FIRST STEPS TO GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING
Though becoming a federal contractor is not easy, it is lucrative. While you may think that only time-tested companies win contracts, businesses new to federal contracting also can — and do — win contracts. We collect below information to read and become familiar with, if you intend to become a federal contractor and bid on contracts. If you have questions about anything you read, please call us at 877-252-2700.
Lesson 1: Market Research
Determine if there is a demand for your company’s products and services in the federal market. Some socioeconomic factors, including if your business is minority-owned, women-owned, or veteran-owned, can help your business stand out. Perform additional research at FBO.gov and by using the Federal Procurement Data System.
Part 1: Registering for FBO.gov.
Part 4: Register on FPDS.gov.
Part 12: Searching the GSA Library.
Part 13: Using Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF)
Part 17: DLA Web Gateway
Part 18: Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI)
Lesson 1 Part 2: GWAC Programs
Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC) are Information Technology services procured from the General Services Administration (GSA). Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) enable federal agencies to buy cost-effective, innovative solutions for information technology (IT) requirements. GWACs provide access to IT solutions, such as systems design, software engineering, information assurance, and enterprise architecture solutions. Small business set-aside GWACs also provide socioeconomic credit.
Access to exceptionally qualified IT service providers enabling innovative solutions at competitive prices. GWACs facilitate a total integrated solution on a single task order by providing access to ancillary support, such as products and services integral and necessary to an IT effort. GWACs are pre-competed contracts offering a full range of contract types (all types of fixed-price, cost-reimbursement, labor-hour, and time-and-materials) to make your procurement planning easier. GWAC task orders can be issued in considerably less time than conventional open market procurements.
Part 6: 8a STARS II
Part 7: Alliant & Alliant Small Business
Part 11: GWAC Dashboards
Part 12: GSA’s IT Solutions Navigator
Lesson 2: Proper Registration
Before you can work with the federal government, you MUST have an active, complete, and correct System for Award Management (SAM) Registration. Completing this Registration is free, but can take upward of 20 hours to do. Third-party government registration firms like US Federal Contractor Registration charges a nominal fee to complete the Registration for its clients. Not only does this save a business time, it also ensures that the Registration will be complete, correct, and active, which lets them start bidding on contracts immediately.
Part 3: What are NAICS Codes?
Part 4: What is a CAGE Code?
Part 8: What is an MPIN?
Part 12: DSBS Registration.
Part 2: Qualifying Your Small Business for Federal Set-Asides
Part 8: Are you a Small Business?
Lesson 3: Government Marketing
You must complete your Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) profile after you’re registered in the SAM. Many vendors skip this step, since it’s optional. The DSBS links to other government databases to give agencies a better picture of your company’s capabilities. You also must launch an aggressive targeted marketing campaign, which must include the distribution of your Capabilities Statement as well as efforts to build relationships with procurement officers. Finally, apply for any applicable and relevant set-aside statuses and programs.
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. You can find subcontracting opportunities in the GSA’s Subcontracting Directory and on the SBA’s SUB-Net page. Not only are subcontracting opportunities lucrative, but they also can help a business build its reputation and gain valuable experience.
Part 1: What is Subcontracting?
Lesson 5: Bidding on Contracts
After researching the federal market, completing your SAM Registration, launching your marketing campaign, and researching possible subcontracting opportunities, it may be time to bid on your first contract. Successful contractors are patient and persistent; don’t be discouraged if your first attempt(s) don’t pan out. Building relationships with government agencies and procurement officers in your region, and even with other businesses, is key and often critical to a contractor’s success. Attend networking seminars and workshops, and reach out to procurement officers in your area.
Part 1: Basics to Bidding on Contracts.
Part 2: Bidding Strategies.
Part 3: Why did I Lose my Bid?
Lesson 6: Keeping Your Business Updated
Doesn’t matter how competitive your bid is or how close you’ve become with a procurement officer — if your SAM Registration is not current, complete, correct, and active, then you will not qualify for the contract. You also MUST update your capabilities statement each time you win a contract and/or gain experience (often referred to as past performance).
Part 1: Federal Help Desk