Find Your Naics Code And Business Size
Government contracts will ask that you submit your North American Industry Classification System code as part of your application. This code is used by the federal government to classify businesses for statistical purposes related to the U.S. business economy.
The NAICS Association website offers a free search tool that can help you figure out what NAICS codes apply to your business. Codes are categorized by what your business offers. For instance, the NAICS code 611430 applies to businesses that provide professional and management development training. It can take a little bit of work to find the right code for your business: some entrepreneurs prefer using the US Census Bureau code lookup tool to find the best code.
Once you have your code, check the SBA website to determine the small business size standard that applies to your specific NAICS code. Each industry has different standards for what qualifies as small. For instance, NAICS code 611430 shows that businesses must have sales below $7 million annually to be considered a small business. This will have relevance as you decide which contracts to bid on, as some contracts are only open to small businesses by the SBA/NAICS code definition.
There are a number of places to monitor for contract opportunities as the government releases requests for proposals.
What Do I Need To Know Before I Start
Every bid solicitation is unique, so read it very carefully.
If you have questions, follow the process specified in the bid solicitations. To ensure the integrity of the competitive bidding process, enquiries and other communications regarding the solicitation must be directed only to the contracting officer identified in the solicitation, not to the client department or other government officials. Generally, you will be asked to submit your questions in writing. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your bid being declared non-responsive.
Do not make any assumptions about what is required. If you need clarification or think you have found an error, let the contracting officer know as soon as possible. The bid must be evaluated against the criteria as they are written so changes cannot be made by the contracting officer after bid closing date.
The buyer will compile all questions and answers and issue an amendment to the solicitation document . This ensures that all bidders have the same information. Pay attention to the timelines specified in the solicitation document, as questions may need to be received before a certain deadline.
Easiest Government Contracts To Win
Current or recent past performance makes future contract wins easier. Unfortunately, penetrating the Federal Government contracting market as a 1-person company with no past performance is nearly impossibleunless you leverage industry insider knowledge! Therefore, gain market penetration by alternative ways, finding those easiest government contracts to win.
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How To Bid On A Federal Government Contract
Follow these steps to get your NAICS code and become eligible to bid on federal government contracts.
By: Emily Heaslip, Contributor
To compete for the often lucrative contracts with the U.S. government, you must complete several steps to make your business eligible.
The U.S. government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, awarding hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts each year. Contrary to popular belief, these contracts often go to small businesses. The government is not only legally required to consider bids by small businesses, but it also has set a goal to award at least 23% of all federal contracts to smaller ventures.
If youre interested in competing for some of these often lucrative contracts, follow these steps to prepare your business to bid on a government contract.
Sba Government Contracting Classroom
Do you want to develop a more in-depth understanding of government contracting before diving into the federal marketplace? The SBA Government Contracting Classroom is a wonderful online course series that thoroughly explains what you need to know about government contracts for small business. These courses are a great resource to learn more about the specific forms and processes involved in registering for, finding, and winning government contracts for small businesses.
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I: Basic Contracting Limits
Entry into a contract or contractual arrangement must be approved by the Treasury Board if the amount payable, including all applicable taxes, fees and amendments, exceeds the stated monetary limit for the contracting authority identified in the basic limits schedules.
When an exceptional limit for a specified program is lower than the basic limit for its corresponding schedule, the lower exceptional limit applies.
Schedule 1: construction
- Competitive construction contract: up to $11,500,000
- Competitive architectural and engineering contract up to $1,850,000
- Non-competitive architectural and engineering services contract up to $150,000
- For housing and detachment projects:
- competitive construction contract up to $23,000,000
- competitive architectural and engineering services contract up to $3,700,000
Until March 31, 2025, the Minister responsible for Shared Services Canada may enter into and amend non-competitive contracts for up to $22.5 million to support IT operations for the GC where IP rights of the supplier prevent the contract from being competed.
Create Strong Written Agreements
If you rely on teaming partners or subcontractors to carry out part of your contract, make sure you have a strong written agreement from Day One, Parker recommended.
Put everything in writing dont assume anything, she said. Effective communication is the best communication. Discuss everything up front.
She described an incident in which her company was a subcontractor that maintained a loose teaming agreement that wasnt written out well. This mistake cost her $40,000, and she spent several years trying to get that money back.
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Lisa Firestone Managed Care Advisors
Lisa Firestone launched her employee benefits and disability management consulting firm in 1997, but it wasn’t until six years later that she saw an untapped niche: handling case management for workers’ compensation issues for the federal government.
“We went from pure consulting to offering a suite of products that assisted the recovery of employees injured on the job,” said Firestone, President and CEO of Managed Care Advisors, who, armed with the technical expertise, partnered with another small, woman-owned firm that was better versed in government contracting to bid for the first job.
Although teaming with another company to try and win a single contract is a strategy lauded by consultants, landing that first one wasn’t easy. “We were up against large businesses and up against the fact that we never had a contract before,” said Firestone. “We also had to protest the first bid, where the initial determination was that no small business could handle the job. But we ended up winning it.”
From there, Firestone decided to “really learn the government contracting business” so she could successfully compete for prime contracts, where her company would be solely responsible for fulfilling the job.
Today, Bethesda, Maryland-based Managed Care Advisors generates about 90 percent of its revenue from federal contracts it holds six prime contracts and two subcontracts with a handful of different agencies.
Los Alamos National Security Llc
Contracts won in 2017: $2.5 billion Largest federal agency customer: Energy Revenue: $5.3 billion
The Los Alamos National Laboratory’s current stated mission is to “focus on national security and contributions to 21st century science.” The lab was originally created to develop the atomic bomb during World War II.
