Contracting Help From The Government
There are several ways in which the federal government tries to assist you in finding opportunities and doing business with it. By encouraging participation in the government procurement process, the more potential suppliers there are, the better the chance the government will obtain exactly what it needs at the best possible price. For that reason, there are numerous government websites devoted to government contracting. In addition, there are specialized government personnel available to assist. Government procurement conferences and publications are also valuable resources to a business that wants to sell its products or services to the government.
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For experienced help positioning your business to win and work on government contracts, contract Denver Business Attorney Thomas E. Downey. Since 1983, Thomas Downey and the other legal professionals at Downey & Associates, PC, have been providing individuals and businesses in the Denver Metro Area and throughout the U.S. with the highest level of legal service for their business, litigation, and property tax issues.
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The Government Is The Worlds Largest Buyer
With an annual contracting marketplace of between $350 billion and $500 billion, the U.S. federal government is the worldâs largest buyer of products and services. Ignoring the contracting opportunities available through the federal government means effectively writing off the single largest avenue for finding new customers.
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Tips For Getting Started In Federal Contracting In 2021
Federal contracting is an excellent way for businesses to open up a new stream of revenue. That’s because as a customer, the federal government is one who:
- Actively looks to work with small businesses
- Is guaranteed to have the funds to pay you
- Spends more in times of recession
- Wants to build longterm working relationships with reliable vendors
So how do you even approach working with the largest buyer of goods and services in the world?
That’s what this blog post is going to cover.
Here, we’ll go over:
Plus, at the end of this post is a FREE downloadable guide that will teach you the fast and easy way to get started in federal contracting.
Guide To Government Contracting: What You Need To Know
Every year the federal government of the United States of America spends billions of dollars on goods and services covering their various industry needs. Government agencies are constantly seeking small businesses, and private sector organizations are referred to as contractors.
Federal government contractors support the government solutions or improvement strategies for building roadways, enhancing the countrys defense systems and even research and technological projects.
Federal government contracting is a significant and complex topic and covers many different aspects needed to learn. There are various articles and resources out there you can access that tell you about the industry.
However, this guide is more about the common things that you need to know about government contracting. To access the basic knowledge about this fantastic business industry, keep reading until the end!
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What Is A Duns Number
The DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identifier for businesses that is assigned once the identity resolution process determines a company is unique from any other business in the Dun & Bradstreet data cloud.
DUNS Numbers are often used as a reference by business partners or lenders to predict the financial stability of a company a requirement to apply for government contracts.
Finding Federal Contracting Opportunities: Fedbizopps
Federal Business Opportunities, FedBizOpps.gov or FBO is a site for searching and identifying active federal business opportunities. You can search by state or zip code, by government agency or government agency location, by set-aside code, or by your NAICS code.
FedBizOpps.gov only lists federal opportunities over $25,000. If youre interested in smaller contracts, reach out to the government agency youre interested in working with to find out what opportunities they have available.
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Types Of Government Contracts For Small Business To Help You Grow
The United States government is known to be the worlds largest buyer of products and services. From a tiny piece of a paperclip to the huge types of machinery, the federal agencies purchase almost everything even research and technical assistance.
However, the federal government does not purchase anything without a concrete process and preferential consideration. That is why the federal procurement data system is brought to life!
A business or enterprise that successfully sell their companys products or services is enlisted as one of the prime contractors. But the question is, is anyone eligible to be part of the contracting community?
Yes! whether large or small business, as long as they provide the needs of the procuring federal agencies they are qualified to work with any government agency.
If you are reading this, you probably own a small business and wondering whether you can win any government contract. Make sure you read along because you are about to learn the government contracts for small businesses and how to win your first government contract.
Tip #: Gain Relevant Experience
Many private military contractor jobs require applicants to have practical experience in the US military or at a security agency.
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You can enroll to work as a law enforcement officer at a local or state level to have some experience in the security field.
Check the qualification requirement for law enforcement officers in your state to know if it is an avenue you can exploit.
