So you’ve registered for small business as a new potential contractor in SAM.GOV, and received SBA certification for your small business. Now what? Do you sit by idly and hope and pray that contracts start pouring in? No! Unfortunately, getting your SBA certification is only the start and does mean that contractors will start lining up at your front door, eager to work with you. Once you have your certification, you’ve got to start marketing your business to find opportunities, bid on projects, and win jobs. Keep reading to learn how to do that.
Start as a Subcontractor
Your best bet to start winning jobs with prime contractors is to start small by applying to be a subcontractor with prime contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, etc.
For the first 18-24 months of your career as a government contractor, you should plan to get some experience under your belt as a subcontractor for these corporations before you can start marketing yourself to the federal government.
Find Opportunities Online
There are a lot of opportunities and databases online to help you get started working as a subcontractor. Check out the following places regularly to find opportunities that suit your skillset:
- Subcontracting Network database
- General Services Administration’s Subcontracting Directory for Small Businesses
- Department of Defense Subcontracting Opportunity Directory
- SBA’s Directory of Federal Government Prime Contractors with a Subcontracting Plan
Develop Relationships and a Subcontracting Plan for Prime Contractors
To market your small business as a credible agency to do work with, you should develop a subcontracting plan, as some prime contractors will require this to work with them.
In this proposal, you must self-certify as small for the NAICS code on the solicitation. This is a critically important step in the application process because if you fail to do this, your subcontract won’t count toward the prime contractor’s small business subcontracting goals, and there will be less incentive for them to work with you. It’s also important to note that the federal government requires all prime contractors to have subcontracting plans for contracts over $700,000. So, getting ahead of the game and drawing up your plan is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal when bidding for jobs.
Make First Contact
Whether you’ve found a project that interests you on one of the boards mentioned above or you’d like to reach out “cold” to discuss subcontracting opportunities, your first impression is everything.
In your introductory email, keep these tips in mind:
- Make sure you address who you are writing with their name and title (avoid writing ‘to whom it may concern’ and triple-check all spelling, especially for names and titles.
- Be specific and concise. Stay away from broad language and lengthy emails. Remember, you’re just making initial contact. All of the nitty-gritty details can come later.
- Reference any existing or upcoming contracts that you’re interested in and give a few bullet points of why you’re qualified/how you can help.
- Include your contact information, NAICS codes, and any contract vehicles you’re currently on.
Create a Professional Contracting Website
Your website may be a potential contractor’s first glance at what you have to offer. For this reason, it’s essential to ensure it’s professionally designed, fast, and optimized for mobile viewing. Make sure your website details who you are, what you do, your experience, certification, NAICS codes, and any testimonials about your past performance. Your website does not have to be flashy and 10,000 pages long, but it is essential that you have one and that it’s polished and filled with relevant information. You MUST capture the six C’s in federal contracting
If you’re not sure where to start with your website design, we can help. Learn more about building your web presence in our blog post here.
Promote Your Brand the Rafael Marrero & Company Way!
Join Rafael Marrero & Company to achieve your federal branding goals and make the connections you need to land contracts with prime contractors. Discover how our team of bilingual professionals at Rafael Marrero & Company can work with your small business. Connect with our professionals today to create achievable branding and marketing goals. We look forward to helping your small business land contracts with prime contractors. Today’s call may unlock tomorrow’s growth potential for your firm!