If you are a contractor, no matter the part of the world you live in, some of the best business deals (contracts) you would get are definitely from the government of your country. It could be the local government, state government, or even the federal government (central government); the bottom line is that any contract you get from any arm of government is most likely going to fetch you huge profits compare to what you will get from the private sector.
The Federal Government sublets contracts worth over 500 billion dollars annually to private companies both big and small; you can skyrocket your company’s revenue by getting contracts from the Federal Government, since we know that most Federal Government contracts are supplies needed in bulk quantities.
Though the process of securing a Federal Government can take a long time and can be stressful because of the many protocols involved; there are still some easier ways to go about it. In brief, this article will talk about how you can secure your first Federal Government contract; touching subtopics like things you need to bid for a Federal Government contract, how to bid for the contract and further tips to help you get future contracts with Uncle Sam.
3 Things You Need to Bid for a Federal Government Contract
It is important to state that getting a contract from the government does not come easy for obvious reasons. If you bid for contract from any of the government agencies, there are loads of other people (companies) you will be contending with, plus the bureaucracy that you must have to scale through. Before you make the move to bid a Federal Government contract, you have to put the following things in place;
- Have an Up and Running Business-: The Federal Government may not be willing to give out contracts to businesses or companies that are yet to be established; they always need the best hands to handle whatever contract that is assignment to them. So the first thing you need is a business or an already established company before you talk about biding for a Federal Government contract.
- Strong Financial Base-: The Federal Government contracts are assigned to companies that have the financial capacity to execute such contracts since most contracts awarded by the Federal Government do not come with an upfront payment. Aside having a strong financial base, you also have to upgrade your company to meet the government standards before you start bidding on contracts, because thorough investigations are done to make sure that companies that are to be awarded Federal Government contracts are up to date. In line with meeting up to the required standard, you have to put the following in place; an up to date account system for auditing by government officials, a workable business plan and a business insurance to protect your business in the course of executing the contract.
- Get All Required Licenses and Certifications-: There are some registrations and licenses you need to acquire before you start placing bids on Federal Government contracts. Some of them include: Data Universal Numbering System identification number (DUNS); this number is obtained for free and its very necessary you get it before you start placing your first bid, Tax ID number, Federal Supply Codes, Product Service Code and North America Industry Classification System Codes.
With all these in place, I will talk about how to place bid on Federal Government contracts.
How to Successfully Bid on Government Contracts
a. Register on Central Contractor Registration Database-: This is the first step you need to take when bidding for a Federal Government contract especially if this is your first time of doing so. You need to go to Central Contractors Registration (CCR) and create a profile for your business. Try to be as thorough as you can while creating your business profile including services your company handle and its capacity. Having a business profile at CCR makes it easier for the procurement officers to get to your company if there is an available contract that suits the services your company offer.
b. Research for Available Opportunities-: The next is for you to search for available contracts and business opportunities that match the services your company offer; the best place to get such information is via www.fbo.gov. Federal business opportunities are always listed on the site, including requirements for bidding on the contracts.
c. Submit your Tender-: After you have found a federal business opportunity that fits the services your company offer, the next step is to submit your tender. Your tender should contain details about your company, services you offer, how you entail to carry out the contract if it is awarded to your company and finally your prize quote. If you get confused on the issue of preparing your tender, you can view tenders submitted by companies offering services similar with yours and note how they detailed their tenders. Finally, remember to follow the require process outline in the contract to submit your tender.
Tips to Help You Get Future Government Contracts
No doubt winning contracts from the government requires more than your competence, you would need other soft skills to become successful in bidding for contracts from the government of your country. If you have done your home work and you know you have the capacity to execute any government contract awarded to you, then below are 10 tips for successfully bidding for government contracts:
1. Start Small-: Don’t ever back out because you think that there is no place for small businesses to bid for Federal Government contracts, you can start by bidding for small contracts, even for less than $10,000. After you have executed few contracts or you have a better capital base, you can go for bigger contracts.