Earlier this year, nonprofit Triad National Security LLC took over management of the lab. Despite its nonprofit status, New Mexico lawmakers are fighting to ensure the company will continue to pay state taxes. Today, about 65 percent of the laboratory’s budget goes towards weapons development.
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Additional Conditions To The General Conditions
Determine Your Naics Code
NAICSthe North American Industry Classification Systemclassifies businesses to collect data related to the U.S. economy. Youll need a NAICS code to register your business and to apply for certain federal contracts. For more information about NAICS codes, check out guidance from the Small Business Administration .
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National Technology & Engineering Solutions Of Sandia Llc
Contracts won in 2017: $2.5 billion Largest federal agency customer: Department of Energy Revenue: $41.8 billion
In 2017, National Technology & Engineering Solutions Of Sandia LLC, a subsidiary of defense contractor Honeywell , took over management of Sandia National Laboratories, which is part of the national nuclear weapons program. The contract, worth $12.7 billion in total, is for a term of five years, or $2.5 billion per year.
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.
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The Sba Brought Together Government Contractors And Entrepreneurs For Nearly Four Hours Of Instruction In How Small Businesses Can Go To Work For Uncle Sam Here’s What We Learned
Federal spending is up. No matter how you might feel about that politically, it means great opportunity for government contractors. And that in turn means unprecedented opportunity for small and emerging businesses.
Here at National Small Business Week, the SBA set up a total of nearly four hours of training on how to compete for federal government contractswith panelists including top SBA officials, contractors, and those who recruit subcontractors for the country’s largest companiescompanies that do a lot of government business.
Granted, there’s something a bit meta about the U.S. government running classes on how to sell stuff to the U.S. government. But setting that aside, whether you want to contract directly with the government or carve out a niche as a subcontractor, we learned six key things about getting on the government payroll.
1. Really, truly know your business.
There are currently at least 31,000 federal contacting opportunities listed on the government’s clearinghouse website . But, in a way, 31,000 is worse than zeroat least if it’s your role to comb through them all and figure out which ones you might actually want to compete for.
Well, the No. 1 bit of advice heard at the SBA training was to make sure you know your own company inside and out, and understand exactly what it is you have to offer. That can narrow scope of your search considerably.
2. Be aware of your advantages before stepping into competition.
California Institute Of Technology
Contracts won in 2017: $2.4 billion Largest federal agency customer: NASA Revenue: N/A
CalTech is the largest recipient of NASA contracts in the United States. The school received a total of $2.4 billion from NASA in 2017. Much of those contract funds go to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a center located near the university campus that carries out robotic exploration of space. Among the JPLs spacecraft are the Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, the Juno spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter, and the NuSTAR X-ray space black hole telescope.
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How To Win A Government Contract
Want a slice of a $235 billion market? Give yourself your best shot at a government contract with these 10 tips.
Q: I’ve heard a lot about procurement, but I don’t know how to go about getting a government contract. What’s your advice?
A: The best way for a small business to grow is to have the federal government as a customer. The U.S. government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, with total procurement dollars reaching approximately $235 billion in 2002 alone.
But many small businesses find it difficult to get a foot in the door. Many government agency buying practices–including contract bundling and the failure to go to outside established vendor networks–make it difficult for small businesses to bid on and win federal contracts. Here are 10 tips on how to get a piece of the billion-dollar federal procurement pie:
1. Decide what to sell. The first thing you must do is figure out what products or services you will sell to which federal agency. Identifying a product or service that a federal agency needs is key. You can consult with an SBA Procurement Center Representative for help, either by calling your local SBA office or by visiting www.sba.gov/GC/pcr.html.
2. Contact the small-business specialist. Each federal agency has one. Identify that person and set up a meeting.
8. Get certified. If you are a woman- or minority-owned business, it is always smart to get certified by a state or national entity .
Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation
Contracts won in 2017: $4.1 billion Largest federal agency customer: DoD, GSA Revenue: $6.2 billion
Booz Allen Hamilton is a consulting firm, and though it has clients in the private sector, the majority of its revenue comes from government contracts. Working with several U.S. intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, and branches of the U.S. military, much of the company’s business is confidential. It is not likely a coincidence that 70 percent of company employees have security clearance. Generally, Booz Allen Hamilton provides intelligence and data analysis, engineering, and cybersecurity services to government clients.
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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.
Contractual Arrangements Involving Crown Corporations
12.10.1 Subsection 41 of the Financial Administration Act states that the Government Contracts Regulations do not apply to federal or provincial Crown corporations unless the legislation of the Crown corporation specifically requires that it be subject to Subsection 41 of the Act. Consequently, the Treasury Board Contracts Directive and relevant policies do not apply to Crown corporations. Arrangements between departments and Crown corporations cannot be contracts in a strictly legal sense .
12.10.3 Agency status. When a department or agency has been designated as an “agent” of a Crown corporation, the contracting procedures and authority limits of the contracting authority continue to apply. As stated in article 4.2, Related requirements, the contracting authority cannot assume the powers of a Crown Corporation even when undertaking work on its behalf. In practice, the department or the Crown corporation will seek Treasury Board authority when a proposed contract exceeds the limits prescribed in the Contracts Directive.
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Why Seek Government Contracts For Small Businesses
There are a lot of good reasons to seek government contracts for small businesses, and business owners who ignore these opportunities are surely missing out.
Letâs take a look at just a few of the reasons that your small business should actively pursue government contracting opportunities as part of your customer development strategy: