So You Want a Federal Contract…
Posted by espressodog on May 19, 2010
If you own a business, you should consider bellying up to the federal trough. There is money to be made. The U.S. government is the world’s largest buyer of products and services. Purchases by military and civilian installations amount to nearly $500 billion a year and include everything from complex space vehicles to janitorial services. In 2008, women-entrepreneurs benefited from $14.7 billion dollars in Federal contracts but that represents only 3.4% of all government buys. We are working on that.
No one said getting a federal contract is easy. So follow these simple tips to get started or improve your chances of benefiting from your tax dollars at work.
Tips for Navigating the Federal Contracting Process
- Define your business and products using a DUNS number and NAICS code. For the Department of Defense you will also need to know your Federal Supply Group or Class code.
- Determine if you are “small” by SBA standards.
- Register your firm in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Develop a crisp and informative profile describing your business and products for the CCR. Don’t be shy about getting experienced help to prepare your CCR profile.
- Find out about available contracts. Government agencies are required to advertise all planned purchases over $25,000 in Federal Business Opportunities (the FBO). SBA maintains, SUB-Net, a searchable database of available subcontract opportunities.
- Market directly to agencies. Research and identify agencies that buy what you sell. Attend procurement conferences and matchmaking events and talk with government buyers and experts in the contracting field.
- Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, located at various locations around the country, help businesses understand and succeed in government contracting markets.
- Women’s Business Centers assist women in achieving their dreams by helping them to start and run successful businesses.
- SBA has over 60 district offices located throughout the country to help you start and grow your business.
- There are more than 1,000 Small Business Development Centers locations around the country. SBDC’s provide management assistance to current and prospective small business owners.
- SCORE is a powerful source of free and confidential small business advice to help build your business. More than 10,000 SCORE volunteers are available to share their wisdom and lessons learned in business.
- The Small Business Training Network is a powerful virtual campus.