With an annual contracting expense of more than $500 billion, the United States government became the world’s greatest customer. The country is known for consuming different types of products and services.
According to U.S government law, government agencies are mandated to allocate 23% of their funds to small businesses. This law brings out a lot of reasons to seek government contracts for small businesses, and small business owners who ignore these are surely missing out.
Government contracting qualifications
Knowledge of government contracting
You have to understand how federal procurement works and how a government agency prefers to purchase goods. In order for your small business to be part of the government prime contractors or subcontractors for the federal agencies, you need to know how to process all the paperwork, legally qualify as a business and register as a government contractor.
Part of applying for federal contracting requires your small business with the completion of certifications. Certifications are used to ensure that you and your business are in compliance with the laws and regulations.
As a small business owner, you must be able to continually practice networking and relationship building because this can help you to stand out from the number of competitors in the industry of government contracting. Networking also helps you to build relationships with your fellow government contractors and create a possibility to work together.
Your business is likely to have experience in creating bids, proposals, contracts and scope of work. Having the knowledge to produce a great proposal can help you to withstand the unique process of preparing government contracts.
Proposal for government contract may differ, however, government agencies often look for those who included the business profile and capability statement. Take note that whenever your bid successfully passes their screening, you may be asked to present your bid orally.
Who can apply for government contracts?
There are no particular business size requirements needed to be able to join the bidding process for government contracts. Procurement is made to inquire the smallest goods up to the technical services. So whether big or small, businesses and companies of all types are allowed to bid for government contracts.
However, large companies get the attention most of the time but do not let that bother you because when your small business successfully bids on a contract, it will increase your reputation and give your business more chances to win more contracts in the future.
What are the usual products and services the government buys?
Procurement of government agencies may come from paper clips to machinery, marketing, technology and even technical assistance. The best way to know the needs of the government is to check the federal business opportunities website. As a small business owner, before you bid on any government contract, you must meet their specifications to avoid wastage of time, money and effort.
How to get government contracts?
To be considered for a government contract, you must first register with the System of Award Management (SAM). System of Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S federal government agency that stores the databases of companies interested in government contracts. Your business shall be registered as a government vendor of this platform and must have an updated business profile and.
Acquire DUNS Number
Dun & Bradstreet’s (DB) Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS Number, is a nine-digit identification number used to instantly identify a company or firm. DUNS numbers are unchangeable throughout the lifespan of a business. It is also used for tracking businesses and their financial transactions around the world. You can acquire a DUNS Number online by using the DUNS Request Service platform.
Get a NAICS code
Most of the time small businesses need a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. This code is used to classify businesses and collect data related to the U.S economy. This code is needed in your business to register and bid on federal contracts. NAICS will also help the government to easily classify your business’s industry.
Take note that if your agency operates in multiple industries, you might need to get and report multiple NAICS codes. For more information about the NAICS code, you may seek guidance from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
Check your EIN
Other small businesses prefer to use the owner’s social security number to operate their business, but the government requires its contractors to have an Employee Identification Number (EIN). If you need help obtaining an Employee Identification Number, you may go to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and get your business EIN free of charge. Once you accomplish this list of requirements, you are now ready to explore federal contracting.
Where to find government contracts?
SAM.gov is an official U.S government website that can be used to search all open contracting opportunities. You can also see previously awarded bids on this website, which can give you an idea for preparing your proposals. The former list of Federal business Opportunities databases (FedbizOpps) is submerged into the website to easily find the contract opportunities, contract data reports, assistance listings, etc.
Contractors that have large contracts with the government provide subcontracting opportunities and they list those on SubNet. The SBA maintains a searchable database called Subnet that highlights available subcontracting opportunities from the contractors with large contracts with the government. SubNet opportunities are a great starting point if you are just getting started with government contracting and seeking experience in how agencies and businesses work together. SubNet, or the Small Business Administration Subcontracting Network, connects small businesses with contractual opportunities, according to their website.
U.S General Services Administration (GSA) is a government agency that connects government buyers and contractors. Having a contract with the GSA is called “getting onto the GSA Schedules.” GSA Schedules or also known as the Federal Supply Schedule and Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), is a long-term bid for goods and services. This also represents a large percentage of all federal management spending. With the Billions of dollars worth of purchases listed in this database every year. Obtaining a scheduling contract might help your business grow.
Should you become a government contractor?
Contracting is a big risk and can take a big amount of time on your end. However, if you make your process correctly, becoming a government contractor can be profitable. Before you bid and jump into a new risk, make sure you equip yourself with enough knowledge about the industry you want to work in and all the efforts that need to come along.
Also, you will also need to consider your competitors and the battle of the undercut prices for government contracting. There is so much competition going on government contracts so you need to decide if pursuing is right for your business. Perhaps, with all this overwhelming pressure, opportunities exist and could be the right thing for you.