How government contracts work for small businesses
In recent years small businesses have been playing a much larger role in United States government contracting. In fact, many government agencies have contracts set aside for small business only. This is great news for small and disadvantaged businesses looking to grow their business by successfully completing gov contracts for small business.
Below we discuss everything you need to know about doing work with government agencies. For more specific federal contracting data, you can visit the federal government website, acquisition.gov. You can also find data on government spending, small business programs, and contracting opportunities by searching the web.
How does government contracting work?
There are a number of local and federal agencies that provide opportunities to small businesses. Many of their processes are very similar regardless if you are bidding on a municipality project, or federal contracts.
Here are the steps to follow for winning government contracts:
- Visit the contracting agencies website and get set up as a vendor. Once set up, your business qualifies to start bidding.
- Familiarize yourself with past contracts awarded to your competitors. Most of this information(not sensitive information) is available online.
- Look for open bid opportunities that involve your products and services. Another way to uncover opportunities is to visit agency outreach events to learn more about available opportunities.
- Submit your bids through the official website of the agency. This makes sure your information is transmitted securely.
- Follow up in a timely manner to any questions from contracting officer or buyer.
- Over-communicate as your completing the contract to make sure your buyer and you are on the same page.
How to secure government contracts
Every agency is a little different in how they want you to bid on the contract opportunities. It is important to follow the rules exactly how you see them online. If you miss any details or don’t follow the regulations, you will not win the contract.
For example, many federal agencies will have contracts set aside for certain companies. If a contract is set aside for disadvantaged business utilization, and you don’t qualify, do not bid on it.
Sometimes, a contracting officer will want to see proof that you are capable of funding a contract. Programs like purchase order financing and factoring will help you demonstrate that you have sufficient access to capital.
How to qualify for government contracting
Qualifying for government contracts can be easy. Most don’t have too many prerequisites or requirements because they want to be fair to the general public. The one group where you have past requirements is the general services administration. To work with a GSA schedule, you need to apply and show past experience. You can learn more on the federal government websites like www.gsa.gov.
Different types of government contracts
Contracts with federal, state and local governments
Discover the best way for businesses to find contract opportunities from federal, state, and local or municipal procurement departments. Government contracts are open to all bidders who qualify. They aren’t all easy government contracts, so be careful. Some are very involved and require expertise in a certain area.
State and Local Government Contracting
Each state and local group has a separate way to bid on a contract with government agencies. You will find many of them use services like Bidnet. Bidnet and similar services provide a portal where buyers can share their procurement needs in a central location. This helps make sure the procurement agency receives an optimal number of bids.
Federal Government Contracts
The US government is probably one of the easiest to work with. There are a number of free resources to utilize in order to secure winning bids. The rules are also uniform across each federal agency, like the assignment of claims process for factoring a federal government invoice. The federal government site to view open procurement needs is sam.gov.
PRO TIP : Build a strong relationship with the contracting officer. They will help make sure your federal contract is completed appropriately.
Resources for winning bids with the government
- Small Business Administration
- SCORE –
- PTAC – Procurement technical assistance center
- Star Funding – Learn about government contractor factoring and PO financing for your small business government sales with Star Funding in NYC.