2. Study Government Policy on Awarding Contract to Contractors
Now that you have chosen to become a government contractor, then you need to sit back to study all you could possibly lay your hands on as regards government’s policy when it comes to awarding contracts to contractors. You would be amazed that the reason most people fail to secure contracts from the government could be linked to their ignorance on government’s policy on awarding contracts to contractors.
3. Incorporate Your Company
Of course you should be aware that all government deals with a company are registered under the corporate affairs commission. As a matter of fact if your company / business are not registered, you might not even have access any grant or loan from the government of your country. So, if you know that your aim of starting a business is to bid for contracts from the government of your country, then you should ensure that you incorporate your company.
4. Acquire Every Relevant Certification, License and Permit in Your Industry
It is very important to acquire every relevant certification, license and permits that is required in your industry before bidding for any contracts from the government. Your certificate, license and permits gives you advantage over your competitors who don’t have. For example; if you are bidding to supply drugs to government hospitals, part of what they might look out for before awarding you the contract is your pharmacy certificate, your practicing license and other permits required to function in that field.
5. Pay Your Tax as at When Due-: If you don’t have a good tax record, then you need not bother yourself to bid for any contract from the government of your country. As a matter of fact, part of the screening process for a contractor bidding for government contracts is their tax record. For this reason, ensure that you have paid your tax up to date before submitting your bid or else you won’t get the contract.
6. Be Competent at What You Do-: You just have to exhibit high level of competence in your field when given the opportunity to do so. When bidding for contracts, make it a point of duty to always refer the committee in charge of screening bids to your past jobs (that is if you have done a brilliant job in time past) it will always be to your advantage to do so.
Despite the fact that you will be mobilized when a government contract is awarded to you, in some cases you might have to use your money to complete the job before you will be paid. As a matter of fact, before contracts can be awarded to any company, the government will ensure that they do a background check to be sure the company can successfully execute the project and part of what the look at for are your years of experience and your capital base.
In case you don’t know this, lack of good presentation skills have deprived loads of contractors from securing juicy contracts from the government despite the fact that they are highly competent. No matter what you know and what you can do, if you can’t sell it to people, you will have a challenge winning them over as your client. So ensure that you perfect your presentation skills before bidding for contracts from the government.
9. Never Make Negative Comments about the Government in Power
In this era of social media revolution where loads of people make negative comments about the government without caution, you just have to be careful about the comments you make. The truth is that it is not only HR that investigates people’s online records before employing them; government official does same before awarding contracts. So if you know you would be bidding for contracts from the government, then you should watch what you say about the government.
10. Strive to Be the First to Submit a Bid
Once you see an advert requesting for people to bid for any government’s job, ensure that you are prompt in preparing and submitting your bid. You never can tell the first set of people to submit their bids might just be the people that will be considered for the next phase.
11. Build Synergy-: You can join with another company that offer similar services with business to bid for Federal contracts. This provides you the power of synergy and increases your chances of securing the contract.
12. Ensure Timely Delivery-: Make sure that you deliver the contract as meticulous as possible if the contract is awarded to your company at the end of the bidding period. Executing contract awards in a half hazard manner will diminish your chances of getting other contracts in the future.
13. Network with Procurement Officers-: Most times, these Federal Government contracts are being awarded by procurement officers on behalf of the federal government. You can increase you chances of getting better contracts in the future by developing relationships with procurement officers; and they will sure notify you when a federal business opportunity that matches your services is available.
Your interpersonal skills and networking skills will often come to bare when bidding for a contract from the government. The truth is that competence alone can’t secure you a contract from the government – but the people you know in government will always work to favor you. For instance; if two people that have same level of qualifications and competence bid for a job, and one of them has a relationship with someone in the government agency they are bidding for contract from, definitely he stands a greater chance of getting the contract.
How to Handle the Issue of Kickbacks When Bidding for Government Contracts
Are you a contractor? Have you been faced with the challenge of offering kickbacks to government official whenever you are awarded a contract? If YES, then here’s how to handle the issue of kickbacks when bidding for government contracts.
