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.
Smes And Public Sector Contracts
If public sector contracts go to SMEs, its a win-win for everyone. The government often gets better value and can support an essential part of the economy. Smaller businesses, meanwhile, open a lucrative new avenue for ongoing work. They also get a boost in public profile from providing a service to the government.
For those reasons, securing work from the government isnt easy. Every tender that goes to market gets lots of interest. By following the tips discussed then youll be able to identify the right opportunities for your company, produce a winning bid to give you the best chance of landing a transformative public sector contract.
You Underestimate Your Competition
Like other types of competition, you should never underestimate your competitors abilities, especially here in the government contracting industry. The trust and connections of reputed contractors with federal government agencies may run deeper than you can imagine.
Your lack of knowledge about them may spell your downfall in the bidding. And that is why you should pay more attention to leading thorough market research before you start writing your contract proposal.
For example, if you are a small business owner, you can use the Dynamic Small Business Search tool to your advantage. Managed by the U.S Small Business Administration, this tool will let you see the profile of all registered small businesses.
Additionally, the DSBS enables you to review your competitors past government contracts. This information will help you gauge the quality of the business relationship between your competitor and their previously engaged government agency based on their performance. From there, you can start formulating a plan on how you can position yourself as a more favorable option than your competitor.
Carefully Review The Rfp Document
The Request For Proposal posted by a federal agency is an essential document that contains all the necessary project details that should guide you in crafting your contract bid. This hundred-pager document is divided into different sections, and reading through it all is essential for your contract bid writing process.
What are the different sections of an RFP?
The contents of an RFP may vary depending on the nature of the project or the federal agency requesting contractors. 13 sections make up an RFP, but here are the four most important sections that you should pay greater attention to:
B Supplies or Services and Price/Costs
This section will let you know the required deliverables of the federal government contract and how the government plans to compensate you.
This second section encloses a comprehensive list of all the billable items or Contract Line Items . The CLINs include supplies, labor, and other billable items in the contract. Additionally, this section will stipulate the pricing structure it will adopt for the project.
There are different contract pricing structures you should know about, such as the fixed-price contract and the cost-reimbursement contract. A fixed-price contract is a pricing structure where the stated expenses included in the proposal are not subject to change. On the other hand, a cost-reimbursement contract is where you will shoulder all the costs first before the government reimburses you at the end of the contract.
Winning Government Contracts: Five Things You Need To Know
Uncle Sam spends billions of dollars every year. How to position your company to win government contracts.
The U.S. government is the biggest consumer of products and services in the world. And some $500 billion of Uncle Sam’s ever-expanding budget goes to small businesses, resulting in huge opportunities for those that know how to navigate the waters of government contracts.
However, many small-business owners have no clue about how to get involved with government contracts. Lourdes Martin-Rosa, American Express OPEN’s adviser on government contracting and a federal contracting expert for nearly two decades, mentors entrepreneurs who are looking for profitable relationships with the government. She says many miss out on potential government contract revenue because they don’t know how the business of government works. “A government agency works similarly to a corporation and has different purchasing methods,” Martin-Rosa says. “Some agencies prefer to break up a contract and award it more quickly, while some prefer to bundle all services into one and award the big prize to one small business that can then subcontract it out to partners.” Martin-Rosa believes the key to success in obtaining government contracts is to research how the different government agencies operate and see how your unique services can be instrumental.
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Understand The Solicitation Type
There are a few different avenues that government agencies use to request proposals from potential government contractors, and as you may have come to expect, each comes with its own jargony acronym and paperwork rundown. But the type of solicitation used for a particular contract tells you a lot about what the agency expects from your proposal, so itâs important to understand the difference.
Following are the main three solicitation types youâre most likely to see on SAM.gov or any other listing of government contracting opportunities:
Request for Quotation
A request for quotation is the simplified acquisition procedure for government agencies typically used for contracts under $150,000. However, while this is considered simplified by government standards, you may still find it more involved than other scope of work proposals your business has completed for private entities. Consult the SAM.gov database to view past RFQ proposals to better understand how an RFQ should be successfully completed for a business in your industry.
Request for Proposal
Invitation for Bid
Invitations for bid refer to sealed solicitation processes for government procurement, meaning there is no negotiation between agency and vendor. The submitted bid package is considered final, and price point is most often seen as the key differentiator between qualified bidders.
Conduct Your Business With The Department Of Defense
Most of the businesses are often dont know or sometimes unclear about the subject of their business conduction as a government contractor. Though, suppose you are clear on being associated with the Defense Department . In that case, it is highly recommendable to start preparing for the forthcoming CMMC requirements, though its importance might not be imminent to you right now.
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Additional Conditions To The General Conditions
You Only Skim The Request For Proposal Document
The Request for Proposal is an essential document that a federal agency releases to solicit business proposals for a specific project. The RFP document contains all the government and technical requirements, from the project details to proposal formatting.
However, the document can be pretty lengthy at times. But as the first step in the proposal process, you have to be patient in comprehending the information stated in the paper. If you just skim through the RFP, chances are youll overlook something. No matter how small of detail it may seem, it can either make or break your proposal.
The government receives countless contract bids for their different projects. If they saw that your proposal didnt follow their strict instructions, they wouldnt think twice about tossing your proposal into the rejected pile. If you find it challenging to review the RFP, try bringing in a dedicated proposal team to help you out.
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What Is A Government Contractor
Government contractors are businesses or individuals that provide products or services to a government department, agency, or branch. They are referred to as prime contractors and subcontractors.
Moreover, federal contractors are responsible for complying with local, state, and federal laws that govern business operations. The federal government requires demands contractors to comply with labor laws and environmental regulations.