However, most will require you to successfully go through police, public safety, or peace officer academy.
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How To Get Government Contracts For Your Small Business
The U.S. government purchases a surprising number of products and services each year. There are also many small businesses who have products or services they would like to sell to the government. Luckily, a large percentage of the billions in yearly contracts are legally required to go to small companies seeking to do business with the government at the local, state, federal, and international levels.
So, why dont all small businesses take advantage of government contracts? Because its not easy, and most business owners dont understand the process to win government contracts. For starters, the government requires small business owners to go through a rigid qualification process. But, once you qualify, youll be eligible to take a piece of the billion dollar pie.
Make Sure Your Business Meets The Sba Size Standards
In order to qualify for government contracts for small business, you need to meet the size standards set by the Small Business Administration . Size standards vary by industry, so youll need to know your NAICS code before decoding whether you can qualify. Two common size standards are 500 employees and $7.5 million in annual receipts maximum, but you can use the SBAs nifty size standards tool to check your eligibility.
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What Types Of Contracting Opportunities Are There
There are 4 main types of contracting opportunities available through the federal government:
- Micro-purchases are government purchases under $3,000. These opportunities dont require a competitive bidding process.
- Sealed bidding is the competitive buying process for contracting opportunities with specific and clear government requirements. These contracts range between $3,000 $100,000 and are awarded to the lowest bidder that fits the needs of the respective government agency.
- Contract negotiations are used for contracts that will exceed $100,000 and when highly technical products and services are being sought.
- Consolidated purchasing programs are for contracts that can be awarded to multiple vendors and can be used by multiple agencies.
How To Be Successful Doing Business With The Federal Government
Make sure youre taking advantage of every opportunity you can to boost your chances at securing contracts. Here are two tips:
One final tip: government agencies may also use your DUNS number to look into your business credit score, specifically your D& B PAYDEX score, and use your business credit report to determine if youre likely to pay subcontractors youve hired on for work, or pay your bills in general. The government wants to work with credible companies, and your PAYDEX score is one way to determine your businesss credibility. Check your business credit scores here .
Obtain A Employer Identification Number
While some small businesses prefer to operate off of the owners social security number, the government does require its contractors or vendors to have an employer identification number . If you need to obtain an EIN, you may do so for free through the IRS. Think of this number as a social security number for your business.
What If You Lose
If you didnt win the contract, ask for a debriefing to find out how you were evaluated. If you want to challenge the award decision, you can file whats called a bid protest, but you have to act fast. Typically, bid protests must be filed within 10 days of the when the basis of protest is known .
When you are the protestor, you are really trying to throw as much mud at the wall and see what sticks, but your arguments can be dismissed if theyre late or not supported by facts, said Overman. You can come up with arguments of why you were evaluated improperly or why the awardee was given too good of an evaluation, like theres no way that price makes sense or that company has an organizational conflict of interest.
Although filing a bid protest is well within your rights as a citizen, Harary said to use it carefully. It should really be a last resort, because youll be making the procurement officer do extra work and you dont want to be someone that is just a complainer, he said.
Biggs also warned that even if your bid protest is successful, it doesnt necessarily mean youll be awarded the contract. It could just mean the agency did something incorrect when they were making the decision and they may have to go back and do a re-evaluation or fix whatever it was thats wrong, she said. In some cases, businesses will be allowed to re-bid on the contract.
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How Do You Get Into Government Contracting
How to Get Government Contracts
Search For Government Contracting Opportunities
The next critical step in the government contracting process will be to utilize a search engine to gather information concerning bid opportunities, identify buyers of your product or services, understand how your competition is winning government contracts, identify potential teaming partners and prime contractors.
The federal government provides access to this information in various forms and through the various agencies websites. However, we have a streamlined government contracting program called GovExpert, which is a one-stop-shop for all of your contracting opportunities.
At GSE, our knowledgeable GovExpert Consultant will explain how to identify opportunities you could target and how to market to the agencies that would be buyers of your product or service.
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Government Contracts Favor Small Businesses
Of the approximately $500 billion that the U.S. government spends annually on federal contracts, its also their goal to allocate 23% of those funds to small businesses. Now, that might not sound like a huge figureâbut in what other bidding scenarios do you have any sort of guarantee that the prospect will choose a small firm like yours over a much bigger company? In private industry, thatâs virtually unheard of.
Whatâs more, through the Federal Procurement Data System, you actually have the ability to identify government agencies that arenât yet meeting that 23% target. If you respond to a request for a proposal from an agency in this circumstance, youâre almost guaranteed preferential consideration over non-small business firms.
How To Sell To The Government
Its a good idea to learn all you can about the process of selling to the governmentto achieve the greatest success. The Small Business Administrations Learning Center offers a free, three-part, on-demand course called Government Contracting 101 that you can take at your own pace.
The SBAs Government Contracting Classroom also offers other self-paced online courses on a variety of topics. Youll find courses for women-owned small businesses, courses for veteran-owned small businesses, courses about how to prepare government contract proposals, and more.
You can prepare long before bidding on a government contract by:
- Being sure that bidding on a government contract is best for your company. The process takes time and company resources. You may want to create a plan detailing staffing needs and how much money you hope to gain from the contract.
- Researching the demand for your products or services.
- Researching the price for your products or services.
- Making sure your business is eligible.
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Consider Small Business Certifications
If you are a socially or economically disadvantaged business, you may benefit from obtaining 8 status. These certifications do require a formal process with a third party, but may create additional opportunities for you. In order to begin this process, you must first be registered in SAM, and then you can start the application process through the SBA . Once you obtain your certification, you will be able to compete for set-aside and sole source contracts. In addition, you will be provided resources such as a Business Opportunity Specialist to assist you in navigating the federal contracting landscape, opportunities to participate in mentorship programs, as well as management and technical assistance to assist with executive development. If you are interested in becoming certified, first complete the SBAs suitability assessment to see if you qualify.
Keep in mind that government contracting is a tough area to navigate alone. The criteria can be difficult to meetit can be hard to hold your own security clearance, for exampleso many independents find they have to go through vendors or integrators to secure contracting opportunities.
How To Write An Effective Government Contract Bid
Drafting a proposal for a potential government contract is just the start of the bidding process. But it can have you look at a blank screen for hours, especially if you have no idea where to begin. To jumpstart your journey to writing an impressive bid proposal, here are some of the things you have to take note of:
1. Read and re-read the solicitation document
It pays to be detail-oriented in this line of work. If you miss even one detail about the governments solicitation, your bid will be deemed non-responsive. To avoid this, you should carefully review the entire solicitation, its detailed requirements, and most importantly, understand the contract regulations. If some things arent clear with you, never hesitate to contact the procurement contracting officer to ask questions.
2. Align your proposal with the governments specified needs
Although government contract bid templates may be available on the internet, you should not entirely depend on them. To write an effective bid proposal, you should write your bid around the governments specific needs and how your business can help them out. This will show that you took the necessary effort to fully understand their requirements and plan your businesss course of action.
3. Highlight how your company can deliver the best solution
Telling your businesss compelling history can be an excellent way to start your proposal, but you shouldnt dwell too much on it. A concise paragraph will suffice for that.
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More Information Gives Small Businesses A Leg Up
Think about the last proposal or bid you sent to a prospective customer. When preparing that bid and setting your rates, how helpful would it have been to know exactly what the customer was looking for and how much they were prepared to spend? It would be a game-changer. Yet when youâre bidding on government contracts for small businesses, this dream can be a reality every single time.
Federal agencies are required by law to create written budgets annually, detailing exactly what they intend to purchase and the funds they have allocated for those purchases. And the best news for business owners? Those budgets are available in the public domain through the Office of Management and Budget website. If youâre willing to dig in and do some research, you can get the inside scoop on your prospective customerâs strategy and goals for the contract youâre proposing as you prepare your bid.