January 25, 2012 by cs
When considering how to enter the government marketplace, most business people first think about doing business directly with federal, state or local government agencies.
Contracting directly with a government entity involves many steps, and likely involves the requirement that you have years of established experience. In fact, there are many major considerations for doing government business as a prime contractor, including:
- Thorough knowledge of all applicable procurement regulations and laws.
- Registration in numerous vendor databases and keeping them up-to-date.
- Comprehensive market research to identify upcoming work.
- Skills necessary to analyze government solicitations, and then prepare detailed and responsive offers.
- Ability to secure bid, performance and payment bonds, if required.
- Ability to finance what may be a multi-million dollar job for at least 60-90 days until the first payment arrives.
- Established relationships with agency, including buyers and end-users.
- Track record of relevant experience.
If your business lacks the wherewithal to support all this, you may want to consider an alternative.
The Alternative to Doing Business Directly with the Government
For less experienced and smaller businesses, there may be a simpler, faster, and less burdensome way to break into the government market — subcontracting. The subcontracting route allows a company to do business with the government indirectly — through a prime contractor — on smaller pieces of work and involving fewer requirements. A subcontractor is answerable to a prime contractor, not the government, and the prime contractor is held responsible by the government for overall work performance.
Prime contractors are responsible for meeting all government contracting requirements. Primes must be able to finance the job, bond the job, and complete the job on schedule.
Primes also are held accountable for meeting any socio-economic small business goals associated with the contract. Because of this requirement, prime contractors working on government contracts are always looking for talented small businesses to meet their needs. For federal contracting, this involves small businesses that are owned and controlled by women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups, and veterans, including service disabled veterans. Small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones) also are preferred by prime contractors. Individual state and local governments — like the City of Albany — also have preference programs involving particular local and small business categories.
Relationships always matter, and relationships with prime contractors are no exception. Small firms seeking to do business with a large prime must develop a strategy to introduce themselves and inspire the large firm to award them a small job in order to establish a reputation. Most small firms who have satisfactorily performed work for a government prime contractor report that they have received repeat business.
Preparing To Be a Subcontractor
So, what are the starting points for pursuing the subcontracting path? Here are a few suggestions:
- Gain at least a general knowledge of the government marketplace.
- Identify any areas of the government market where you have particular insights.
- Look for work areas where you may fulfill a specialty requirement or a niche.
- Familiarize yourself with the government’s various small business preference programs and how you can qualify.
- Create and polish a presentation about your firm’s capabilities and strengths.
- Pitch your credentials to prime contractors.
With Georgia Tech’s assistance, through the Albany Small Business Procurement Program, you can get help with most of these steps. By attending our classes regularly, you’ll learn lots of details about the government market, how it works, and who the players are. We can identify all the small business preference programs and how you might qualify. We can provide you with templates for presenting your experience and expertise. We also can identify successful government prime contractors and trade shows where you can meet them.
Help That’s Available
If subcontracting is the route for you, and you want to receive our assistance, we suggest you take the following steps:
- Attend our “Introduction to Government Contracting” class or our “Fundamentals to Working with the Government” briefing. By attending either one, you’ll learn the essentials of the government marketplace. Sign up for these classes right here in Albany at http://gtpac.ecenterdirect.com/Conferences.action.
- Sign-up and become certified as an Albany Small Business. You’ll learn how to do this by attending either of the seminars listed in step #1.
- Attend our class entitled “Subcontracting with Large Prime Contractors.” You’ll gain insights into the various types of partnering arrangements possible in government contracting and how to best position yourself.
- Make a commitment to continuous learning. Even subcontracting requires keeping yourself up-to-date with developments in the government marketplace. Attend our classes regularly, and consider professional education such as the courses available through The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech.
- Request a template from us for putting together a “capabilities statement” on your company. Use this as a way for putting together an impressive presentation of your credentials. While you’re at it, ask for an “elevator speech” template so you can practice how to make an impressive introductory statement about yourself.
