Those Government Contracts

I have written about the massive amount of money that we throw at the Defense Department and a blogging friend over at Libertas And Latte ( ) has given me his insights into the process.

Having never had applied for contract I am not really super informed and I appreciate his thoughts and his corrections.

So I decided to check into the contract process and this is what I found…in an article written by Julie Bowden-Davis……

1. Register. In order to sell to any government entity, you must obtain a Dun & Bradstreet number. This is used as your contractor identification code. From there, you register on the System for Award Management (SAM), the primary database of vendors doing business with the government.

2. Think inside the box. When it comes to government contracts, innovative business ideas aren’t generally encouraged. “Small-business people are entrepreneurs by nature,” Karch says, “but the government by nature exists to support the people and isn’t tasked with innovation and isn’t measured by the lack of providing it. 

3. Sell what you know. Given the fact that the government is interested in high-quality work that fulfills a direct need, it makes sense to sell what you do well. “If you’re in the technology space, create a niche,” Karch suggests. “If you’re in construction, create a unique value proposition. Or, if you’re in a health-care field, create a unique benefit to the overall wellness of the end user.”

4. Revise when necessary. In order to land government contracts, small-business owners must be diligent in modifying their company offerings so they fit government needs, Karch says. “With technology products or services, think about security; with construction, think about scale; and with health care, think about the long-term process. Of course, these modifications can take time, but making them also benefits your company.”

5. Get help. Errors and omissions can disqualify you, so it’s important to get assistance. “Government contracting is filled with nuances, acronyms, procedures and regulations that require expertise,” Karch says. “The SBA employs procurement representatives at various area offices to help businesses throughout the process, and there are numerous online resources, too.”

6. Check your commitment level. “Recognizing the tremendous effort required to apply for government contracts is essential,” says Burt Wolder, a consultant with Ragland Burton Communications, who was working for Hooper Holmes, a company that provides health risk assessment services to the life insurance and health insurance industries, when it was awarded a multi-year contract to support the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs last September.

7. Have patience. Applying for government contracts is a long-term process, Karch says. “It’s sometimes difficult for small businesses to be patient when it comes to revenue generation,” he notes, “but in the government contracting arena, patience is more than just a virtue—it’s an absolute must. Your return on investment is measured in quarters and years, not weeks and months.”

Or try these steps to becoming a contractor for the government.

  • Update your business plan for government contracting. Define your business, identify your goals, qualify your resources and determine how you will market your organization to government agencies and contractors. Your business plan can serve as your resume and help your potential customers and supporters understand your business and your goals.
  • Identify your North American Industry Classification System, or NAICS, code.
  • Use the SBA Size Standard Tool and determine if your business qualifies as a small business.
  • Sign up for your business identification or DUNS number online or by or calling Dun & Bradstreet at 866-705-5711. This process normally takes one business day.
  • Register in the Central Contractor Registry in the System for Award Management, or SAM, by providing general, corporate, goods and services, financial and point-of-contact information. It can take up to 10 days after you submit your information before your account is active. If you previously registered for a CCR, your information will transfer automatically into the SAM system. Update your information if necessary.
  • Submit the Online Representations and Certifications Application, or ORCA, through SAM.
  • Get a Commercial and Government Entity code. Your CAGE code is automatically created when you apply for your CCR, so make sure you record the code for future use.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Federal Acquisitions Register, or FAR. Focus on Part 19, the section on small businesses.
  • Identify business opportunities with resources like, where you can search for contract opportunities over $25,000, and SUBNET, where prime contractors and subcontractors connect to form partnership opportunities.
  • Use your resources. Get help from the Small Business Administration and the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.

Sounds like a time consuming process does it not?  But I guess the rewards are well with a little time on the web.

If I missed anything please feel free to correct or add to the information.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

5 thoughts on “Those Government Contracts

  1. I’m only just now getting more immersed into the bid & proposal aspect of government contracting, and there’s so much more to the process than even what you list, and most of it, I’m not super familiar with it.

    Of course, I still take some issue with the blanket denigration toward Gov contractors, but I know enough to know why that impression exists. In most cases that I can speak to (defense/intel sectors), the American taxpayer is still saving money by and large, over funding military and civilian billets for this support.

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