Government contracts can be “…very lucrative – or you wouldn’t see so many companies going after them,” says Forbes. When a government contract is given (You’ll hear the word “awarded” often, regarding these government business opportunities.) to private companies that can deliver goods and/or perform services under that contract.
The competition to win government contracts is tough; you have to bid against other deserving, veteran owned companies and the temptation to go low is almost overpowering because once you get a government contract, you’re in. Surely there will be more to come, once you’ve proven your value, right? Not necessarily. That’s why it’s important to bid honestly, understand your company’s available resources and profit requirements to complete the job on time and on budget with the highest quality.
How to Find Government Contracts
You won’t need a field compass to find these valued jobs; many of them are posted online. Once you submit a bid and present yourself to the government agency, it helps to have memberships in organizations like the Veteran Owned Business Roundtable (VOBRT). It means you are part of an organization with fellow Veteran Owned Businesses (VOB’s) who share your mission; an organization that advocates for you and works directly with government agencies, helping them to meet their VOB procurement goals. Agencies such as the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB), pay attention to such details and offer service-disabled veterans up to a 10% pricing preference.
The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), a national network of centers located in major cities funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, offers these suggestions for finding federal contracts:
- Federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) often have a pre-solicitation list. You can take advantage of this list and use it to see what the future needs of the agency are and determine how your company can meet those needs.
- Federal Agency Recurring Procurement Forecasts (Acquisition.gov) is your connection to government agencies and information about their jobs and solicitation regulations.
- “Federal agencies don’t limit their purchases to things like airplane parts,” says Forbes. Successful contracts are flexible enough to adapt their product or service to meet federal requirements.
- More than 22,000 opportunities are listed on a very versatile website, Federal Business Opportunities (fbo.gov).
- Register your business on the sam.gov website (formerly the Central Contract Registry (CCR). You can’t bid if you’re not listed on this portal. Make sure to update your information often and include all of your certifications.
Set-Asides and Sole Sourcing for Veteran Owned Businesses
In addition to what the MBDA suggests, if your company is planning to bid on government contracts, it is extremely beneficial to make sure your business is verified by the Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE). Doing so will allow your business to bid on set-aside and sole source contracts as a Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB). Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business (SDVOSB).
Stay tuned as more information on the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Veterans First Contracting Program will be available in future blog posts.
Stay in Front of Your Competitors
Your VOBRT membership includes access to any of the programs offered exclusively to VOBRT members, and a company listing in the Business Directory for Corporate Members to find you. Our corporate members include many well-known large corporations, such as Ford Motor Company and many other government agencies, that have pledged their support to the VOBRT’s mission and the programs that assist member VOB’s in their pursuit of contracting opportunities .