- Learn about small business preferences that may apply to you, by either attending periodic briefings we put on about this subject or by attending instructional workshops conducted by the Small Business Administration and by state and local governments. Once you identify your potential qualifications, apply for appropriate certifications. We will not prepare certification applications because they must reflect your direct input, but we will be glad to offer you advice and counsel along the way.
- Stay alert to upcoming government-sponsored expos, trade shows, and other forums where you can meet and impress prime contractors. An ideal way to learn about such events is by regularly visiting the Albany Small Business website; our home page regularly lists many upcoming government vendor events.
- Familiarize yourself with government small business specialists. These officials are housed inside each federal agency’s major offices, and there are many small business advocates with state and local government units, too. If a small business specialist is impressed with your capabilities, chances are they can arrange for a presentation of your credentials to prime contractors. You can learn more about small business specialists, their role, and how to identify them by clicking here.
- Research who’s winning government contracts. You can find tips for doing this at: http://gtpac.org/2010/06/three-tips-for-researching-contract-awardees-and-probable-bidders. Also, you’ll want to obtain lists of government prime contractors to contact. Each month, Georgia Tech compiles a list of all Georgia businesses that have been awarded federal contracts, and we publish various other government contract lists on our web site. (For example, details on the largest 2011 federal awardees appears here.) These are the the businesses you want to target for subcontracting possibilities.
The Albany Small Business Procurement Program can help you become a successful government subcontractor. You may find that subcontracting is just the spot you want in the overall government marketplace. Or, you may find that subcontracting represents the “foot in the door” to moving on to prime contracting with the government.
December 29, 2011 by cs
Local general contractors, especially small businesses, are encouraged to attend a Jan. 11, 2012 pre-bid conference being held to discuss an upcoming bid opportunity for bus shelter improvements at approximately seven (7) sites throughout the City of Albany.
The pre-bid conference will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Jan. 11th in Suite 260 of the City’s Procurement Office, located at 222 Pine Avenue, Albany , GA 31701. All parties interested in learning more about this bid opportunity, including possible subcontracting opportunities, are encouraged to attend.
Work to be performed under this contract includes clearing, grubbing, flat concrete work, shelter relocation, and related work.
Sealed bids for this work will be accepted until 2:30 p.m. on January 19, 2012.
More details on this upcoming opportunity may be found by clicking on this link: Bus Shelter Improvements – Bid Reference No. 12-037.
February 16, 2011 by ei2admin
How would you like to have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a buyer in charge of purchasing for the State of Georgia?
How about the chance to meet with someone in charge of contracting from the University System of Georgia?
In addition, would you like to have the chance to describe your business capabilities to contracting representatives representing the City of Albany, the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the City of Albany, the Marine Corps Command, the IRS, the General Services Administration, and the federal departments of Commerce, Interior, and Juvenile Justice?
Well, you can have a chance to meet with all of these people by attending the “Albany Small Business Program Speed Partnering” event on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011, from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm at the Albany Civic Center.
The event is free, but pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Simply click here to register and then hit the “Sign Up” button.
Along with 15-minute one-on-one meetings with buyers and contracting officials, attendees will have a chance to attend briefings on each of these topics:
- Business Communications, Elevator Pitches and Capability Statements
- Reading and Responding to Bid Solicitations
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting
- Government Market Research
- SBA’s New Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Certification Program
The featured luncheon speaker for this very special day is Ms. Pat Hanes, Regional Director of the Atlanta National Enterprise Center with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. She will be talking about what it takes to successfully sell within both the government and commercial sectors.
February 15, 2011 by ei2admin
Ever heard of “speed dating” where couples are matched for short periods of time to see if the chemistry is right?
Well, through a unique event on February 22, the same principle is being applied – except it involves matches between local businesses, government agncies, and prime contractors.
If you want the opportunity to meet with buyers from local, state and federal agencies, you can’t afford to miss this event!
