Being a government contractor can be extremely lucrative. However, you should have a strong understanding of government procedures and processes. We will name some things that all contractors should be aware of in order to be successful.
Government procurement has always been a part of advancing many national, economic, and social objectives. Government contractors must comply with the rules and regulations of labor standard statutes. This will include the Service Contract Act, Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act, and other statutory requirements that further socio-economic objectives, except for certain contracts where such legislation is specifically stated as non-applicable.
The United States Government Is A Very Powerful Client With Deep Pockets
The Federal government usually spends around 500 billion dollars a year on goods and services. This makes the U.S. government an extremely attractive client. There are few other organizations with this type of spending power and clout.
The government also tends to buy goods and services in bulk. If your business has the infrastructure to handle large orders, then the government can help you grow substantially at an accelerated pace.
Government agencies also buy goods and services in large quantities. Large orders can be a double-edged sword for small businesses. However, if managed correctly, they can help you grow substantially and rapidly.
Be Strategic In Which Agencies That You Target
Covid-19 had not had a major impact on government spending. In 2020, there have been over 1.55 trillion dollars spent on just Covid response efforts. This increase in spending has actually made the budgets for 2021 higher for several agencies. The Department of Defense has increased its budget by 800 million dollars when compared to 2020. NASA has requested a 12 percent increase in its agency funding and the Veteran Administration agencies have asked for 14 percent more money in 2021. It is a great idea to strategically target agencies that are experiencing this type of budget boom in order to secure government contracts.
Streamlining and Modernizing Information Technology
Did you know that the Internal Revenue Service, the Veterans Affairs Department, Defense Department, and the Transportation Department are operating on computer systems that are over 50 years old? Some are still using 1970 IBM mainframe computers that store information on floppy disks!
This has caused the government to pass the Modernizing Government Technology Act, also known as the MGT. The MGT has authorized that 100 hundred million dollars be allocated to modernizing the federal government Information Technology systems in 2018. Then another 150 million dollars were added to the MGT in 2019. The Consolidated Appropriations Act also then added billions of dollars to upgrade the government’s I.T. systems and update infrastructure.
So small businesses that can help the government reduce redundancies, save money, and streamline government technology have a great chance of obtaining very profitable government contracts in 2020 and beyond.
Do Your Research
Once you have selected some agencies that are in need of your goods and services, it is very important to research your customers. Luckily, nowadays you can find out a lot about an organization online.
At the end of the day, the United States government is a customer just like any other. However, this customer has deep pockets and unlimited needs. A small business can cater to the government by following a strategy in which the customer’s needs always come first. Identify what the government agency’s pain points are and then offer them your innovative solutions to their problems. This type of discipline always wins big points with the government. Here are a couple of examples of how you can find the information you need in order to win lucrative government contracts:
- Inquire about the vendor Outreach Sessions and when will they be held
- Inquire how your company’s products/services could help with the agency’s missions
- Request meetings with Agency Program managers leading the contract requirements you’re pursuing
If you would like to do additional research, you can also check www.fbo.gov, an online listing of government contracts that detail all contracts with a value exceeding $25,000. Another available resource is www.usaspending.gov, a site that details how government money is spent, what agency is issuing awards, and who the federal government is buying from.
The Capability Statement
Capability statements are essential marketing tools. These written documents state your firm’s abilities in a clear and compact manner. This should include a company overview, past performance, and how you can fill a need for the agency. To stand out from other businesses, be sure to tailor your statement to specifically match the project and/or agency needs.
Do Not Give Up!
At some point, the process can be a little overwhelming. You must keep in mind that the reward will definitely be worth all the effort. According to the American Express OPEN survey, 57% of businesses said their revenue has grown significantly because of government contracting, and at an average rate of 61%. However, business owners should keep in mind there is no secret formula for securing a contract.
Make Sure You Have Your CAGE Code (Commercial and Government Entity)
This code is five characters and unique to your business. It’s basically your ID code, and government agencies will identify your business using this code. It is a bit like a social security number for your business. If your business includes more than one facility, then you will need multiple CAGE codes. Each location must have its own unique code, and each location must be registered separately with SAM.
Register For SAM
SAM stands for System Award Management.
In order to do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management. The government will not hire any type of business that has not registered in the SAM directory.
We have an article on our site, Everything You Need to Know About SAM for Small Businesses, that gives you important information about this process.
As a smart entrepreneur, you have already used our site to register in the SAM directory. Congratulations on taking this important first step to become a government contractor.