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Tag: RFP

Got a Delivery Service Business? Get a Government Contract

Even before Covid, delivery service businesses were in high demand. The shift to delivery services, since Covid, has been nothing short of astronomical. There is no better time to increase your business and no better way than a federal delivery contract.

Are federal delivery contracts actually worth the time and effort? In 2020, the U.S. government awarded $683 billion in federal contracts. Spending is expected to continue to increase over the next several years. (ExecutiveBiz June 20, 2022)

While DHL, FedEx, and UPS dominate the federal delivery service, the federal government is driving initiatives to include every business. Many agencies actually have offices dedicated to small businesses. (ibid)

One such agency is the Department of Transportation (DOT). Within the DOT is the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) which supports small delivery services providers and vendors operating in the delivery services arena. Additionally, there are contracting assistance programs available at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Certain SBA programs provide assistance to Women-owned small businesses and often link them to mentors.(ibid)

Contracts within the federal delivery service platform generally last from 12 months to as long as 36 years. When an agency is happy with a service delivery provider, often contracts are extended. In addition, the federal government has a stellar reputation for paying invoices. (ibid)

The first step in winning a federal delivery contract involves market research. Done properly, it will help you make informed decisions and understand current demands. Knowing the market prepares you to meet an agency’s needs. (ibid)

The second step is knowing your competition. This will allow you to bid your services competitively. The SBA has a dynamic search function DSBS. SAM.gov is another site that allows you to view new delivery contracts awarded by federal agencies. (ibid)

The third step is knowing the federal and state regulations. Many can be found on this SBA site. The following regulations are the most important to be aware of:

  • Labor and employment – wages/workplace hazard protection
  • Taxes – individual as well as employment taxes
  • Advertising and privacy – trustworthy advertising/customer privacy
  • Environment – an example is the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (GHGRP)
  • Antitrust – actions which monopolize or limit competition (ibid)

The fourth step is becoming familiar with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). This is the script for federal contractors and contracting officers. Knowing the FAR will go a long way to navigating the complex requirements and processes of the federal government acquisition arena. (ibid)

A fifth step is to know whether you are eligible for small business assistance programs. If eligible, you can apply for contracting assistance. (ibid)

Finally, get registered on the SAM website. This is the federal government System for Award Management (SAM.gov). Once you will receive a Unique Entity ID (UEI) which identifies your delivery service business. (If you offer other services, you may have more than one NAICS code.) (ibid)

Once all of the above steps are completed, you are ready to bid on a contract. To prepare, identify your target federal agencies and price your delivery services competitively. Once a federal agency publishes a Request for Proposal (RFP) review the expectations and determine if your business can meet the demands of the RFP. If so, you are ready to bid.(ibid)

Responding to an RFP requires strict attention to detail and timelines. A late response or a partially responded to requirement will disqualify a company from winning a contract. If you are non-compliant you will not receive an award. We recommend setting up schedules for research, writing, and reviews. And remember, all proposals must be submitted on time.

Working your way through the regulations and requirements to successfully bid on government contracts takes finesse and know-how. If you have reached a roadblock or need some assistance, give us a call.

So You Want To Be A Federal Government Contractor

A recent American Express OPEN survey showed that 57 percent of businesses noted a significant increase in revenue when engaged in government contracting. In fact, those businesses saw their revenue grow at a rate of 61percent. Our focus will be on the largest source of doing business with the government, federal government contracting. (The National Law Review May 9, 2022)

Each year the federal government contract spending is in the billions of dollars. The United States government is the single largest procurer of goods and services in the world. Vendors sell anything from paper clips to fighter jets for the Department of Defense. In order to take advantage of this business, at any level, vendors must complete several required steps. (ibid)

Completion of Regulatory Basics

Businesses wishing to work with the federal government must complete specific regulatory requirements. All potential contractors are required to obtain a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Your business is assigned a UEI when you register on SAM.gov. Click here to learn more about obtaining a UEI. (ibid)

For a contract to be awarded by the federal government, approval must be obtained by a Contracting Officer (CO). COs only approve responsible contractors. The government will not enter into a contract with a vendor who:

  • owes back taxes
  • has a current or pending legal judgment with the government
  • does not have a checking account
  • is on the government’s excluded parties list
  • has not completed the basic regulatory requirement for doing business with the government

Before moving on, potential contractors should verify all required registrations are completed and a UEI is assigned. (ibid)

Locating Opportunities

Looking for opportunities within the federal government is similar to private industry. One must determine which agency has a need for a particular good or service.

