dollars Set Aside For Small Businesses
Yes, this was mentioned earlier, but we cant understate how significant this is. Thats 23% of $500 billion that the U.S. government spends annually on federal contracts. And recognizing that agencies have to meet this 23% target can give you a major leg up. Through the Federal Procurement Data System, you can see which government agencies arent yet meeting that target, giving you a much stronger chance of procuring a contract when you bid.
There really isnt a good reason not to go after government contracts.
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Always Keep Actively Searching For Opportunities
SAM may be where all contract opportunities are listed but dont forget to look elsewhere.
One thing you can do is to scour local news and announcements. For example, your city could post a bid for design services for a new local government building. Knowing about this early means you can prepare your bid for it ahead of time.
Register your company now and get all your information together in preparation for federal projects. Some contractors only work on these types of projects, so they can definitely work for you. The key is to be prepared and follow the RFP instructions correctly.
Be the low bidder, and youre on your way!
Bidding And Being Considered For Federal Projects
If your company has received a request for proposals or has seen an advertised request for proposals, it is time to begin the bidding process. First, you will want to review and analyze the solicitation. Determine what would be involved in the contract and determine whether it is feasible for your company to take on the project at this time. No contractor is required to bid on any project even one sent privately to a company however, bidding on as many contracts as possible is a good way to establish rapport with the federal contracting authorities.
If you decide that bidding on a particular contract would be a good move for your company, you will want to begin the bid process by getting organized. Bidding for a federal contract can be quite complicated, and having an organized team can help ensure you can complete a good bid proposal on time. You should start by selecting a team leader to oversee a bid preparation and then assign other employees to prepare portions of the bid based on their expertise. Try to determine what the most critical requirements of the contract will be and allocate your best staff to complete those sections of the proposal.
Is It Hard To Win Government Contracts As A Small Business Contractor
Anything worth having is worth doing. So to start winning government contracts, you have to roll up your sleeves and get into work. However, the thought of competing against contracting giants for federal contracts can make you question whether your small business has a shot at winning a contract. Fortunately, the federal government has put policies and programs to encourage small businesses to enter the government contracting industry.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is a government organization that promotes and protects the rights and interests of small businesses in America. And as part of their effort to uphold their duties, the SBA partners with government agencies to link qualified small businesses with opportunities available in the federal marketplace.
In addition to that, the government also has special contracts for small businesses called set-asides. As part of the governments goal to spend a dedicated portion of their contract dollars on small businesses, they limit competition on set-asides to encourage small business owners to compete for government contracts.
Take Advantage Of Your Uniqueness
No matter where you look at the business industry, there are still businesses that are way ahead of you. They may have more resources, employees and customers, but that does not mean they are suitable for federal business opportunities. As a small business, you may offer something more attractive than the big companies have. Maybe your business can accommodate the governments need, produce a product or service on short notice, or perhaps you can give more than what the contracts have.
You do not need to be worried about dealing with large companies on bidding government contract opportunities. All you need to do is to take advantage of your uniqueness to compete. Also, lucrative contracts are designated for small, women-owned, minority-owned, veteran-owned, and businesses with socio-economic status. So, if your business belongs to one of these categories, then surely the government and procurement officers would like to work with you.
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Role Of The Labour Program
The Labour Program is responsible for the administration of the FCP. This includes
- promoting awareness of the importance of employment equity
- providing information, tools and guidance and working with contractors to help them understand their obligations, and
- conducting scheduled compliance assessments of contractors
For more information on the FCP compliance policy, consult the FCP compliance requirements.
Subcontract With An Existing Contractor
If youre not sure if government contracting is right for your business, or you want to learn more before you bid, explore the option of subcontracting. Many large businesses look for small business partners to allow them to bid on opportunities allocated for boosting small businesses. Your partnership is valuable for these prime contractors. Likewise, youll be able to learn the ropes with an established contractor who has the systems and relationships in place.
To find subcontracting opportunities, look to the SubNet database to see opportunities that large contractors post when they are looking for small businesses to serve as subcontractors. Likewise, the SBA maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans. Look for someone in your area or niche who wouldnt be considered a direct competitor.
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Free Guide To Getting Started In Government Contracting
In this blog post, we took a general overview of how you can get the best possible start in government contracting.
However, if you want to take it a step further, and get a more detailed, step-by-step guide for getting started, we have a FREE guide for you.
Most government contracting guides will give you just the basics such as filling out the paperwork and submitting bids.
USFCR’s Practical Guide to Getting Started in Government Contracting covers the basics but also gives you actionable strategies for building a new and reliable source of revenue.
Originally published Apr 23, 2021 10:35:04 AM, updated August 23, 2022
Negotiating And Establishing Goals
To fulfill this responsibility, SBAnegotiates goals with the federalagencies to establish individual agencygoals such thatin the aggregate, the Government-wide goals areestablished. In addition to thestatutory goals, as a matter of policy,SBA also negotiates a small businesssubcontracting goal based on the recentachievement levels and a HUBZone subcontracting goal equivalent to therequired prime HZ goal, and recommendsthat the agencies’ SDB goal be comprisedof half 8 awards and half non-8awards. Before the beginning of thefiscal year, agencies submit proposedgoals to SBA. SBA’s Office of GovernmentContracting determines if theseindividual agency goals, in theaggregate, meet or exceed thegovernment-wide statutorily mandatedgoals in each small business category.When that is achieved, SBA notifies theagencies of the final goals.
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Ensure That Your Proposal Addresses The Project Goals
Referencing Section C of the RFP, you have to define how you plan to fulfill the contract goals clearly.
