Protesting Or Disputing A Government Contract
If your business bids on a contract and the government makes a decision that you disagree with, you have options to protest or dispute the decision. In general, there are rules in place that give you the right to file a bid protest or to protest the award of the contract to another bidder. You also have the right to dispute a decision if a problem arises after you have won a contract.
You may want to file a protest or dispute if the winning bid is:
- A bid that is vague or lacks detail, making it difficult to understand whats needed.
- An overly detailed bid .
- A bid that is too restrictive or lists specs that are not needed.
- A bid that contain ambiguous language.
- A bid that conflicts with HUBZone issues.
- The failure of the agency to list the contract for small businesses.
When you dispute or protest a contract, the agency typically prefers you try to resolve it with them prior to filing with the General Accounting Office an independent agency that provides government agencies with information to help save money and work more efficiently. GAO provides an efficient and inexpensive forum for the resolution of bid protests.
How To Register As A Small Business
Register for a Data Universal Number System, or as its more commonly known as, D-U-N-S number
10 minutes // 1-2 business days to approve // free
A D-U-N-S number, issued by Dun & Bradstreet, is a unique code is used to identify your business and establish your business credit file.
Identify the classification of your products and services
As part of the federal registration process, you will also need to know where your products or services classify under the North American Industry Classification System code for administrative, contracting and tax purposes. You can search for your NAICS code using keywords which best describe your business. The Small Business Administration uses NAICS as the basis for its size standards and all procurements utilize NAICS codes to describe the principle purpose for the acquisition.
Common NAICS codes for digital services include:
- 511210 Software publishers
- 541511 Computer software programming services, custom
Register your business with the System of Award Management
1 hour // 4 days or less to approve // free
Pre-requisites: D-U-N-S number Tax ID number , NAICS Code
SAM is the system of record for vendors doing business with the federal government. Using SAM you can self-certify your business’ size and socio-economic status.
Instructional video on how to register:
Small Business R& d Funding Programs
The government sponsors two programs, the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technical Transfer Program, which have proven very effective in releasing the “innovative juices” of the research and development minds of the small business community.
Although they were resisted at first by government buying offices, they are now very popular with both the buying offices and Congress. If you watch late-night TV, these initiatives are usually the source of the “Grants” that you hear about. . .and they are certainly not free!
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How Can A Company Avoid Affiliation
All of this begs the question: What can a small business do to avoid affiliation? The types of affiliation discussed above are preventable. However, taking the proactive steps needed to avoid affiliation requires a thorough understanding of affiliation and the circumstances that may give rise to a finding of affiliation. For example, the firms corporate documents should be reviewed to have a full understanding of who controls the company even if what is on paper differs from the day-to-day reality of the firms operations.
Companies teaming with a small business contractor for a set-aside contract should exercise due diligence when entering a teaming relationship. Companies teaming with small businesses should also ensure that teaming agreements, subcontracts and other agreements include representations concerning the prime contractors small business status.
Affiliation is a complex and dynamic subject with potentially significant consequences for small businesses and their teaming partners. If small businesses and their teaming partners gain an understanding of the circumstances that may result in affiliation, they may be able to prevent an affiliation finding and a resulting adverse size determinationpreserving the small businesss ability to compete for prized set-aside contracts.
Government Contracts For Small Businesses
One distinctive area of opportunity available to some small business owners is the possibility of working on federal or state government contracts. In an effort to promote business ownership and entrepreneurship in the United States, many government contracts provide for preferential treatment to be given to bids from small business owners who meet certain requirements. If this is an area of interest for your business, it is important to understand how the government contract process works and what you can do to best position your small business.
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North American Industry Classificationsystem
The SIC will be replaced by thesix-digit North American IndustryClassification System code. Thenew NAICS system was developed toreorganize business categories on aproduction/process-oriented basis. Thepurpose behind the creation of the NAICSclassification system is specificallyfor governmental regulations and censusreports. To determine your NAICS code,clickhere.
How To Bid On Government Contracts
Before you start bidding on government contracts, the sba offers a distinction you need to know about. Prime contractors work with the government directly.
Subcontractors work with the contractors. Theres no gsa schedule for them. But they have their own database. Once small business owners have their documentation together, heres how the bidding process works.
