Many consultants and consulting firms attempt to justify their existence to small companies by touting the notion that contracting with the US Government is a daunting task that should only be attempted with their assistance. They base this assertion on what they claim is the extensive amount of documentation (full of esoteric terminology) that has been put in place by the various Government departments and agencies. They also claim small companies need assistance finding and evaluating Government purchasing and contracting opportunities. We at Thermal Space feel this is not the case for small companies for the following reasons:
- The majority of the Government departments and agencies operate under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), with a number of others operating under slightly tailored versions of the FAR. While the FAR is a large document made up of 53 parts and agency supplements, a much smaller number of parts typically pertain to a given Government procurement or purchase from a small company. The single largest part of the FAR, Part 52, covers solicitation provisions and contract clauses. By reviewing this part first, a company new to Government contracting can start an efficient evaluation of the requirements involved in bidding, winning and performing under a new Government contract or purchase order.
- Most small value (less than $150k) US Government purchases of goods and services fall under FAR Part 13, Simplified Acquisition Procedures, which by their intent provide a streamlined path to Government business for the potential Government customer.
- FAR Part 5 covers Federal Business Opportunities (FBO), which includes most Department of Defense (DoD) and Federal contracting opportunities, and awards over $25K in value. The FBO operates at the website fbo.gov and includes an extensive search capability, as well as a vendor defined notification service for subscribing companies.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) contracts for goods and services with thousands of US companies through a single award approach. Once a GSA contract is in place with a company, subsequent orders can be placed against this contract without the need to renegotiate rates, price or terms and conditions. Other departments and agencies, both Federal and State, can place orders against GSA contracts; greatly improving efficiency for both the Government and private industry. Companies with a potential interest in obtaining a GSA award can request a consultation with a GSA representative at gsa.gov.
In summary, the key to getting started in Government contracting is successfully targeting the type and size of opportunity that best fits the company’s objectives and capabilities. Knowing the terminology, procedures, practices, and terms and conditions of the solicitation are very important in preparing a bid or proposal that is within the Government’s cost, schedule and performance expectations.
At Thermal Space, we work with many different customers comprising Government, Corporate, Academic and Private Entities. In the course of our business experience, we have worked through varied contract types and we welcome your inquiry to assist in the contracting process, whether as a customer or a partner.