Getting a contract from the government is capable of entirely changing the trajectory of any business. But even more so if the company is small or relatively new. However, to get a federal contract, you have to find national bids first. Doing a simple search will lead you to results that will take too long to review. What can you do to make this process better? We have a few tips.
- Register yourself in SAM
While this is something that goes without saying, if you are new to the field of government contracting, you should get yourself registered in the System for Award Management or SAM, as it is called. This is because without being registered on SAM, you cannot make any federal bids.
There is no cost for registering on SAM. It is pretty straightforward, too, although a bit time-consuming. Do not pay any site money for getting you registered on SAM.
- The DSBS
DSBS or Dynamic Small Business Search is a government database that government agencies use to scout for lesser-known or smaller-scale contractors to award contracts to. However, this database is public for you to use as well. When you start a federal contracting business, you may need a partnership with another company to expand your output and field of eligibility.
You can use the DSBS database to search for other small businesses that you can partner with. The SBA regularly maintains the DSBS database. They use the same information you provide while registering in SAM. Therefore, the more information you give while writing and the more accurate and updated it is, the better you will be.
As you can probably guess, SAM is a pretty important avenue for any company looking to get a federal contract. When you go to the website beta.SAM.gov, you will get a list of all the active opportunities for doing business with the US government. All the contracts with a value of more than USD 25000 are legally required to be listed for everyone to see.
- Check out the potential projects of various agencies.
Most government agencies have a list of projects forecasted for the future, named the ‘wish list.’ This means that if and when they get the money from the federal government, they would then invest that money in these projects. Some various contracts and projects never come to fruition and are never set up for federal bids.
But by keeping an eye over such wish lists and using some good analysis of the government’s spending patterns, you can be better prepared for a project that is still in the pipeline. Various websites help you keep track of these wish lists. Some of them even give you the option of searching the wish lists by the agency.
- Getting on a GSA Schedule
The US General Services Administration or the GSA is a critical government agency for any company, big or small, looking to work with the government. Whether you want to provide your services to the government or sell your products to it, you are on track for more contracts and federal bids if you can secure a deal with the GSA. When you get on the GSA schedule, when you get an agreement with the GSA, it means you are now a company approved to do federal business.
- Opportunities as a subcontractor
When you are a small company, you may not have the entire skill set or the resources to handle a government contract alone. Therefore, it is no big deal to get a subcontracting offer from a more prominent company with a direct government contract. If you are wondering whether it will help you or not, it does. Any experience of working with the US government is counted for in your application, even if it is a subcontractor.
You can go to a database called SubNet to scour through opportunities for subcontracting, which more extensive, enormous companies post. There is a directory for subcontracting opportunities, which the GSA regularly publishes as well. This is especially beneficial for small companies looking to work with big contractors.
- The PTAC
All states in the USA have a PTAC (a Procurement Technical Assistance Center) service. This service matches the bids they get with your specifications and profile, thereby saving you hundreds of person-hours. All states must provide this service either without any charge or at a meager cost.
The world of government contracting is fiercely competitive, but it is so big that it has something in it for everyone. The initiation can be challenging, but there is no looking back once you put one foot in the door.