Your contract proposal should lay out your plan that hinges on your companys strengths. You have to highlight how your companys proposed solution is the most efficient and cost-effective option among other federal contractors during this step. To ensure that your proposal addresses every request stipulated in the RFP, list them all out in the proposal outline prior.
Descriptive Bidding On Government Contracts
RFP proposals can get very gray and boring without visual support. Images and graphs can help tell your story. They can better show technical details while doing it more effectively than words. Use words familiar to the agency and include their logos or property images to custom-tailor the proposal.
While details are important, you dont want to get too descriptive when discussing pricing. The agency is always going to look for ways to get the price down. Dont provide details that would make it easy to cut into your margin. Price items at a high level, just like when doing a schedule of values. Then leave some room in your prices so the agency can come up with savings as they slice and dice the numbers.
Finally, at every government level, you will have rules to follow, so use all the contracting resources supplied by the agency to understand those. If they offer training materials, use them. When you dont understand something, ask for clarification.
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The Ins And Outs Of Governmental Construction Bidding
Government construction contracts can be extremely lucrative for commercial construction firms. In 2018, construction spending from federal, state, and local agencies totaled $307.1 billion dollars, with $21.3 billion coming from federal agencies and $285.8 billion from state and local agencies, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Thats a 3.6% increase over the total public construction spending from 2017. Through August 2019, public construction spending has totaled $214.3 billion, which is on pace to exceed 2018s total.
Many construction firms rely on government construction contracts as their sole source of revenue, while others will bid on a mix of public and private opportunities. There are a number of regulations and statutes governing public construction contracting. These can vary greatly between agencies, so its important to understand which rules apply and carefully read all the bidding requirements when pursuing public construction contracts.
While an exhaustive list of all the regulations and statutes for all the federal, state, and local agencies would be nearly impossible to compile, there are some common requirements and practices that nearly all agencies follow. Heres a look at a few things to keep in mind when bidding on government construction contracts.
Government Contracting For Small Businesses
The small business sector is an integral part U.S. economy. Of the annual government spending of over 4 trillion dollars, almost $440 billion goes to small businesses.
Small businesses have a very large market. If you have the determination and patience to work within the ambit of set rules and regulations, pursuing government contracts for the supply of goods and services can be a lucrative business opportunity.
Since the application process for government contracts is quite lengthy and the government hardly ever moves at a high speed, you should plan out your businesses for the long haul.
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Bid On Government Contracts: Step
How To Get A Government Contract
Once youre qualified and have completed the registration process, heres how to submit a strong bid for a federal government contract.
Government contracts come in different forms, and knowing how to prepare your bid can help you secure this type of lucrative business opportunity.
The federal government is a huge potential customer for small businesses. A federal contract can be a good opportunity to boost revenue for your business, especially since the government is obligated to award a large percentage of contracts to small companies.
Heres how to prepare your business to bid a government contract.
Consider Becoming A Subcontractor
You do not have to do business directly with the government. In fact, becoming a subcontractor for a larger company will spare you much of the time and paperwork that goes with government bidding. Large government suppliers have their own data networks and you may have to register with them to become a subcontractor. Another resource is Supplier Connection, an IBM-powered website that connects small businesses with major government suppliers like AT& T, Du Pont, UPS and more.
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Complete Your Sba Profile
Most government contractors miss this critical step. After registering your business at the SAM.gov portal, you should fill out your SBA profile.
Completing your SBA profile is necessary to add your business into the Dynamic Small Business Search . This will boost your visibility to federal contracting officers scouting for contractors.
And that mostly sums up the government contractor registration process. But if you still feel a little bit lost, here is a comprehensive beginners guide that will walk you through the journey.
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Research The Bid Before Applying
To make sure that youre only bidding on suitable opportunities, you need to thoroughly research the bid before applying. You can determine whether youre eligible for the opportunity by asking yourself these questions:
- Do you have the resources to deliver the contract?
- Does your business have enough time to put together a winning RFP response?
- Do you have relevant and desirable experience?
Strategizing Your Sourcing Approach
Submitting federal bids is the end game. First, you need to plan your approach to finding the government solicitations. Federal solicitations can be found on beta.SAM.gov, formally FBO.gov. You can register to the platform and receive notifications.
If your organization is also interested in state, county, or regional opportunities, this can be more time-consuming. In order to find opportunities, someone in your organization will need to be responsible for registering to numerous bidding portals. Each one will likely have its own registration process. There are thousands of RFPs, RFQs and IFBs published every day across the US. Therefore, this will likely be a full-time commitment for a member of your team.
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Small Business Preference In Federal Contracting
Under the Small Businesses Administration , the federal government has enacted several programs to help small businesses break into the federal contracting market. The SBA has created several programs that create a preference for businesses meeting specific eligibility criteria either based on ownership of disadvantaged people or geography. These programs are designed for set-aside contracts that do not go through the competitive contracting process. Rather, these contracts are sole-source contracts designed to fill specific federal government needs. Specifically, small contracts ranging between $3,500 and $150,000 are set aside for certain small businesses.
The SBAs 8 preference category seeks to assist small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals successfully bid for federal contracts. To be eligible for 8 preference, the small business must be owned by a socially and economically disadvantaged individual. Proof of disadvantage is required for eligibility and the business owners must demonstrate good character and potential for success.
The HUBZone preference category helps small businesses located in economically disadvantaged regions mapped by the SBA. The HUBZone Maps can be found on the SBAs website. While many of the HUBZone regions are economically depressed rural areas, some economically depressed urban areas are also included.
Register In Sam System For Award Management
SAM is a government-wide portal that connects systems used by the federal government for buying goods and services, managing grants and cooperative agreements, and conducting other affairs.
To do business with the federal government, businesses must register at www.sam.gov. Click on Get Started, and follow the prompts on screen. A DUNS number is required.
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