Government Contracts

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The Government-Established Competitive Range

The government will, before discussions, establish a competitive range and document the decision and the rationale in a Pre-negotiation BCM. Why does the government do this? If it does not properly establish a competitive range the offerors improperly eliminated from the competitive range could file protests, the offerors could, in retrospect, revise or modify their offers to such an extent that their offers would have been the best value to the government.

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Consider Flex Networks

Let's say your small business can handle only one or two manufacturing processes, giving it a limited core competency. How can you succeed in doing business with the federal government or prime contractors? Well you may want to consider joining a flexible network of manufacturers.

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Sign Up with SBAExchange

The SBAExchange initiative has been put on hold. Any business that had signed up for it should have been notified and fees paid should have been refunded.

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Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA)

Effective January 1, 2005, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) requires the use of the Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA) in federal solicitations as a part of the proposal submission process. ORCA is an e-government initiative to replace the paper-based Representations & Certifications (Reps & Certs) process. ORCA is a web-based system that centralizes and standardizes the collection, storage and viewing of many of the FAR-required representations and certifications previously found in solicitations. Registration in ORCA is required if the solicitation being responded to requires an active registration in CCR.

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Put Your Best Foot Forward

If you're hoping to seal the deal on some subcontracting work, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

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Be What a Prime Looks for in a Sub

If you're hoping to seal the deal on some subcontracting work, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

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Bid Wisely and Selectively

No business--large or small--is going to win all of the contracts they try for. And subcontracting work is no different. Statistics show that, at best, you will win less than one-third of the contracts you bid on.

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Improve Your Chances as a Sub

If you're hoping to seal the deal on some subcontracting work, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

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Focus on Providing Best Value

If you're hoping to seal the deal on some subcontracting work, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

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Prepare for and Pass an Evaluation/Inspection

It is important that you get your company on every potential prime contractor's Approved/Preferred Vendor List, or something very similar, which lists the vendors and subcontractors that have been approved by the prime for quality, on-time delivery, and other factors.

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Final Tips To Seal the Deal

At this point, you've done all you can do to prepare to be a subcontractor to a prime government contractor. You've explored the numerous opportunities through various sources. The government is on your side--rules have been enacted to encourage small business participation in the process. You've laid the groundwork, by doing your homework on prospective primes and the competition. You may have even considered making changes to your operations to better position your company to compete.

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Fill Out the Application Form

It is important that you get your company on every potential prime contractor's Approved/Preferred Vendor List, or something very similar, which lists the vendors and subcontractors that have been approved by the prime for quality, on-time delivery, and other factors.

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Get on Approved/Preferred Vendor Lists

Almost every large business, including prime contractors, have an Approved/Preferred Vendor List, or something very similar, that lists the vendors and subcontractors that have been approved by the prime for quality, on-time delivery, and other factors.

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Learn How To Sell Yourself

Selling yourself as a potential subcontractor to large companies with government contracts is no different than selling to them in the commercial arena. Here are a few tips that may help you:

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Get To Know Your Competition

If you are serious about being a subcontractor and selling your company's products or services to a prime, you'll need to know how and why your competition has been successful at getting sub-opportunities.

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Get To Know Your Customer

If you are serious about being a subcontractor and selling your company's products or services to a prime, you'll need to know that customer--the prime.

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Get To Know Your Capabilities

If you are serious about being a subcontractor and selling your company's products or services to a prime, you'll need to know your capabilities as a supplier.

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Lay the Groundwork

Before you even think about actually making a bid on subcontracting work, there are some things that you need to do to improve your chances for success. Finding the "right" prime (i.e., one whose products or services match your capabilities) and effectively presenting yourself and your company are going to take a little forethought and more than a little preparation.

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Do Your Homework

If you are serious about being a subcontractor and selling your company's products or services to a prime, it is going to take some work.

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Find the Right Primes and the Right People

We have found that the most effective way to begin finding subcontracting work with a government prime is to:

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Government Rules Assure Sub-Opportunities

One of the government requirements that primes must meet in order to be awarded a federal contract really works to generate a significant market for small business subcontractors.

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Bundling Increases Sub-Opportunities

Another factor that has increased subcontracting opportunities, while at the same time decreasing prime contracting opportunities, for small businesses is the recent (and controversial) trend by federal agencies of combining or bundling small contracts for different activities or requirements into large contract packages.

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Advantages of Subcontracting

As a subcontractor, your agreement to provide supplies and/or services would be with the prime; you would have no contractual relationship with the government. Therefore, you have another entity--the prime, in this case--between you and the government.

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What Are the Sub-Opportunities?

There is a huge market available to you as a subcontractor for a government prime. In FY 2008, for example, about 100 of the top DoD prime contractors were awarded $369 billion in contracts, of which $160.7 billion (or 37.2 percent) was awarded to small businesses. Specific civilian statistics are more difficult to identify, but they are also impressive.

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Prime-Time Players and Our Top Picks

There are many sub-opportunities to be a subcontractor for a large prime contracting firm for the federal government.

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