Contractors have been an integral part of how the government accomplishes large projects for centuries now. Since the country’s founding, the government has extensively relied on outside agencies and organizations to ensure certain goals are met or tasks are achieved.
Obtaining a government contract can be a complicated and time consuming process. Nevertheless, there are some key insights to keep in mind to make your bids more successful. Ultimately, it is important to understand the ins and outs of the government contracting procurement and acquisition process to take advantage of lucrative growth opportunities.
1. Adhering to Federal Regulations and Agency Requirements
Businesses pursuing government awards must have all applicable licenses and permits for normal business operations, regardless of the type of contracts they seek. When bidding on a government contract, the agency you seek to work with will review your business thoroughly to ensure every aspect meets its standards.
It can be very easy to overlook a regulation, especially ones that may apply to government contracts but not to the general public. If you are unsure that your business meets all requirements to obtain a government contract, enlist the services of a firm that specializes in ensuring and maintaining government compliance.
2. Register Your Business
The first active step in this process is to register at SAM.gov (System for Award Management); this must be completed to be eligible to bid on contracts. Confirm first, that your business meets all the requirements and is in compliance with all federal regulations, then prepare to gather several pieces of information.
This will include an Employer Identification Number, the financial information necessary to set up an Electronic Funds Transfer, the NAICS code for your business, and other government-specific identifiers.
In April 2022, the U.S. federal government moved away from the formerly required DUNS number and moved to a Unique Entity ID (UEI) that is generated and assigned by SAM.gov. This number is required to move forward with your registration. If the physical address of your business is outside the U.S. and its territories, you will also need to request an NCAGE number to be able to complete registration.
3. Pay Attention to Government Contract Opportunity Websites
Depending on whether you want to be a primary contractor or a subcontractor, there are several websites available that list various contracts available for bids.
In addition to being the website for registering, SAM.gov is the website listing contract opportunities for primary contractors. Subcontractors have more options offered through organizations including the Small Business Association and General Services Administration.
4. The Easiest Types of Contracts to Win
For businesses new to government contracting, it may be best to start with contracts that are easier to secure. While there are several different types of government contracts, two types are designed to be more accessible for small businesses: set-aside contracts and GSA Schedule contracts.
Set-aside contracts are those that are set aside for certain types of businesses. Because the government contracting industry can be highly competitive, these contracts are designed to level the playing field by reserving contracts worth $3,000 to $150,000 specifically for small businesses. To qualify, your business must be a registered contractor on SAM.gov and qualify for the Small Business Administration’s assistance programs.
GSA Schedule contracts are blanket contracts for procuring resources such as office supplies and other basic supplies and services. These contracts are not reserved for any type of business, but they have fairly consistent schedules and do not require the same planning as a large-scale project.
To bid for these contracts, be prepared to provide accurate financial information, past performance and experience, and a list of the products or services you would like to provide.
5. Develop Strong Partnerships
With so many businesses competing for government contracts, it is important to develop strong partnerships with contractors and other professionals in the industry. These business connections allow you to cultivate quality leads, exchange information and insights, and create mentoring relationships with those who have experience in the industry.
Networking is key to building a strong reputation and being on the cutting edge of innovation and change in the industry. It can also make navigating the process easier, and make submitting successful proposals more streamlined and efficient.
One of the best ways to be successful as a government contractor is to have specialty advisors, such as Diener and Associates, to ensure you are in compliance, manage contract accounting and timekeeping, and navigate the complex procurement and acquisition process.
The experts at Diener & Associates will help your business more successfully bid for government contracts and maintain continued compliance to help secure future awards. Schedule a consultation or call today at 703-386-7864 to help your organization secure government contracts.