GovTips.biz

Your guide to federal contracts

The Obama administration has proposed combining the functions and staff of the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency.

This proposed restructuring is being pitched as a way to ease the regulatory burden on businesses and a savings $3 billion over 10 years is being claimed. That said, there are some trade groups who are concerned about the execution of the proposed restructuring and they are concerned that the move could strip resources from entrepreneurs rather than reinforce the needs of small businesses.

Such a massive reorganization will face difficulties getting approved in an election year and Congress may be less likely to approve the idea because several of the affected agencies currently report to different Congressional committees.

Many small business groups are concerned that the restructuring will take resources away from small-business… Continue reading →

It 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
• ANYTHING TO DO WITH YOUR CONTRACT!

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… Continue reading →

I was recently asked to provide my thoughts for a Washington Post article titled, Small federal contractors feeling the pinch of reduced government spending, concerning how contracting “batting averages” have declined for both primes and subcontractors. American Express Open provided data that showed that the success rates, or “batting averages” for prime contractors bidding on government work have declined in 2008-2010, from 2007-2009. The decline has been greater for subcontractors than for primes.

As all small businesses know, providing services for the federal government has always been hard work, and now it’s getting even harder. Small business owners are having less success in securing federal government contracts even as they go after contracts more aggressively, according to data from a new report released this week by American Express OPEN, which polled 740 small business federal contractors in an online survey.

According to the survey, active small business contractors reported that… Continue reading →

In May of 2006, President Bush signed into law the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act (TIPRA) (Public Law No. 109-222). The measure was a combination of small tax provisions, including extension of capital gains tax rates, increased expensing provisions for small businesses and some alternative minimum tax relief. To offset these revenue-negative provisions it also contained sixteen “revenue offset” provisions to make the bill revenue neutral.

While most of the provisions of the bill were debated in both the House and Senate, there was a provision that emerged from the conference committee that had never been part of the original bills and never discussed in hearings on the chamber floors. Section 511 mandates that federal, state, and local governments withhold 3 percent of their payments for goods and services (the “government withholding regime”) starting in 2013. Assumptions are that it was added into the bill to help reconcile the… Continue reading →

During tough and challenging business times your main goal becomes survival….staying alive! At this time there are three key areas of your business that you must examine and focus on in order to ensure your survival. These areas are:

  • Make core competency your Brand
  • Business Processes
  • Marketing-go to Market Strategy…not just selling

Your core competency must be your brand and can be defined in the following areas. Intangibles… what are you known for? I hope one intangible is being known as an ethical business. Do your customers trust you and is your word your bond? What are you known for? On-time delivery or low cost, high quality? What do you and your customers get as their return on investing with you?

Another key to survival is to make sure that you have all your critical business processes defined and documented. You need to ensure that your business data is secure… Continue reading →

The Obama administration has proposed changing how the government sets limits on the reimbursement of salaries of contractor companies’ senior executives.

The current formula for reimbursement sets the cap using a survey of commercial compensation but the administration wants to tie the cap to the salaries of senior-most federal officials – specifically, Executive Schedule Level I, which currently pay $200,000 a year

Congress will have to pass new legislation to make the change.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy is legally required to determine the amount of compensation, such as salaries and bonuses that the government will reimburse for, based on available surveys on executive pay at publicly traded U.S. companies with more than $50 million in annual sales

In 2010, the OFPP allowed reimbursements for contractors’ top five executives to reach a total of $693,951. The Obama administration now is concerned that, based on surveys reimbursements could reach $750,000… Continue reading →

This is the third 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 evaluation and decision process portion of these Procedures covers three areas that are routinely evaluated in order to make a contract award. The government’s source selection evaluation board will conduct an in-depth review of each proposal against the factors and sub-factors established in the solicitation, and assign evaluation ratings. These three main areas of evaluation are:

• Cost or Price Evaluation. Cost or price to the Government shall be evaluated in every source selection. The level of detail of… Continue reading →

This is the second 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 the link 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 DoD Source Selection Procedures describes two processes that may be used to develop the strategies for competitive acquisitions. The two processes are:

• Tradeoff Source Selection Process (see FAR 15.101-1 link below). This process permits a tradeoff non-cost factors and cost/price and allows the government to make an award to other than the lowest priced proposal or make an award to other than the highest technically rated proposal in order to make a “best value” award. In addition,… Continue reading →

This is the first 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 the link 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. These procedures are of critical importance to any business that is currently or is planning on providing goods or services to the military Services and agencies under the DoD structure. Some of the highlights of these procedures are:

• They require the use of standardized rating criteria and descriptions for the “technical” and “past performance” factors.
• There is a new requirement that a Source Selection Advisory Council (SSAC) be appointed on source selections greater than $100M. The SSAC… Continue reading →