SBA: Recommendations and Advice for Your New Contract


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recommends that along with having a working knowledge of government contracting procedures, you should be aware of the following:

  • The government conducts its business through authorized agents called contracting officers. Only a contracting officer has authority to bind the government, unless you are otherwise advised in writing. However, even contracting officers have limits on their authority, so do not hesitate to make sure of the authority of the person with whom you are dealing.
  • Government procurement has historically been used as a vehicle for advancing various national, social, and economic objectives. As a government contractor, you will be required to comply with the labor standards statutes (Service Contract Act, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, etc.) and other statutes advancing national socio-economic objectives, except for certain contracts where such legislation is specifically stated as nonapplicable.
  • You should become familiar with the contract provisions protecting the integrity of the government procurement process. These provisions include the “officials not to benefit” clause, the “anti-kickback” provisions, the “gratuities” clause, and more.
  • Disputes between you and the contracting officer may occur under the contract. Federal contracts contain a clause setting forth procedures to resolve disputes. If the contracting officer issues a decision that is not satisfactory to you, you must make a timely appeal to the Board of Contracts Appeal or the decision becomes final.
  • Do not attempt to build something bigger, better, or different than called for by the contract. If you do, it may be too big or too heavy or may not fit and the government will not accept it. Simply comply with the contract terms, particularly the specifications.
  • If your contract requires production, establish a production control schedule to assure that you will have the right materials in-house at the right time to meet delivery requirements. Make sure to place any subcontracts promptly and schedule delivery of subcontracted items carefully to avoid over- or under-stocking. If it appears you will not meet your schedule, notify the administration office immediately to obtain assistance. Failure to deliver on time gives the government the right to cancel your contract, with possibly disastrous results to you.
  • Being e-commerce-savvy is very important in doing business with the Federal Government. For example, if you want to do business with the Department of Defense, you must be able to invoice and receive payments electronically. Therefore, small business owners interested in doing business with the federal government should master electronic commerce.
Filed under: Government Contracting TipsTagged with: , ,