Opportunities In Federal Contracting For Small Businesses

Can a Small Business really hope to compete for federal government contracts?

The Federal Government is required to reward a certain amount of its contract to small businesses. In fact, last year the Federal government awarded 25% of its contracts to small businesses.

In 2018 the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the Federal government awarded a total of $105.7 Billion worth of contracts for goods and services to small businesses. This marks the first time that more than $100 billion dollars have been awarded to small businesses and marks a 5 million dollar increase from the previous year.

The following facts are also very enlightening:

  • In FY18, the federal government exceeded the service-disabled-veteran-owned small business and small disadvantaged business goals and the prime contract dollar awards in all small business categories increased from previous years.
  • The federal government also exceeded its subcontract goals for awards to small businesses and women-owned small businesses and awarded more than $79 billion in subcontracts to all small businesses.

Small Businesses Are Given Special Consideration When It Comes To Government Contracts

In many markets, small businesses are often outcompeted by larger organizations that often have access to almost unlimited resources. This set aside actually might increase a small business’s chances of winning a lucrative bid.

The federal government is required to set aside at least 23 percent of its total spending specifically for small businesses. Several small businesses have made a fortune just on federal government contract awards.

Think About Subcontracting

Subcontracting with a prime contractor rather than the government means that you do not have to worry about the strict rules and regulations that are part of working directly with the government. This is because the subcontractor is actually answerable to the prime contractor, not the government. Luckily, prime contractors are always on the lookout for companies that can help them complete these important government projects. Subcontracting has many advantages for less experienced businesses.

Special Programs

Help is available from special small business programs that encourage participation by small businesses and help these businesses navigate the government contracting maze This includes small businesses owned by minority and traditionally disadvantaged groups. These programs, which are administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), assist small businesses on how to obtain both large business and government procurements.

Here is a list of websites that are provided by the government to help small businesses obtain contracting information.

FedBizOpps (Federal Business Opportunities): This is the spot for government procurement opportunities of $25,000 or more. Here, buyers for the government are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps and commercial companies looking to do business with the government are able to find opportunities solicited by the entire federal contracting community. (http://www.fbo.gov)

Small Business Administration (SBA): This site has a great deal of information pertaining to small businesses as well as SBA-Net, a gateway to opportunities, and a great place to network. It has a direct connection to the CCR database, which is fast becoming the sole database used by government buyers to locate potential small business contractors.

The Federal Government Has Government Personnel That Are Strictly Utilized to Help Small Businesses Be More Competitive In Securing Government Contracts

Here are some examples:

  • SBA Procurement Center Representative (PCR): Procurement Center Representatives are often located at a major government buying office, even though they technically work for the Small Business Administration. They will identify items and services that could be produced or provided by small businesses and try to get them “set aside” for small businesses, which means that only small businesses can bid for the contracts. 
  • Competition Advocate: This person is responsible for promoting full and open competition at high management levels in the major buying offices. They are supposed to challenge overly restrictive statements of work and contract clauses that can prove to be burdensome. They also try to expand competition for items by offering challenges to requirements that are not deemed necessary for the performance or essential physical characteristics. 
  • Small Business Specialists (SBS): The law requires that every government buying location must have a Small Business Specialist. These specialists work specifically with small businesses to help them to business with that office. Larger government offices might have full staff while smaller offices might only have one part-time employee assigned to this role. Major government buying offices have full-time staff, while smaller offices have a part-time person assigned to that task. 
  • SBA Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR): Commercial Marketing Representatives keep track of large companies doing work for their departments. These representatives are often the go-to person for fantastic subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. 

Government Funding

As we have stated before, the United States government is one of the wealthiest and most powerful clients in the world. However, no one has unlimited resources. Administrations change and that can often mean a shift in funding priorities. For example, if the government is into energy conservation, that might mean a lot of contracts for those who develop energy alternatives. If a new administration comes into power that values different things, then the funding for alternative energy initiatives might be decreased.

One of the best ways to combat this is by supporting politicians that understand and promote your type of business. It is important to keep an eye on the political atmosphere and make sure that your voice is heard.

Department Of Defense

The Department of Defense is one of the largest consumers of government contracts in the world? Many companies think that this agency is only contracting with giant companies that supply tanks and missiles.

Remember, the Department of Defense supplies the Army, Navy, Airforce, and many other defense agencies. They are very open to working with small businesses and are fully funded for the rest of this year. In fact, they try to reward at least 20% of their contract to Small businesses. Companies can go to https://business.defense.gov/Small-Business/DoD-Small-Business-Offices/ to find out more information about contracting and subcontracting opportunities. 

SAM Directory Can Help

SAM stands for System Award Management.

To do any business with the federal government, you must register your business in the System for Award Management directory. The government will not hire any type of business (large or small) that has not registered in the SAM directory.

Remember, registering for the SAM directory gives a business automatic entry into the extremely lucrative marketplace of the federal government. It is also a crucial step for applying for rewarding government grants that can help your business reach its full potential.  Let us, the professionals at SAM Directory, make sure that you do all that is needed to not miss out on this important opportunity. We will make certain that your application is processed quickly and efficiently so you can start being a federal contractor as soon as possible. We remove this hassle so you can go about the important mission of running your company. Stay tuned for this next article in this series.