You can increase your chance of winning a government contract by researching the federal marketplace and taking advantage of SBA resources discussed in this blog.
1. Find contracts
There are a number of databases you can use to find federal contracts to bid on. Similarly, there are multiple databases that government agencies use to find contractors.
The Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) is a database that government agencies use to find small business contractors for upcoming contracts. Small businesses can also use DSBS to find other small businesses to work with.
The SBA maintains the DSBS database. The information you provide when you register your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) is used to populate DSBS, so you should create a comprehensive business profile.
2. Contract Opportunities
Federal business opportunities for contractors are listed at beta.SAM.gov. Government agencies are required to use SAM to advertise all contracts over $25,000.
3. GSA Schedules
If you want to sell to the government, securing a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) — the government agency that connects government buyers with contractors — is a great way to start. Securing a contract with the GSA is also called “getting onto the GSA Schedule,” which means you’ve been approved to do business with the government.
If you’re interested in getting on the GSA Schedule, you may want to pay for a Past Performance Evaluation report from Open Ratings. The report assesses your performance relative to businesses in the same industry, and is often requested as part of a vendor bid process. Your company must register and provide the names and email addresses of six to 20 of your customers.
4. Subcontracting opportunities
SubNet is a database of subcontracting opportunities posted by large contractors looking for small businesses to serve as subcontractors.
The SBA maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans.
The GSA publishes a subcontracting directory for small businesses that are looking for subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors. The directory lists large business prime contractors that are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) maintains a similar directory of large prime contractors that small businesses can use to find subcontracting opportunities.
5. Marketing to the government
You may want to market your small business directly to a government agency or prime contractor. You can do that by learning what agencies or prime contractors need, and then showing them how your business can fulfill that need.
6. Federal Procurement Data System
Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts over $25,000. With this system, you can see which agencies have contracts and with whom they have contracts, what agencies buy, and which contractors have contracts.
USASpending.gov tracks government spending through contracts awarded. This searchable database contains information for each federal contract. You can use this information to help identify procurement trends within the government and potential opportunities.
8. Small business offices
Many federal agencies have what’s called an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work to identify opportunities to contract with small businesses.
Each agency releases a procurement forecast that includes contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. Once you’ve reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like the Federal Procurement Data System and USASpending.gov to identify opportunities at a specific agency, you can contact that agency’s small business office. Also, each office hosts training and networking events to help small businesses identify contract opportunities.
Click here to see the list of agencies providing contract opportunities.
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