Tips to Win Government Contracts

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Image: | Tips to Win Government Contracts | Government contracts can be financially rewarding, but hard to win, especially for small businesses. 

The U.S. government is considered the largest “customer” in the world, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the government buys a myriad of products and services. The U.S. government is legally required to consider small businesses, and there are some benefits to do so. 

For example, when the government buys from small businesses, it can help support them as part of economic development. 

There is a process for requesting proposals, bid evaluation and contract awarding that takes place. For that reason, for businesses to be competitive, it can be valuable to have already in place some tools and an infrastructure to stay organized and competitive. 

For example, consider purchasing Basis of Estimate software, which identifies to calculations used to come to a certain bid. 

Beyond that, what else can businesses and especially smaller ones do to win government contracts?

Prepare and Plan to Invest

You have to prepare to win a government contract properly, and you’re also going to have to put money into it. Of course, if you get the contract it can prove to be incredibly lucrative. 

According to an article published by Forbes, women-owned firms that succeeded in winning contracts devoted, on average $112,000 in both time and money preparing to win said contractors. Male-owned firms reported investing around $137,000. 

Of course, depending on the contract you secure, this investment could pay for itself many times over. 

Only Bid If You Can Do the Job

Whether it’s your first bid or you’ve bid on or even won jobs in the past, your reputation is very important. Your past performance is integral to whether or not you’re likely to get a government contract. 

Rather than trying to bid on as many jobs as you can, which is going to waste your resources and potentially damage your reputation if you can’t complete them successfully, focus on bidding on the jobs you know you can do. 

It might be that you bid on smaller jobs at first, and as you build your reputation and performance history, you can scale up. 

Check Out Your Competitors

Sometimes as important as what your business can offer in the process to win contracts is also knowing what the other businesses can offer. 

By researching your competition, you can hone in on what will give you a competitive edge.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be that you’re looking at other companies that might be going for government contracts, but just generally, other businesses similar to your own. 

Pinpoint how your business is different, unique, and better from these other businesses so you can then use this to win contracts. 

Start By Subcontracting

If you’re a smaller company and you want to start working with the government, you might consider subcontracting before contracting. 

When you subcontract, essentially you’re partnering yourself with contractors that already work in government. They can help you build your reputation, and then you can start collecting contacts. 

You can also learn more about how government contracting works in general, from the inside. 

If you want to find subcontracting opportunities, consider looking at SubNet. 

It’s a resource maintain by SBA, and it highlights subcontracting opportunities from large contractors. The Department of Defense also has something similar. 

Take Your Time with Your Proposal

Don’t rush through your proposal, and make sure you read the guidelines. They’re going to be different for every contract. 

If you don’t meet a specific requirement, for example, then you’re going to be disqualified altogether. 

When you’re creating a proposal, it will show what your plan is to complete the work and what you anticipate the scope of work will be. 

You’ll have to show how much you’ll charge to do the work, and you need to be somewhat affordable in your proposal. You’ll also highlight specific people in your business who are going to work on the project and why they’re qualified. 

Finally, if applicable to you, get certified. For example, if you’re a woman-owned or minority-owned business, you can get certified through your state or a national entity. You should also register with the Central Contractor Registration. 

Getting government contracts can completely positively change your business, but it also takes time and work. Prepare yourself ahead of time so that you’re better positioned not just to get contracts but to get the right contracts to help you build your reputation. 

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