Doing business in the private sector is similar to doing business with the IRS, but federal contracting has some specific requirements you should be aware of.
Rafael Marrero & Company can help small businesses that are new to federal contracting. Follow the next steps to get started.
Step 1: Start Small
- Get Registered in sam.gov – The United States federal government buys billions of dollar’s worth of goods in what is known as a micro-purchases (e.g. purchases valued under $3,000). These smaller contracts can be a great way to ‘cut your teeth’ in the federal marketplace. Did you know that 50% of all federal contractor’s initial contract is for less than $3,000?
- Register with Large Prime Contractors – Small businesses can move into the federal contracting space by working for large prime contractors (e.g.- Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, CACI, SAIC, etc.) by offering to help on contracts the primes are performing. Often the best way to do this is to identify a niche your business can in fact service for primes.
- Connect with OSDBU (Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization) to allow them to send letters of introduction to federal agencies that are a good fit for your product or services.
- GSA Schedule Contracting – Simplified Acquisition Procedure (SAP Contracts) are the methods prescribed in FAR Part 13 for purchasing supplies or services. These federal contracts are between $3,000-$150,000. Many of the contracts in this range are set-aside for small business so they make a great place for medium sized businesses to start. They are designed for relatively simple Government requirements, and their use is subject to designated dollar thresholds. Items on GSA Contracts are available directly for purchases off GSA Advantage (online shopping bazaar), or GSA eBuy (e.g.- U.S. Federal government’s online selective bidding system).
Step 2: Know and ‘Own’ Your Market!
- Look up your competitors – As a Small business owner you can learn a lot about what is going on within your industry in the federal marketplace by using several different federal data systems. Looking up your competitors on GSA E-library and then running their names in usaspending.gov and fpds.gov will yield what contracts they have. This information is all public record!
- Use Agency forecasting tools to look at agency by agency forecasting data. This can allow a firm to make early contact with federal procurement officers on larger contracts.
- Once a firm wins procurements for amounts valued over $150,000 their contract performance is then uploaded into PPIRS (Past Performance Information Retrieval System) that grants all agencies access to how a firm performed on a project at another agency. High ratings will bolster a firm’s position and increases rates a firm can charge and still win a bid.
Step 3: Cultivate Relationships and Learn Your Alphabet
- Secure a Face-to-Face: For firms that do business with the federal government, the federal government is on average their largest client. These firms invest effort in meeting procurement personnel for large contracts face-to-face. The improved situational awareness you receive from these face-to-face sessions is priceless, and will yield an advantage come award time.
- Learn your Alphabet! – Most of these contracts are open for a limited window and often times a reasonably quick response is necessary. Getting on the correct Small Business IDIQ/GWAC (Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity Government Wide Acquisition Contract) can increase a firm’s revenue by millions of dollars. Larger firms often target smaller firms on certain IDIQs or GWACS for JV’s (Joint Ventures). Some of these contracts are only available to GSA Schedule holders while for other IDIQs/GWACS having the schedule greatly reduces the paperwork required in providing pricing in the award process.
Rafael Marrero & Company is a full-service GSA Consultancy offering a wide range of government contract acquisition and management services. Our firm and founders have years of experience in helping businesses wanting to obtain and maintain their GSA Schedule Contracts. As one the nation’s leading, nationally certified Minority owned GSA Schedule specialists, our goal is simple—to maximize the sales of our customers within the federal market.