Depending on the country you live in, it is no longer news that government officials request for kickbacks from contractors before awarding those contracts or at the point of releasing fund for them to execute the contract they are awarded. Although, this phenomenon is common in third world countries, it is still being practiced in developed world. As a matter of fact, it has become a norm in most countries and there is nothing you can do about it.
So, if you intend becoming a government contractor, then you must be ready to battle this challenge. But if you already a government contractor and you still haven’t gotten a better handle to this challenge, then you need to pay more attention to this article, because you might just stumble on the key that will help handle this challenge. Now let us quickly go through 5 ways of handling the issue of kickbacks when bidding for government contracts:
I. Be Highly Profession in Your Approach
One of the basic ways of handling the issue of kickbacks when bidding for a government contracts is to be highly professional in your approach. You should ensure that you exhibit high level professionalism when being approached for a kickback from any government official when you are awarded a contract, never talk down on them and ensure that you listen to them and ask them to give you time to respond to their demands.
II. Study the Terrain
Part of what you need to do to effectively handle the issue of kickbacks when bidding for government contract is to study the terrain to know what is obtainable. If it is a common practice that you must give kickbacks or agree to give kickbacks before you can be granted any contract from the government, then you just have to play along with them. There is a saying that goes thus “when you are in Rome, you should behave like a Roman”. So, it wouldn’t be out of place if you keep to the tradition of the government office you are bidding for contract from.
III. Learn to Negotiate
The truth is that as a contractor looking towards working for the government, you can hardly escape the challenge of giving kickbacks to government officials. If you know that it is inevitable to avoid giving kickbacks before you can be awarded a contract from the government or before fund assigned to the project can be released to you to execute the project you are awarded, then you must choose to negotiate with them.
It is always advisable not to give in to all the demands from any government officials requesting for kickbacks from you, if you do, then the next time you bid for contract from them, the probability of increasing their demands (kickbacks) might be high.
For instance; if any government official requests for 30 percent from the amount the contract (project) are awarded for before releasing the fund, don’t just yield to their demand, negotiate to your advantage – you can offer them 15 percent. Whatever you decide to give as a kickback must not affect the fund required to execute the project from start to finish, and also you should be able to make profit.
IV. Never Threaten Any Government Official
No matter the part of the world you live in and what is obtainable there, it is very important not to threaten any government official whenever they approach you for kickback before you are awarded a contract or before funds are released to you to execute the project you are awarded.
The truth is that before any government official approaches you for a kickback, they would have done their homework in such a way that even if you take them to court, you will struggle to come up with any evidence to nail them. As a matter of fact, if you are dealing with an official that is well experienced in collecting kickbacks from contractors, they are likely going to turn the case on you whenever you threaten them. So even if you are not pleased by their demands, ensure that you do not result to threat to scare them.
V. If You Must Give Kickbacks, Let Them Know That You Doing it willingly
No doubt you can hardly escape the challenge of giving kickbacks to government officials as a contractor bidding for contracts from the government. If you are in a condition where you can’t escape giving kickbacks, just let them know that you are just appreciating their efforts that is why you will be giving them whatever amount you choose to give to them. This approach will work best for you if you have been working for the government for a while, but if you are a newbie, then you should look for better ways of letting them know that you do not appreciate giving kickbacks but you just have to do it.
Lastly, it is important to state that it is not every contractor that succumbs to the request of giving kickbacks to government officials, as a matter of fact; some contractors will rather choose to loose the contract than give kickbacks. This is so because they wouldn’t want anything to affect their integrity. But if you choose to give kickbacks, ensure that it won’t be used against you in the future, that is why it is important to let whoever is requesting for kickback from you know that you are doing it willingly not because you are scared of losing the contract.
In conclusion, I have listed every details and steps you need to bid on a Federal Government contract; mentioning issues like things you need to put in place before you start placing your bids, how to go about searching for opportunities and submission of tenders, and finally, tips to help you secure other contracts in the future.
From this article, you can now see that bidding and securing Federal Government contracts is not as difficult as many people think; you can take the next step now and visit www.fbo.gov to check out federal business opportunities your business can handle.