There are many sources to help locate opportunities suited to a specific business. The main portals for entry into the federal government contracting are:

General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule

This is the most common form of a federal government contract. GSA is the “acquisition arm” of the federal government. Vendors who wish to be included on the primary contract vehicle, a GSA Schedule, can find additional information here. (ibid)

To be eligible for a GSA Schedule contract, a potential GSA vendor must show proof of at least two years of measurable past performance and provide two years of financial statements. References from the Federal arena may be used in lieu of experience. (ibid)

FedBizOpps

Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) contains government contracting opportunities with values over $25,000. (ibid)

GWACs

This is a government-wide acquisition contract (GWAC) in which multiple government agencies align their needs and purchase a contract for goods or services. Government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) allow for economies of scale, which usually reduce per-unit costs.

Vendors may also act as a subcontractor to prime contractors. There are several sites to research for subcontracting opportunities. GSA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) both maintain subcontracting databases. Additionally, the SAM website, as well as the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), contain sources of information including trade and business publications.

There are two types of government contract offers – bids and proposals. Bids are made in sealed bidding purchases, proposals generally involve contract awards following a negotiation process. The three offer types are:

  • Request for Quotation (RFQ): Used for proposed contracts with a value of less than $150,000.
  • Request for Proposal (RFP): Used for acquisitions with higher values than an RFQ.
  • Invitation for Bid (IFB): Similar to an RFP, with values over $100,000. Contractors submit a sealed bid for government procurement. Generally, negotiation follows. (ibid)

It is extremely important that all information provided in an offer be factually sound and contain all information necessary for a CO to make an evaluation. Vendors should note that responses to technical specifications will become part of the contract, so it is wise not to overpromise. (ibid)

Once all requirements are satisfied the offer is ready for submission. Note, that the lowest-priced offer does not necessarily ensure a win. More often than not, experience and service excellence are deemed more important. (ibid)

The evaluation of offers begins when the government agency receives es the bids. Patience is key as acceptance of bids can take up to several months. The key is knowing and staying up-to-date with your Contracting Officer. (ibid)

Have questions about contracting with the federal government? Give us a call.

CMMC Coming to Solicitations

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) requirements may show up in solicitations within six months. (GOVCONWire, May 12, 2020)

A Department of Defense spokesperson expects about 10 DoD RFIs in June to include the new requirements. She said, “As we release the RFIs, we’ll have the certified and trained auditors who will be able to go out to industry and certify companies at the level of maturity required for the work that they’re bidding on.” (ibid)

Additionally, changes to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement 252.204-7012 should be finalized by October. “You will not see the CMMC in any Department of Defense contracts or RFPs until the rule change is completed.” (ibid)

Questions on the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification and whether you can bid on upcoming solicitations? Give us a call.

CMMC a Plus for Small Businesses?

Katie Arrington, on staff  with the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment believes nation-states are actively targeting small businesses digitally. And, she says, we are losing the battle of cyberattacks. (Fifth Domain, October 8, 2019)

According to Arrington, rivals cost the US an estimated $600 billion per year and 5G will multiply that number exponentially by 2025. As a result, Arrington believes the cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) is actually intended for small businesses. (ibid)

CMMC grades company cybersecurity on a scale of one (least secure) to five (most stringent). Small businesses must comply with a tiered rating structure. So a company offering cleaning services may need only comply with CMMC level one while an engineering firm is held to level four

Arrington says that CMMC levels the playing field. Old compliance standards allowed companies to perform their contracts while working on their plan of action to become technically acceptable. This left sensitive systems that require additional security controls vulnerable and with weak spots. Many small businesses do not have the resources to obtain a high CMMC level, ultimately limiting competition in the marketplace; others fear the costs will be so high, that small companies will be priced out of the marketplace and limit their ability to compete on government contracts. 

The most recent Navy breaches targeted contractors without classified information per se, but taken in total the data disclosed sensitive capabilities. This is exactly what the CMMC framework addresses. (ibid)

Requests for proposals are expected to include CMMC requirements, as early as fall 2020.

Questions about CMMC requirements? Give us a call.

COMET Commeth!

The General Services Administration (GSA) has released the second and much sought after piece of the IT services procurement known as COMET. The solicitation aims to create a multiple-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) on top of IT schedule 70.

GSA plans to make between 10 and 12 awards with a minimum of 25 percent set aside for small businesses. The BPA will require a host of IT services, including operations and maintenance, cloud and the continued development, and support of the acquisition systems portal beta.SAM.gov. GSA’s goal is a three-step evaluation approach, including an in-person technical challenge.

In April, GSA issued the RFP for the first and substantially smaller piece of COMET focused on architecture, engineering, and advisory support. (FedBizOpps)

Have questions about COMET and how your company fits in? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.