How Do I Get a Government Contract?
The law requires that 23% of all federal prime contract dollars be awarded to small businesses, so how does a small business compete for federal contracts?
First, familiarize yourself with the rules for federal contracting. Federal contracts are very different from commercial contracts, and government contracts generally have much longer lead times. For example, the reporting requirements are very different and small business set-aside contracts will limit the amount you can subcontract, the types of products you can provide, and how you interact with other firms. These rules sometimes help small businesses: if two or more small businesses are prepared to compete for a contract, and can meet the government’s requirements at a fair and reasonable price, the government will limit competition to only small businesses. We suggest you take a look at www.acquisition.gov, which hosts the Federal Acquisition Regulations. Part of your research should involve finding out which agencies buy the goods or services your small business provides. This can be done by looking at the Federal Business Opportunities website at www.fbo.gov, at each agency’s acquisition forecast on their individual websites, at the Federal Procurement Data Base at https://www.fpds.gov, and at the GSA schedules website at www.gsaadvantage.gov.
Next, once you decide that government contracting is right for your business, you will need to register to do business with the government. To do so, you start with the Central Contractor Registration at www.ccr.gov, which will guide you through the process. As a small business, CCR will lead you to register with the Small Business Administration. If you qualify for the Small Disadvantaged Business, 8(a), HUBZone, Women-Owned, or Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business programs, there are additional requirements that you can learn about at www.sba.gov or www.vetbiz.gov. All firms must submit representations and certifications at orca.bpn.gov.
To monitor and apply for contracts, you will use www.fbo.gov, where the government announces requirements of over $25,000. As you are looking to market your business to the government, you will find that you have a great advocate in the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses Utilization, or OSDBUs. These offices are in every federal agency, and you can find their contact information at www.osdbu.gov. Another great resource are the Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which help with the technical aspects of government contracting. You can search for PTACs at http://aptac-us.org/new/.
Small Business Committee Staff tip for a successful application process: Short and simple- make sure you submit ALL of the information required when first submitting your application, most problems within the application process stem from omission of necessary information which will result in automatic disqualification of any bid.
Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions on government contracting for your business.