Government contracting basics involve many things to learn. If you are interested in the world of government contracting, there is a lot to know. The process for pursuing these opportunities requires many steps and can be challenging too. But if done right, it will be worth your time investment and can potentially provide lucrative results.
Learn The Terminology
Government contracting often looks like a soup of confusing acronyms and abbreviations. It can be hard for someone new to this world but understanding them is essential in comprehending what goes on with government contracts.
Here are some of the basic acronyms and terms to know:
· Contracting Officer (CO) A federal government official with the authority to enter into, terminate, administer, and enforce contracts.
· Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) The list of rules concerning government procurement.
· Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) The procurement and acquisition branch of the government.
· HUBZONE The “Historically Underutilized Business Zone” Certification Program reserves federal contracts for competition among small businesses that are located in certain urban and rural communities.
· North American Industrial Classification Standard (NAICS) Business establishment classifications according to type of economic activity.
· Small Business Administration (SBA) A for-profit business independently owned that meets the qualifications and size requirements of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
First Things First
Groundwork needs to be laid before pursuing a contract with the government. Potential contractors need to first register in the System for Award Management (SAM), which requires a DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System). DUNS is a proprietary system developed and regulated by Dun & Bradstreet. It assigns a unique numeric identifier to a single business entity. This first step is essential for doing business with the federal government.
After the DUNS number is obtained, the SAM account can be set up. The site is free, and these are the things that can be accomplished:
· Register to do business with the United States government
· Update or renew your entity registration
· Check the status of an entity registration
· Search for entity registration and exclusion records
The Best Way To Find Opportunities
A good way to find opportunities is to become a part of the GSA schedules program. The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government that helps manage and support federal agencies. GSA ensures industry partners make sure they are compliant with basic federal regulations and policies. They offer fair-priced goods and services. They use streamlined purchasing practices, saving time and money for all parties.
The Best Acquisition Tool
The federal government prefers to contract using the GSA Schedule. The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government that helps manage and support federal agencies. It provides a guarantee that the vendors are selling at the best and fairest rates. It assures that the vendors are compliant with federal regulations.
So, You Just Need A Contract?
Obtaining a contract through GSA is not enough. The US government bureaucracy is a factor to consider. Vendors must remain compliant, their prices must be updated, they must be monitoring commercial sales pricing, they must be reporting GSA sales, and must be keeping certain administrative documents current. The GSA provides a convenient checklist for maintaining compliancy, called the GSA Schedule Contractor Compliance Checklist.
Entering the world of government contacting is not an easy process. It requires many things to know and certain basic steps. Contract compliancy is indispensable for success. The Contract and Proposal Suite, a part of the Content Analytics Platform (CAP), developed by Scion Analytics, can help ensure contractual compliancy.