WELCOME TO THE FIRST STEPS TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING GUIDE!
The United States Government is the world’s largest consumer, buying billions of dollars of products and services from private businesses. There’s a lot to do and learn before you start doing business with the Federal Government and it can seem frustrating and confusing to a new, inexperienced vendor. The Federal Market can seem daunting to business just getting started in government contracting.
Competition can be fierce and it often seems like the same companies keep winning contracts. The reality is that newcomers do win contracts and find success; however they usually use different strategies as opposed to larger or corporate outfits. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled some of the most useful information into this guide to get you started on the right track. Click the links below to view detailed blog posts about each of the topics covered.
Lesson 1: Market Research
First, you need to determine if there is a demand for your company’s products and services in the federal market. The quickest, easiest and cheapest way to do this is by requesting a free Government Contracting Profitability Assessment. This will give you a quick snapshot of how much money the federal government spends in your industry, which agencies are buying and which of your competitors they’re buying the most from. There are even socioeconomic factors that can make your business stand out. Specific types of small business factors that would stand out would be if your business is minority owned, women owned, or veteran owned. You can perform some additional research by checking out FBO.gov and the Federal Procurement Data System.
Part 1: Registering for FBO.gov.
Part 3: Register on FPDS.gov.
Part 7: Searching the GSA Library.
Lesson 2: Proper Registration
In order to do business with the federal government, whether it’s contracts or grants, you must complete SAM registration. There are two ways to complete this step. You can take courses to learn how to complete the SAM registration correctly which can take as much as 20 hours to complete and then file your SAM registration on your own.
However, if you’re in a rush to get registered and you want to be certain of an accurate registration, you can have a case manager assigned by a third party firm to complete and file your registration on your behalf.An experienced third party can complete your SAM registration quickly and a case manager knows how to avoid common SAM registration mistakes. Using a third party firm may have other perks as well, such as allowing you to qualify for the Verified Vendor Seal.
Part 7: DSBS Registration.
Advanced Agency Procurement Databases
Part 2: Using Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF)
Part 2: Qualifying Your Small Business for Federal Set-Asides
Part 1: Download your Free Federal Set-Aside Packet
Part 1: Do you Qualify for 8(a)?
Part 5: Are you a Small Business?
Lesson 3: Government Marketing
Don’t forget to complete your Dynamic Small Business Search profile after you’re registered! Many vendors skip over this step since it’s optional, but this may lead to buyers skipping over your bid! The DSBS links to other government databases to give agencies a better picture of your company’s capabilities. It is also important to enact a marketing campaign to generate business. While some vendors do get lucky and receive a call with little effort on their part, this is definitely the exception. An effective marketing campaign should at the minimum include the creation and distribution of your company’s capabilities statement to start building relationships with procurement specialists. Finally, don’t forget to apply for set-aside status and other programs your company may qualify for.
Part 2: Drafting a Capabilities Statement.
Part 3: Defining a Target Market.
Part 4: The Importance of Branding.
Lesson 4: Sub-Contracting
If you’re new to government contracting or a smaller firm, don’t overlook sub-contracting and teaming opportunities. Prime contractors who have contracts exceeding $500,000 are required by law to offer subcontracting opportunities to small businesses. So look into finding subcontracting opportunities at the GSA’s Subcontracting Directory and the SBA’s SUB-Net page. Not only can these be just as lucrative for vendors, but they can also help you build your company’s reputation, experience and network to help you land bigger prime contracts down the road.
Part 1: What is Subcontracting?
Lesson 5: Bidding on Contracts
Once you’ve researched the Federal market, completed registration, marketed your business and explored subcontracting opportunities, you’re finally ready to submit a bid on your first contract! Remember that successful contractors are patient and persistent; don’t be discouraged if your first attempts don’t pan out. It is very important that you build relationships with the government agencies in your region and even with other businesses. Attend networking seminars, small business and government workshops, and reach out one-on-one to procurement officers in your area. It will take some time, research and work, but the results will be well worth it. But with the right attitude and proactive approach you will be awarded that federal contract in no time!
Part 1: Basics to Bidding on Contracts.
Part 2: Bidding Strategies.
Part 3: Why did I Lose my Bid?