Find The Contract You Are Interested In
Make sure to follow the guidelines once you do. In other words, check out the requirements for RFPs and IFBs. These will include a Naics code and other documents where necessary.
Make Sure Its Right For Your Business
Dont take on something too big or in a different market.
Read The Guidelines and Follow Them
Keep in mind that a government agency will reject any bid that doesnt conform completely to their submission guidelines.
Look At The Closed Bid Info.
Reading these can give you good information on what other vendors charged.
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Questions Schedule An Appointment With Whitcomb Selinsky Pc Today
If you have any questions regarding government contracts for bid or are in need of legal assistance with submitting a bid for a government contract or filing a bid protest, now is the time to contact Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC. Our law firm is ready to go to work for you. Call us today at 866-476-4558 at 534-1958 or contact us by email.
Types Of Government Contracts
Government contracting officers offer many different types of government contracts. These certain contracts come with a different exploit that can take a small disadvantaged business to great advantage.
For some details about these types of contracts, here are some:
Set-aside contracts for small businesses the government limits competition for certain contracts to help ensure a level playing field for small businesses. Set-asides are contracts that assist small businesses to compete for and win federal contracts.
There are two kinds of contracts for this type, competitive set-asides, and sole source set-asides.
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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:
Bid Protests: What They Are And How They Work
If any actual or prospective bidder who has a direct economic interest in the project believes that the bidding process failed to properly conform to the federal contracting laws, that bidder may submit a protest of the award. Bid protests are incredibly common. Over the course of a year, the Government Accountability Office resolves over 1,500 bid protests.
If you wish to file a bid protest, you must file a timely protest letter with the contracting officer. The letter should contain a detailed statement of the legal and factual grounds for the protest and should explain how your business was harmed by the contract not being awarded. If the contracting officer is unable to resolve the complaint, then the complaint should be filed with the Government Accountability Office. Due to the legal and technical nature of filing a bid protest, it is highly recommended that bidders planning to file a protest should seek legal counsel.
If your company has won a contract, you will be notified of a bid protest, and the contract will likely be put on hold until the protest can be resolved. In many cases, bid protests will be resolved very quickly. In other cases, bid protests may become tied up in the administrative courts system and take months if not years to resolve.
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Why You Should Apply For Contracts With Government Agencies
Federal agencies require that your small business adhere to certain labor regulations and laws to get accepted. But that doesnt mean there arent big advantages to working with a government agency.
Granted, its a tough process to get to be a federal contractor. However, these projects last from one to three years usually.
Tap Into A New Market
Small businesses are always looking for new work. You can grow and mature your enterprise by entering the public sector. There are new industry opportunities here that small businesses like.
Taking advantage of upcoming contracts is easier as a contractor. Businesses can change government jobs quicker than federal employees. Small business contractors arent tied down with as much red tape.
These Are Easy To Land
The registration process is time consuming. Its a big task, but there are set asides for a successful business. You ll need to qualify, but then some federal contracts are reserved.
Small Business Government Contracting Initiatives Can Give You An Edge
Traditionally, the government has used the federal acquisition process as a tool to implement and further its programs and initiatives for social and economic change, and this trend continues.
There are several important initiatives that are intended to benefit businesses, particularly small business. These programs, which include incentive, set-aside, and preference programs, give small businesses and small businesses owned by special minority and disadvantaged groups advantages in bidding on federal contracts.
Under federal law ), any person who misrepresents a firm’s status as a small, small disadvantaged, or women-owned small business concern in order to obtain a contract to be awarded under the small business preference programs established under federal law is subject to:
- the imposition of fines, imprisonment, or both
- administrative remedies, including suspension and debarment
- ineligibility for participation in programs conducted under the authority of the Small Business Act.
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I: The Government Definition Of A Small Business
Everyone knows that there is a big size difference between a major corporation such as General Motors and the locally-owned convenience store on the corner. But where does your business fit in? Is it “small”, and if so, what happens when your business grows? When does it cease to be small?
The designation is important when you begin to deal with the Department of the Treasury and other federal and state governments. Because many of the programs and services we offer are targeted specifically toward “small” businesses, a definition of the possible participants is necessary.
