In the pursuit of doing more business, VARS are often on the lookout for Federal, State and Local government contracts. Indeed, the federal government is a valuable source of business opportunities. This is because the government regularly buys hardware, software and services through various contracts such as NASA SEWP and FEDSIM.
With the U.S. government rolling out contracts worth millions of dollars for IT products and services with private companies, it is a great opportunity for VARS to increase their revenue. Apart from large enterprises, small and medium sized VARS have a fair chance to win these contracts. However, as a VAR, you need to follow a specific procedure in order to get government contracts.
Here’s what VARS can do to get Federal and state contracts:
Evaluate your Business Goals and Contract Requirements
You need to understand what the government is looking for and are you in a position to meet their needs. Before competing for government contracts, evaluate your business goals and find out whether you can comply with their requirements. In some cases, you may have to customize your products and services to meet federal requirements. If you fail to deliver after awarding a contract, you are unlikely to get another government contract. So ask yourself whether you have the capacity to fulfill contractual obligations.
There are different state and Federal contract opportunities available and each one will have their own specific requirements. For instance, some federal contracts require you to do business through ecommerce while other want invoice electronically. However, Ecommerce for federal contracts is usually not a mandatory requirement. Also, you may have to incorporate a Contract management software into your business in order to handle these contracts efficiently. So you need to identify the available contracts that can be considered for business. Check this link to know more…
Before you respond to bidding opportunities, you need to build credibility and trust with the government agencies. No matter how attractive your bid proposal is, you are unlikely to win the contract if the bid reviewers have never heard about your company. You need to establish relationship of trust and confidence beforehand with your prospective clients. You need to employ various government and federal marketing strategies such as inbound marketing to build awareness about the products and services that you offer.
Get the D-U-N-S Number
D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) is a unique business identifier that establishes your legitimacy to bid for government contracts. It is a 9 digit number that VARS need to obtain in order to do business with the U.S. Government. Every physical location of the company that include headquarter and branches will be given this identification number. Once you apply for the number online, you usually get it within 48 hours. Assigned and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet services to a firm, the D-U-N-S number is the first step towards becoming a government contractor. Check the ‘Dun & Bradstreet’ website in order to get the D-U-N-S number.
Register your Business with the System of Award Management (SAM)
SAM is a government owned website wherein all firms have to register if they plan to do business with the US government. Government agencies often search the SAM database to look for prospective vendors. So if you are interested in getting government contracts, make sure you fill all the required data on that site. The registration on the site www.sam.gov is absolutely free. After submitting all the necessary details (such as DUNS Number, Business Size, Type of Products/Services your Company Offers) on the site, it will take around 3 weeks to process your application.
Determine the Correct NAICS Code for your Business
NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes are used to categorize your business into an industry standard, which can help the government to assess the products and services that you are selling. These codes have been created by the US Census Bureau in order to classify businesses by sectors, subsectors, and industries. Knowing your NAICS code is very important for doing business with the government.
Search for Bid Opportunities
The government communicates about their procurement opportunities through their official sites. There are sites like fbo.gov which can help to find federal government bid opportunities. Contracting opportunities that are more than $25, 000 are listed on this site. Information about any contract launched by the government is readily available on these sites. You may also get information about planned contracts in the near future. You can also go to govcb.com to identify bid opportunities from state and local agencies.
Attend Agency or Industry Specific Government Events
Attending industry specific government events can be an effective way to connect with agency decision-makers. Such events will enable you to know whether there are any contract openings available with agencies. These events give you the opportunity to interact with government officers who take crucial contract decisions. Actively participating in industry specific events or pre-bidding meetings will help to develop the right contacts, who can give invaluable advice and guidance about government contracts.
Find Out Agencies that Fail to Fulfill their Small-Business Contracting Goals
As per the decision taken by the federal government, around 23% of contracts should go to small businesses. This is an annual goal established up by each federal agency. However, many times government agencies fall short of contract goals. So you need to look for agencies that haven’t fulfilled this criteria. Check this site to know about goals set by the federal agencies.
Work as a Sub-contractor to a Prime Vendor
Usually, government agencies choose VARS that have a good experience in dealing with state & federal contract. This can be achieved by working under a large federal contractor. Working as a sub-contractor to a prime vendor will give you that much needed technical knowledge of handling government contracts. So team up with companies that are already doing business with the government. This will surely help you to become a recognized prime vendor with government agencies in the long run. You can check SBA’s SUB-NET website to know about potential sub-contracting opportunities with prime vendors.