SCORE Tip of the Week: How to Contract With the Federal Government
Steve Feinman of SCORE Michigan offers tips for how to secure federal contracts for your small business.
If you’re selling it, the U.S. government is buying it. In 2012, the federal government procured over $90 billion of goods and services from small businesses. If you’re ready to sell your products and services to the federal government, here are some tips to get started.
1) Visit a PTAC. The Defense Logistics Agency administers Procurement Technical Assistance Centers
(PTACs). PTACs offer a variety of services, at no charge or minimal fees, for companies that want to do business with federal, state and local governments. They will help you register, research past contracts and determine whether your company is ready to do business with the government. They also send out information regarding small business set-aside opportunities.
2) Visit SCORE. SCORE mentors can work with you to provide guidance for developing applicable business, marketing and financial plans to help you sell to the federal government.
3) Get smart. Do some research to become familiar with the federal acquisition environment
by checking out relevant government and commercial websites such as the Small Business Administration (SBA), federal agency sites and publications such as Washington Technology. Each department or agency has its own procurement eccentricities, but all are guided by the Federal Acquisition Regulations or similar rules such as the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations.
4) Get registered. You cannot do business with the federal government unless you’re registered with the System for Award Management (SAM). Make sure to review the instructions before you start and have your company documents, Employer Identification Number and business checking account information handy.
5) Get your feet wet. Explore the Federal Business Opportunity site, where many opportunities will be announced and listed. You can do searches and set up a search agent to notify you of opportunities. Find procurement opportunities, download the documents and study them so you get a sense of what you’ll be required to do to bid and do the work.