When a business owner either begins the process of the SAM registration or renewal/migration, It is important the business owner reviews all the government provided documentation and allocate enough time to ensure proper data input and product code placement It is estimated that at least 35 percent of the 900,000 firms presently registered in SAM have errors in their records. As a result, these vendors miss-out on government contract opportunities for several reasons. A few examples include: screened-out for non-compliance, incomplete information, the services or products they provide cannot be accurately identified by government buyers. So once again it is critical to one’s success to have a complete and compliant registration to obtain federal contracts.
The U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the federal marketplace. A small, disadvantaged business is any firm that is owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Participants can receive sole-source contracts, up to a ceiling of $3 million for goods and services and $5 million for manufacturing. While SBA helps 8(a) firms build their competitive and institutional know-how, the agency also encourages them to participate in competitive acquisitions.
How to Win non-bid contracts? Networking is Key
Federal agencies awarded $115.2 billion in non-bid contracts in fiscal 2012, an 8.9 percent increase from $105.8 billion in 2009, even as total contract spending decreased by 5 percent during the period. So with those statistics it is wise to begin knowing your market and getting familiar with the federal processes and to develop a strong network with the contracting officers/procurement officers. Contracting officers do not typically award non-bid contracts as an initial contract with the federal government. However depending on the service/product needed, it is possible. Most non-bid contracts are not posted, so it is important to attend federal symposiums as much as possible.
First and foremost, any business looking to provide a product or service on a sub contractual basis, must be registered in SAM. This even applies to a majority of state contracts since many of the state contracts are federally funded. Subcontracting provides many opportunities to small business because it gives them a chance to win/perform federal contracts on a small scale and to also provide them with past performance. Being in the right databases and knowing where to find subcontracting is key. For example, many Primary Vendors will use the DSBS (Dynamic Small Business System) to locate companies in their area to assist in the mull-million dollar contracts
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) was created by President Jimmy Carters in 1979. It’s mission is to support and prepare for any natural disasters utilizing their full resources. Many of the resources include the vendors registered to accept federal contracts and grants. The agency provides state and local governments with experts in specialized fields and funding for rebuilding efforts and relief funds for infrastructure by directing individuals to access low interest loans, in conjunction with the SBA (Small Business Administration). Many of the FEMA contracts were awarded to small businesses for the Hurricane Sandy Relief/Assistance. Around 2.1 Billion Dollars has been awarded to vendors and state governments for relief. It is imperative in order to obtain FEMA contracts that you are registered directly with FEMA and in the proper regional databases.
In order to apply for a grant, you and/or your organization must first complete the SAM Registration and the Grants.gov registration process. Every year, 26 federal agencies award billions of dollars in grants to local, state and federal agencies, housing agencies, non-profit organizations and educational institutions, not individuals. Keep in mind if your SAM registration is not properly done, you will not be awarded such funds or assigned non-compliant to receive grants.
Effective Marketing to Contracting/Procurement officers
You have positioned your existing or start-up company for doing business with the federal government. You have acquired a D&B Number, completed your SAM Registration to include determination of your North American Industrial Classification (NAICS) Codes, applied for an SDB certification, if applicable, researched your HUB Zone status and developed an initial capability statement for marketing purposes. You are embarking on the utilization of FBO, the gateway for federal government agencies advertising prospective contracts on the Web. Now is the time to think through your marketing strategy and the various venues for contracting with the federal government. This can be a daunting task trying to position yourself for government contracts. (Talk more about the struggles that exist here and more on how we can help!) Feel free to contact one of our federal contract consultants to discuss a defined strategy in obtaining bid and non-bid contracts