Your guide to federal contracts

Federal Contracting

contractI just had a great discussion at a meeting concerning past performance questionnaires (PPQ) and what could be done to effect a change in this obviously inappropriate requirement.  The issue is about the typical RFP/RFQ requiring the contractor/vendor to send a past performance questionnaire to a reference (work of similar size and scope) for them to complete and send directly back to the government contracting office by a specified due date and time.  Failure to have this accomplished can make you non-compliant or, in the best case, be evaluated as a “neutral” for past performance (a sure loser).  This is the very definition of “responsibility without authority.”

I want to emphasize that this issue is not related to whether or not a company has any CPARS past performance information or whether or not the government customer has been remiss in entering CPARS data.  CPARS is a… Continue reading →

cautionOn July 9, 2013 the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) launched a government-managed reverse auction platform— reverseauctions.gsa.gov— available through the National Information Technology Commodity Program (NITCP) of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS).  GSA expects the platform to deliver increased savings for federal agencies on the most commonly purchased office products, equipment and services, while also making it easier for small businesses to compete for the government’s business.

In a reverse auction, sellers compete to win business from agencies; prices will typically decrease as the competitive auction progresses.  GSA’s new reverse auction platform reduces federal agencies’ acquisition processing time and costs, drives prices and costs down, improves transparency and collection of data, and allows for small business set-asides.

This approach to government procurement will be used with a significant number of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) as a cost-cutting process for buying commonly used products and services. … Continue reading →

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
  • 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 work. If you do work without… 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.

Doing business with the federal government could be the tale of the good, the bad and sometimes the very ugly.  However, I have found that some of those tales 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 (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 too much paperwork.

Being in business for over 30 years, I find that it very common that as your business grows and your client base grows to include large corporations and/or state and local governments you learn that everyone one of your customers has its own form of… 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”, well they buy those too. My company does landscape work; guess what, 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 www.gsa.gov). GSA is not for “start-ups”… Continue reading →