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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How To Structure Your Answer
- if the question includes bullet points, adopt these as subheadings. With equal space allocated to each
- if there are no bullets, break down the different elements of the question to determine the best answer structure
- address each point in the same order as they appear within the question
- avoid extra subheadings which distract from the core wording of the question
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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How The Bid Is Evaluated: Evaluation Gates
Gate 1: administrative compliance
- does the bidder meet eligibility criteria to bid?
- is response completed in full?
- does bidder satisfy any grounds for exclusion?
- are required declarations signed?
Gate 2: economic and financial standing
Does the supplier have sufficient financial capacity, for example cash flow and working capital, in relation to the contract value and payment mode?
Gate 3: technical and price evaluation
How has the suppliers response scored, both in terms of quality score and pricing score?
Follow The Uniform Contract Format
No matter the type, all solicitations share the expectation that aspiring contractors follow a specific format. Success in procuring government contracts has as much to do with your ability to follow instructions in the proposal formatting and submission process as the substance of your proposal. So, make sure that you follow all schedules and forms within the solicitation in the exact order, structure, and time frame requested. The SBAâs free âGovernment Contracting 101â online course is a great resource for in-depth understanding of the purpose, forms, and expectations for each of the 10 sections within the Uniform Contract Format.
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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.
Strengthen Your Client Portfolio
Government agencies can be great additions to your client list. Listing government agencies on your client portfolio or using them for a testimonial can make your process service or investigation business attractive to law firms, collection companies, and insurance companies who may be considering your company for volume services.
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Apply For Your Federal Tax Id Number
Your Federal Tax ID number functions similarly to your Social Security Number. Without your Federal Tax ID, your company will be unable to apply for business licenses and permits, nor even legally open a bank account to which your payments as a federal government contractor will be wired. You can easily apply for your tax ID here.
Get Registered As Federal Contractors
The purpose of registration is to provide federal contracting officers with information about you and your business, which will help them determine if you are qualified to be awarded a contract.
Acquire your NAICS classification and a Unique Entity ID
This number is used to identify different types of businesses eligible for contracts. For example, the NAICS code for motor vehicles and parts is 441.
On the other hand, Unique Entity ID is a unique identifying number for your business needed for registering with other government entities.
Create a SAM account
This is your portal for accessing government contracting opportunities. Its also needed before getting rewarded a contract and receiving federal funds.
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Strictly Follow The Instructions Stated In The Rfp
Being a detail-oriented leader is an asset if you want to make it in the federal contracting industry because federal agencies are heavily scrutinizing each contract proposal whether it followed the specified instructions at Section L or not. If your contract bid fails to follow the direction of the government agency, the government agency might eliminate your proposal due to technicalities.
So before you start writing down your contract bid, take note of all the instructions indicated in the Section L of the RFP to guide you through the process.
Cleaning Supplies And Sanitary Papers New Vendor Of Record Agreement
Government and Consumer Services Supply Chain Ontario
The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services , Supply Chain Ontario , Ontario Shared Services , has established a new Vendor of Record arrangement for Cleaning Supplies and Sanitary Papers. Mister Chemical Ltd. is the successful vendor.
The VOR arrangement, effective October 29, 2021, is for a term of up to two years with three additional terms of up to one year each. The VOR arrangement is mandatory for OPS ministries and agencies and is optionally available to non-OPS entities including municipalities, academic institutions, school boards, health care providers, and major transfer payment recipients.
This single-vendor VOR arrangement allows the supplier to provide consistent quality and service across the province and provides discounted prices on a list of core items.
- Allows buyers to request product training
- Free delivery with a minimum purchase of $50 or more.
How to access the VOR arrangement
For Ontario Public Service ministries
This VOR arrangement, User Guide and Client Satisfaction survey are available on InsideOPS.
For Non-OPS entities
Access is available through the Doing Business with Ontario website.
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Basic Requirements For Government Contracts
Government contracts offer new opportunities to grow revenue and add diversity to your companies, especially small businesses. However, pursuing them can be intimidating if you are new to the process. Here are some basic requirements to prepare your business to compete in government contracts.
Format Requirements For Submission To Treasury Board
The Treasury Board Secretariat should have copies of all supporting documents referred to in the submission. In some cases, a summary of the essential details of a document may suffice. The Treasury Board Submissions Guide provides general information on the format, structure and processing of submissions to the Treasury Board. It also provides guidance on some of the content requirements. For complex, urgent or sensitive issues, discussions with the Secretariat analyst, prior to finalization of the submission, may shorten the time required for approval.
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Moving Through The Bidding Process And Winning The Bid
In general, the bid process is a lengthy procedure and is not accomplished merely by submitting a bid and getting either approval or disapproval. After you submit your bid proposal, the government will begin reviewing your bid. Any proposals that are unreasonable or are not within the governments budget will likely be rejected. The remaining bids will comprise the pool of possible contracts, from which the government will select a winner through negotiation of the bids.
During the bid negotiation process, the government is required to treat each bid fairly and impartially. The reality of the negotiation process, however, is that treating a bid fairly does not mean treating each bid equally. The federal government must select the best value proposal yet, it has free reign to ask bidders to modify their proposals to meet specific requirements such as cost or technical specifications. The government is not required to ask every bidder to make the same adjustments to their proposals, however. That said, there is a fine line between fair play negotiating and not being impartial.
In general, a company will know it has won the bid when the contract is signed. Communications indicating that a company will win the bidding process or that the process is ongoing are not reasons to celebrate, as the government can choose to award the contract to another bidder at any time. If your business wins the bid, signing the contract confirms that you were in fact the best value bidder.