On Tuesday, February 22nd, the Albany Civic Center is the place to put your best marketing techniques to work. You’ll get a chance to meet with — and present your capabilities to — decision-makers and buyers from representatives of local, state, and federal government agencies, including the City of Albany, the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport, the University System of Georgia, the state’s Dept. of Administrative Services, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the Albany Marine Corps Logistics Command, the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, the General Services Administration, and the Dept. of Juvenile Justice — and more!
Lunch will be provided, and featured speakers also will present on topics including Business Communications, Bid Preparations, Conducting Market Research, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting.
This event also will provide special instruction for Albany-area small businesses interested in doing business with the City of Albany.
Coffee and informal networking begins at 8:00 am. The day’s program begins at 9:00 am and runs until 3:00 pm.
This event is completely free, so register now! Simply click here to register and then hit the “Sign Up” button.
October 6, 2010 by ei2admin
You may have heard that it is essential to register your business in CCR — Central Contractor Registration — if you want to pursue a government contract. That’s true.
But registering in CCR with incorrect or incomplete information can be worse than not registering at all. That’s why it is very important to “get ready” for CCR registration by thoroughly preparing yourself.
The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) provides advice to Georgia businesses practically every day on the subject of proper CCR registration. In the course of providing this assistance, our Procurement Counselors review many existing registrations. Based on our reviews, GTPAC estimates than as many as 20 percent of the 600,000 firms presently registered in CCR have mistakes in their records. The mistakes range from misspelled words to empty data fields, to incomplete entries, to selection of incorrect procurement codes, and more. As a result, these vendors miss-out on government contract opportunities because they are screened-out for not exhibiting attention-to-detail or — because of incomplete data – they cannot be found in the first place.
CCR is the federal government’s primary source for identifying potential vendors. Every federal agency, both civilian and miltary, utilize the CCR database. Many federal contract officers initially determine whether a contract should be set-aside exclusively for 8(a), HUBZone, or service-disabled small businesses based on firms identifying themselves with these designations in CCR. Prime contractors also use CCR to identify potential subcontractors and suppliers, with emphasis on the various small business socio-economic categories. Even state and local governments consult CCR to find potential vendors who are interested in the government marketplace. Businesses and non-profits must be registered in CCR in order to receive federal payments and disbursements against contracts and grants.
Are you beginning to see CCR as a tool to market yourself and not just as a task to quickly get out of the way?
There are several steps you should take before trying to register in CCR. Among these steps are:
- Obtaining a TIN/EIN for your business from the IRS. (Even if your business is a sole proprietorship, it’s important — because of identity-theft considerations — that you do not operate your business using your Social Security number.)
- Obtaining a DUNS number for your business. (Don’t pay anyone for this; a DUNS number can be obtained through a 10-minute phone call.)
- Researching and identifying the PSC/FSC and NAICS codes most appropriate to your business. (Every product and service is classified by these federal numbering systems, and it’s essential that you identify the codes that are applicable to your business.)
- Determining whether your business meets the SBA’s small business size standard. (Virtually every federal contract valued at less than $100,000 is awarded to small businesses, so you need to know if you qualify.)
- Writing a brief capabilities statement. (You must have a grammatically-correct, short description of what your company does.)
- Identifying “key words” associated with the nature of your business. (These words should be crafted from a government buyer’s perspective; in other words, think about what the government might ”call” what it is you do or sell.)
- Making a list of business references. (Be prepared to provide company name, contact person, dollar value, and date range of work.)
These are not all of the preparatory steps, but they are the most important ones.
If you have questions or need help with any aspect of CCR, please consider taking advantage of GTPAC’s services in a comprehensive way. GTPAC provides assistance to help Georgia firms get ready as well as find and pursue contracting opportunities in federal, state, and local government markets. This assistance is provided at no charge. Complete details on how to access GTPAC’s services can be found on our ABOUT US page.
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