Learn more about government contracting, bidding and opportunities.
The Small Business Set-Aside Program, Very Small Business Pilot Program, and Small Business R Funding Programs are some of the more important federal programs that are designed to benefit small businesses.
The government is generally required to pay you for work on a government contract within 30 days, and it usually requires the use of electronic fund transfers.
If you contract with the government, you must meet certain quality standards which will vary based on the product or service that you are providing. International standards may apply and U.S. quality assurance standards are part of contract terminology. A Certificate of Conformance, instead of source inspection, may be permitted at the discretion of the contracting officer. And, the government makes use of industry-specific standards created in the private sector. Subcontractors, as well as prime contractors, must adhere to government-mandated quality standards.
When the government solicitation you are responding to is an Invitation for Bid, writing your proposal will basically consist of filling out the forms that the government provides. However, when the solicitation is a negotiated solicitation, such as a Request for Proposal or Request for Quote, you will need to create a proposal.
Once you have reviewed the bid, received the specs, gotten pricing history, and priced out the items or services, you are ready to put it all together, write your proposal and submit it. We provide a line-by-line explanation of how to complete the most common government contracting forms to assist you.
What comes next after you bid? A look at how the evaluation process works and the factors that could influence who will win the award. If your business is awarded the contract, we provide some pointers on what to do immediately upon receiving a contract.
Assess the opportunities for small businesses doing business as a subcontractor for a prime contractor with the government. Being a subcontractor permits you to participate in the government contracting arena without dealing directly with the government, since you'll be working for the primary contractor, and not the government directly.
The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting Program is designed to stimulate economic development and create jobs in urban and rural communities. The program provides contracting opportunities to small businesses located in, and hiring employees from, Historically Underutilized Business Zones. If you and your business qualify, it could help you break into the business of government contracting.
There are a variety of special federal programs and initiatives designed to benefit small businesses in the government contracting process. In addition, help is available from a variety of public and private sources, including counseling services.
If the government makes a decision you don't agree with regarding a government contract, you have alternatives. A contractor can use disputes, protests and other forms of conflict resolution to settle the issue.
Almost every federal contract contains a clause allowing termination for convenience or default. Termination for convenience allows the federal government to terminate all or part of a contract for its convenience, while termination for default means the government doesn't think you're performing adequately.
A formal quality assurance program not only helps you meet the government's contracting requirements, it also bolsters your position that you have the ability to meet the needs of the government with your product or service.
Correctly pricing the goods or services you offer to the government means striking a balance between being competitive while generating a profit.
Once you have found a government contract that you might want to bid on, you should get the bid package and then ascertain the type of contract and bidding process involved. There are different types of contract arrangements in use, so be sure you understand exactly what you have to do to fulfill your obligations if you are awarded the contract. This can be difficult, because different buying offices using different terminology.
There are numerous way to find information that can lead to a bidding opportunity. Among them are monitor FedBizOpps, get included on solicitation mailing lists, search SUB-Net, use electronic bulletin boards, check agency bid boards, submit an unsolicited proposal, get registered on qualification lists, and sign up with SBAExchange.
The term "alphabet soup" comes to mind when dealing with the government's contracting process. Knowing how to interpret all of the acronyms is essential, even if it at first seems to be a tedious undertaking.
In order to be eligible for government contracts, your business should register with ORCA--the Online Representations and Certifications Application--a web-based system within the federal government. Be prepared to provide highly detailed information about your business.
The General Services Administration buys commercial-type and general-purpose items and services for all government agencies. It uses a variety of contract methods, including Multiple Award Schedules and GSA Contract Schedules.
Government contracting rules, regulations and procedures dictate how you do business with the government. The two most important laws you need to be aware of are FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulations) and FASA (Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act). However, there are numerous other laws that have an impact on government contracting that you should also keep in mind.
Government contracting is done electronically, through two types of electronic means; e-commerce websites and EDI, which stands for Electronic Data Interchange.
To get government subcontracting opportunities, you'll need to take the actions necessary to become a qualified subcontractor by following the appropriate procedural steps to get yourself recognized as a legitimate player in the government contracting field. You can improve your business's chances to become a subcontractor for a prime contractor by getting listed as an approved or preferred lender. Also, consider joining a flexible network of manufacturers.
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