The Small Business Administration has taken the lead in defining what constitutes a small business in the eyes of the federal government, and the SBAs definition is the most widely used.
This body of definitions is called “size standards” and can be found in Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations , Part 121. Small business is defined using size guidelines for the different categories of business enterprises, which include agricultural production, communications, manufacturing, retail, service, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale. Subcategories are included under each of these headings.
Because the body of definitions is complex and constantly changing, expert advice is essential to determine whether your business is “small.” For more information, please contact the Small Business Administration or examine a listing of NAIC codes.
Small Disadvantaged Business 8
To provide a fair method for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities to compete, the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate in the 8 Business Development program.
An SBA program that helps provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities that meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Be a small business.
- Not already have participated in the 8 program.
- Be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged.
- Be owned by someone whose personal net worth is $750,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone whose average adjusted gross income for three years is $350,000 or less.
- Be owned by someone with $6 million or less in assets.
- Have the owner manage day-to-day operations and also make long-term decisions.
- Have all its principals demonstrate good character.
- Show potential for success and be able to perform successfully on contracts.
See Title 13 Part 124 of the Code of Federal Regulations for more information.
Joining the small disadvantaged business program allows you to compete for set-aside and sole-source contracts in the program.You can also get help to navigate federal contracting, form joint-ventures, and receive management assistance.
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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.
Why Should Contractors Of All Sizes Be Aware Of Affiliation
The rules governing affiliation are complicated and nuanced, and a company often has an affiliate and does not realize it until after a size protest is filed and the protested award is in jeopardy. Importantly, for a given procurement, SBA determines the size of a concern as of the date the firm submits its initial offer or response which includes price. In other words, if a size protest is filed, it is too late to address the problems raised in the size protest for the purposes of the challenged award.
An adverse size determination will result in the loss of a contract and can also affect the firms ability to compete for future set-aside contracts. With the exception of adverse size determinations based on a violation of the ostensible subcontractor rule, the small business will be deemed ineligible for award of set-aside contracts until the firm is recertified as small. And, if the protested firm is a protégé in a mentor-protégé joint venture, the joint venture will be ineligible for award of set-aside contracts until the protégé is recertified.
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Important Contracting Rules & Limitations
The non-manufacturer rule is an important provision impacting small business set-asides. If a small business prime contractor does not itself manufacture the products or materials that it provides to the government under a set aside contract for supplies, it must supply the product of a small business. The SBA may issue waivers to the non-manufacturer rule if it determines that there are an insufficient number of small businesses with the required manufacturing capabilities. If a waiver is provided, the firm can provide the product of any size business. A waiver of the non-manufacturing rule does not affect other legal requirements that might apply to a supply contract, such as the Buy American Act or Trade Agreements Act.
Under set-aside award conditions, small businesses are required to perform minimum levels of work when they receive a federal contract. These subcontracting limitations apply to contract set-asides for small businesses when the contract amount exceeds $150,000, and all other set aside or sole source contracts under the 8, HUBZone, SDVOSB or WOSB programs.
* And Grow Their Business Significantly Without Having To Chase Customers
I’ve personally helped all types of professional service based business owners land large contracts for their business and they had no idea that they could even sell their business services to the government.
Truth is, anyone can do business with the government no matter what type of service you provide. You just have to know the steps and how to do it and that’s where I come in.
To Learn More and See How This All Works, Click On The Button Below To Get Started
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The Qualification Process To Win Government Contracts
For businesses wanting to get their foot in the door, there are steps to take and qualifications to meet to successfully win a contract bid.
First, you have to do your research to understand the federal marketplace and how the target agency prefers to purchase goods. This will help you craft your bid. Although price plays a role, so does a strong past performance, experience, and company stability.
Proposals differ but will typically include developing a capability statement and small business profile, as well as a Dynamic Small Business Search profile. After you submit your bid, you may be asked to give an oral presentation. This will likely happen when the agency has narrowed their decision down to two or three bidders.
During the federal procurement process, you may be contacted regularly for more information. This is great because it means they are interested.
All things considered, researching the market and crafting an error-free proposal are the hardest parts of winning a government contract.