Your guide to federal contracts

approvedIt is very important that federal contractors, especially those new to federal contracting, understand that only contracting officials (KO) can modify an existing contract. That means that only they can:

  • Change the scope of the work (approve additional or new work)
  • Change due dates or formats for deliverables
  • Authorize additional payments
  • Change the FAR clauses that are part of your contract (add or delete)
  • Change how you must invoice for payment

The point is that your “customer/client/PM” can’t do any of the above without going through the KO. Where businesses get in trouble is usually getting caught between wanting to provide outstanding customer service (the “rock”) and the actual scope of work in the contract (the “hard place”). It is great to expand existing work on a contract but you also want to get paid for doing that work. If you do work without… Continue reading →

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If you are a business new to the federal marketplace or an experienced company that would like to grow new business by expanding your customer base there are four elements to my “foot-in-the-door” formula that can help you achieve new business success.

First, there is the increasing use of LPTA (lowest price technically acceptable) for source selection in awarding contracts. While many contractors don’t like this method of evaluating and awarding contracts it presents opportunities to those new to federal contracting. When LPTA is used your company doesn’t have to be the most qualified or have the most relevant past performance you just have to be able to present enough capabilities to be “technically acceptable.” This is a lower threshold than for a “best value” source selection and opens the door to those vendors with less experience but who can do the job and who can sharpen their pencils to… Continue reading →

This is the fourth and final blog in a series of blogs that I will do related to the recently issued memorandum detailing the Department of Defense (DoD) Source Selection Procedures for acquisitions utilizing FAR Part 15 procedures (see links below). The purpose of this new document is to standardize the methodology and approach that DoD uses to conduct competitively negotiated source selections. The procedures defined are effective as of July 1, 2011.

The contracting official must debrief an offeror upon receipt of its written, timely request (See FAR 15.503 and 15.505). The debriefing serves to assure offerors that the Government properly evaluated their proposals and made the award determination in accordance with the RFP. Since each offeror puts considerable resources into preparing and submitting a proposal, fairness dictates that the contracting official promptly debrief offerors and explain why a proposal was excluded from the competitive range or was successful… Continue reading →

Often businesses seeking information on doing business with the federal government are referred to or discover by “Google” government agency websites. While these are usually good sources of information, especially on process questions such as how to apply for a small business certification, they are not the only sources of very valuable information and insight.

Consistently, when asked, small business owners state that the most important information they can get is from other business owners who have gone through the trials of doing business with the federal government and who can provide them with “been there, done that” knowledge and, more importantly, the aspect of “here’s what I did wrong” so that you can learn from that.

Many, many organizations provide this type of information either to their members or to the public at large. One great example is American Express who through their AMEX OPEN program provides articles, blogs,… Continue reading →

On September 14th – the Administration announced that the President is ordering all federal agencies to pay small businesses faster to spur hiring and job growth. The memorandum was issued to all executive branch departments and agencies. The Federal Government pays small businesses nearly $100 billion each year for goods and services. By taking actions that will enable these payments to be made as promptly as possible, it will improve cash flow for small businesses and provide them with a more predictable stream of resources, thereby preserving and increasing small business participation in Federal contracting.

To the extent practicable, Federal agencies shall establish a goal of paying small business
contractors within 15 days of receiving proper documentation, including an invoice for the amount due and confirmation that the goods or services have been received and accepted by the Federal Government OMB recognizes that agencies, in their implementation of this accelerated-payment… Continue reading →

Learn how your small business, women owned business, and other special certifications can capitalize on fourth-quarter spending with the federal government. Also learn about how sequestration and budget constraints have changed decision making, evaluation, and awarding of federal contracts. Now, more than ever being informed, able to anticipate and identify opportunities, being ready to respond and capture quickly and have your pricing competitive, has never been more important.

The full details can be read here, in Doña’s latest article for Government Product News, “Preparing your business for the federal year-end buying season.”

Read the full article here.

Go to the Small Business Administration (SBA) website to learn more about how to get 8(m) certified. In the mean time you should begin thinking about whether becoming a vendor to the federal government is right for you.

Are you a person who is willing to take on a whole new way of doing business?
Do you think in terms of real growth and expansion in our systems as well as opportunities?

One of the greatest areas for potential growth will be when you want to grow your FORTUNE 500 customer base. Those business processes you develop while working in the federal marketplace will enhance your abilities to grow larger more diverse customers around the country if you choose to do so. I call this the Ping Pong Effect™…the ability to bounce back into the commercial sector bigger and better than before. Go to these websites to learn more:… Continue reading →

As more businesses, especially small businesses, are looking for more opportunities in a shrinking economy the world of federal contracts is looking more and more appealing. The maze of small business certifications can be very confusing. When you add to the mix terminology that gets into the daily conversations that are incorrect, you have the perfect storm of confusion in a marketplace that can already be a challenge for the new comers. Make a point of understanding the difference between the uses of the term ‘set-aside’ versus ‘sole-source’ in federal procurement. People have the tendency to use the term set aside thinking and meaning sole source. A set-aside means that the government can determine that there are enough of one type of companies…let’s say for example ‘small’ to be able to ‘set-aside’ a requirement for only small businesses to compete for that work. It does not mean that a requirement… Continue reading →