Over the years, folks that have small companies or wanted to start companies, have asked how you get government contracts. Specifically overseas government contracts in the war zones.
Well, to be honest, I am not at all an expert on this side of the business. I do not own a security company, nor have I ever pursued government contracts. I am a security contractor that has been hired either as an employee or as an independent contractor, by companies that have already won government contracts overseas in the war zones. But I have never contracted with the government directly.
With that said, I am always willing to share what little knowledge I have on the subject of government contracting. So when I find cool articles like this, I like to share them because they are educational to me–but also to the community as a whole. Especially to those interested in getting into the game. Plus folks can add to it in the comments, to make this more tailored to overseas stuff.
The deal I would like to add to this post is that in order to get started, you can get all sorts of great information for free by scheduling an appointment at your local Small Business Administration office. Call them up, tell them you want to get into government contracting, and they will connect you with a government contracting mentor/specialist. Someone that is already established and is willing to mentor you on what you need to do.
You can also do this on your own by just contacting a contracting specialist with a company, and asking them what they know. Become a student of government contracting, and seek out as many sources of current information as you can about the process. Talk it up with those that are in the game and have actually won contracts for companies, and copy what they do.
Another idea is to just pay for the services of a firm or firms that specializes in getting you started. The article below mentioned writing proposals and how important that is to getting a contract, or using the services of a Insurance Broker to find the right insurance for your company. If you do a search on Google for ‘government contracts’, you will see companies in the paid for ads highlighted in yellow at the top of the search page, whom specialize in getting you started. Like with anything in life, there are some things you can do yourself, and there are other things that are just smarter and more cost effective to pay someone else to do.
I cannot comment on who is the best at this, and it will require you to do some shopping around as to whom to go with. But you can pay someone to get you started, and especially with all of the paper work required. Also, if you live in a state that is not exactly close to the contracting world back east, then these firms might be the ticket to get you in the game.
As for my international readers, obviously this post is directed at my US readers. But for those companies that have US offices and are able to use local US surrogates to get into this game, then I am sure there are a few more layers of bureaucracy and regulation to go through. If anyone has information on that process, I am all ears. I also imagine a good contracting specific lawyer would be handy for that.
Anyways, check it out below and for you experts/contracting officers or CEOs that know the process intimately, definitely speak up if you have some tips. The WBJ will be doing future posts on how to choose a public relations officer and commercial insurance, and a big hat tip to them for putting this out there. -Matt
10 things to ask before Pursuing a government contract
Washington Business Journal
Friday, October 5, 2012
We asked several experts what new entrepreneurs should think about when pursuing a government contract. Next up in our biweekly manual of sorts for startup businesses: how to choose a public relations firm and commercial insurance broker.
1. What types of contracts are there? Types of government contracts include fixed-price contracts, which generally provide a firm price for the work, and cost-reimbursement contracts, which provide payment for allowable incurred costs. Other types are incentive contracts, time-and-materials contracts and sealed bidding contracts. Research them to see what effect each would have on your company’s finances.
2. Will you look at my past performance? You must be an expert in the area related to the contract you are pursuing. If you want to be a government technology contractor, for instance, you should be able to show proof that you excel in your technology through previous contracts and work. In recent years, governments have been putting more emphasis on a company’s past contract performance when selecting contractors.
3. What are the contract requirements? Read the solicitation thoroughly and make sure you can fulfill the requirements. For example, you might be required to sustain your business financially until the contract expires, maintain Applicant Flow Logs, which record various details about your job applicants and hires, and send annual letters to recruitment sources.