Your guide to federal contracts

It is very easy to get caught up with the day to day tasks and worrisome new events these days. We should not forget to stay attuned to what is happening in the world of acquisition and hear from those that are integral in making policy.

Here are two FREE events coming up in August:

Defense Contracting Approaches & Techniques-What Works, What Doesn’t, and What’s Needed?
Tuesday Aug. 16, 9:00am – 11:45am.
Meyera Oberndorf Library Auditorium

Register at
Subject matter experts and speakers include:

  1. Mr. Elliott Branch, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Acquisition and Procurement (Confirmed)
  2. Mr. Alan Chvotkin, Executive Vice-President and Counsel, Professional Services Counsel (Confirmed)
  3. Mr. Michael Canales, Office of the Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (Confirmed)
  4. Mr. Terrence Murphy, Government Contracts and Construction Group, Kaufman and Canoles (Confirmed)
  5. Mr. Damien Walsh, Legal Advisor, Detachment Joint Staff Legal Counsel (Confirmed)
  6. Ms. Dona Storey, President GOVtips… Continue reading →

This is the time of year when government contractors are optimistically looking for end of the fiscal year “sweep-up” dollars…..NOT SO FAST! There might be a competing priority.

This year contractors need to be proactive in reviewing their existing contracts, going over every detail, to anticipate and plan for possible (if not likely) task order delays and even contract terminations. This proactive approach is critical for small businesses and conducting this contract cautionary review or inventory could be a “make or break” action.

Why especially this year? Yes, this is something you should do every year, but with the pending budget challenges or outright cuts you must analyze what you are selling to the government and what are the possible budget impacts to your current contracts. Remember the federal government can modify or terminate any contract at any time just for their convenience.

Terry Murphy, a partner with the Kaufman… Continue reading →

The Department of Defense (DoD) began a Mentor Protégé (M-P) Pilot Program when Senators Nunn and Perry came together in the 90’s to address the excuses of the large Prime contractors who said they could not find enough capable small business to satisfy the requirements of mandatory small business subcontracting plans. The M-P program has seen its ups and downs through the years especially in the area of budgets. Even so, several years after the DoD M-P program became a recognized success many other agencies developed their own version of a mentor protégé program. The biggest difference is that the DoD Program had the reimbursable component which was very appealing to the large prime contractors.

Whether it is a formal agreement facilitated by a government agency or just a well developed informal relationship, Mentor Protégé programs are a benefit to both large and small firms in competition for contract awards.… Continue reading →

Those of us that work with the government as our customer may not be thinking about the impact our employees can have on our business when they are being social. We are in a new society where people young and often times not so young are not thinking of the impact of their communications in the social networking ‘mind-field’ they may be playing in. As government contractors we must be vigilant in reminding them of the art form called ‘discretion’. It may seem harmless that they go on a rant about their least favorite customer or the frustration they had the previous week on a particular contract incident. Sharing their thoughts with some of their best ‘buds’ may not be the smartest thing when posting on FACEBOOK or any other social means of communicating. A little reminder in a round-table lunch and learn may keep compliance and discretion in the… Continue reading →

Is regulatory red-tape strangling small business?

I believe the answer is, and has been, “yes!” and this is unfortunately supported by the latest statistics on federal government regulations.

According to the Small Business Administration (SBA) the current annual cost to businesses to be compliant with federal regulations is $1.75 Trillion. While some regulation is necessary this is money that businesses don’t put into expanding or hiring additional employees. In addition, the number of new regulations under the current administration is growing at a rate 50% higher than in the past. There have been over 500 new laws added in just the last two years. This has resulted in the cost of new regulations increasing from $10.5B in 2008 to $26.5B in 2010. What all this boils down to is that if you are a small business with fewer than 20 employees it’s costing you about $10K per employee just to… Continue reading →

Many businesses shy away from doing business with the federal government and some of the most cited reasons are: “too much paperwork”; “all the red tape”; “too many rules and regulations”; and, “to may intrusive compliance issues.” While many of these concerns are reasonable I believe that it is worth the “pain” to “play” in the federal marketplace.

When you think about it, it is a responsible action for the government to be concerned how tax payer dollars are spent. But can this due diligence oversight become invasive and too burdensome? In the beginning most compliance requirements dealt with the contractor’s behavior, ethics or how they paid their employees. We all want contractors who are honest and give value for the tax dollars they earn. The government also has a legitimate concern that certain classifications of employees (service employees) are paid in accordance with federal guidelines.

Now, however, these basic… Continue reading →

U.S. Small Business Administration published a package of final rules revising regulations to strengthen its 8(a) Business Development program to better ensure that the benefits flow to the intended recipients and help prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

The rules cover a variety of areas of the program, ranging from clarifications on determining economic disadvantage to requirements on Joint Ventures (JV) and the Mentor-Protégé (M-P) program. Some of the key elements with added clarity for the JV and M-P programs of the 8(a) program that the revised regulations affect include:

• Joint Ventures – requiring that the 8(a) firm must perform 40 percent of the work of each 8(a) joint venture contract that is awarded, including those awarded under a Mentor/Protégé agreement, to ensure that these companies are able to build capacity

  • With the new 8(a) regulations, we also have new regulations for Joint Ventures under 13 C.F.R. 121.103(h) that affect… Continue reading →

Are you out there thinking that since my company doesn’t build or repair ships, doesn’t do IT work, and doesn’t have military subject matter experts to provide to the government I can’t possibly sell in the federal marketplace? If so, don’t think that way! The federal government buys everything! But wait, you say, my company sells organic cotton grocery totes; they buy those. My company does landscape work; they buy that, also.

The real question is, “How do I find out if the federal government buys the product or service I sell?” It’s easy and in doing this research you can actually learn much more about selling to the government. One way, but not the only way, is to look at what the government buys using a contracting process call a “GSA Schedule” (to learn more about GSA go to GSA is not for “start-ups” but if you… Continue reading →

Doing business with the federal government could be the tale of the good, the bad and sometimes the very ugly but some of those tales I have found are built on myths passed along by those will little experiential knowledge. I find that many of those who have never considered working with the federal government, which is the world’s biggest customer, do so based on what I consider to be myths. I’d like to address two of the most common myths that I find out floating around out there.

Myth #1

I don’t do business with the federal government because there’s so much paperwork involved.

After being in business for nearly 31 years I find that as any business grows and as your customers grow in size and location across the nation every customer has its own form of internal bureaucracy. Every customer has a way that they want you… Continue reading →

Go the 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.

SBA Releases Final Women-Owned Small… Continue reading →