How to Get Government Contractor Jobs
But if you’re here, you’re not looking to be talked into doing a government contract, are you?
No, of course not.
You’re here because you want to know how to get government contractor jobs. What’s the secret behind landing one of those big, juicy government contracts?
Could you someday build your whole business strategy on working on government contractor jobs?
Unfortunately, there’s no secret sauce when it comes to working with the government. Granted, there are a few extra steps and a little more red tape involved, but all it takes to win a government contract is the same thing that got you here now: solid business sense and a commitment to excellence.
But no matter how well you know the territory, it pays to have a map. So here’s my map for you: a few best practices for landing government contract jobs.
1) Register With the System for Award Management
To be eligible for contracts with the federal government, your organization must register as an official government contractor with the System for Award Management (SAM). Registration adds you to the contractor database and allows you to bid on government contract jobs. You can begin the registration process at the SAM website. The registration process is fairly involved, so there are a number of services that have sprung up to help you along in the process if you get stuck.
Attention: a lot of the online advice on government contract jobs will direct you to Central Contractor Registration (CCR). That information is out of date. Since July 30, 2012, SAM has superseded CCR.
2) Identify Government Agencies to Target
Your organization is bound to be more suited to doing business with some government agencies than with others. Just like any other bidding system, you’ll want to identify your organization’s strengths and weaknesses and identify the agencies you’ve got the best chance of winning business with.
Maybe your organization is suited to Defense contracts, or Agriculture, or Education. The underlying point here is that you should narrow your focus to a handful of government agencies where you’ve got the best chance of winning contracts.
Even beyond narrowing in on your company’s strengths, there are logistical reasons for dealing with one or two agencies. When you’re working with the government, each agency is its own self-contained bureaucracy.
It’s easier to get government contractor jobs with someone you’ve already worked with, and if you’re dealing with the same agency on a regular basis you’ll be able to network with them more effectively.
So be smart, and don’t spread yourself out too thin.
3) Team up With Other Organizations
Now, I know I was talking about repeat business in the last section, but if you’re here you’re probably more worried about how to get these government contractor jobs. Sure, it’s good to focus on long-term strategy, but you’ve got to get your foot in the door, right?
I’ve got a few ideas for you there, and the first one is subcontracting. If you’ve got a working relationship with an organization that already gets government contracts, you could consider signing your organization on as a subcontractor in one of their bids.
They’ve won contracts before, and they’ve already got the in-agency contacts you want (and you’ll now have the chance to work with). So it’s definitely worth your while to consider leveraging subcontracting into a shortcut to your own contract.
If this sounds like a strategy you’d like to use, you should know about OLIA. What’s OLIA, you ask? It’s a one-of-a-kind software that allows your organization to communicate with potential bid partners. This specialized feature is an exclusive TendersPage offering, so be sure to take a look.
4) Attend Government Networking Events to find Government Contract Jobs
Networking is everything, right? We like to do business with people we’ve done business with before, and if we can’t do that we’d at least like to do business with people we know. The US government may be The Government, but government workers are still people, and just like everybody else they’ve got networking events.
This is an opportunity for you and your organization to get to know the people who will be evaluating your bid and (hopefully) signing your contract. It may be the internet age, but it’s still worth your while to make the best possible impression with face-to-face communication.
Your best bet to find local events is going to be through the events page on the Small Business Administration website. They keep a running list of events nationwide, so just type your zip code into the box and find the next event near you.
5) Consider Bidding for Smaller Projects (at first)
Until you win that first contract, working with the government can be a real catch-22: it’s as if your organization has to have won a government contract in order to be able to win government contract jobs. The real trick is to be able to land that first contract, right?
If you bid on a smaller project (relative to your company’s size), you increase the chance you’ll win it. The reason for that is simple enough. If the agency doesn’t already know you, they’re much more likely to give you a small contract than a large one.
Remember: most of the strategies here are geared toward getting that first contract. You may end up taking one small job, but it’s worth for the long-term opportunities.
6) Small Businesses Can Contact Local PTACs
Never forget: the government wants people to win contracts. It looks forbidding from the outside, but like any other organization, the government is concerned with getting quality work. They’ve even set up Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) to help the process along.
These are local and regional offices set up to help businesses become certified government contractors and get them through the process of winning contracts. You can find your local PTAC on the agency website.
They’ll offer help with SAM registration, workshops, and free one-on-one counseling. With over 300 locations across the US, there’s bound to be one near you.
7) Mention Commercial Experience in Your Bid
As with any bidding process, you should include details of relevant experience in your bid for government contracts. Just because you don’t have any government experience to mention doesn’t mean the commercial work your organization has done isn’t relevant.
The agency that evaluates your bid will want to know what you’ve done in the past, and they’ll want to know the kinds of projects your organization is capable of.
So whether it’s included in your bid package or put into a project portfolio on your site, be sure to include information and statistics on relevant projects your organization has done.
What you should be getting from this is the idea that working with the government isn’t massively different from working with any other organization. If you’re bidding for the contract, it’s pretty much a sure thing you’ve done similar work before. It would definitely be to your advantage to let them know about it.
8) Find Opportunities on Sites Like TendersPage
Of course, all the planning in the world won’t come to anything if you don’t have government procurements to bid on. Don’t worry though: the government makes sure the world knows when it wants something done.
There are many government tenders on our database, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding them. With the one and only search engine that indexes as many as 50,000 tenders daily, you’ll have no problem finding opportunities through TendersPage.
You’ll find government contracts listed by agency, by the size of the contract—however, you’d like to see it organized. Whatever the size of your organization, you’re sure to find a contract that should suit you.
9) Understand Your Bid Package
Before you submit your bid, you should recognize that everything in there is binding by law.
Naturally, we’re cautious with all of our contracts, but (considering the fact that this is the government), you’ll want to make sure you’ve done everything right. Exercise due diligence, and be sure to understand everything you’re potentially committing yourself and your organization too.
Granted, this isn’t anything you wouldn’t do with any other bidding process, but it might pay off to go through the details a little more thoroughly than you would otherwise.
10) Try Multiple Times
Before I let you go, I want to remind you that the average organization sends in 4 government bids before winning its first contract.
There’s no reason to be discouraged by a few rejected bids. Like anything else, winning government contract jobs is a process of learning, trial, and error. But given time, diligent care, and a strategic approach, working for the government can be a highly lucrative and rewarding enterprise.
Register With the System for Award Management https://www.sam.gov/portal/SAM/
Team up With Other Organizations https://www.sba.gov/tools/events#events-page
Small Businesses Can Contact Local PTACs http://www.aptac-us.org/
Find Government contractor jobs on Sites Like TendersPage https://tenderspage.com
How the Government buy from Small Businesses https://tenderspage.com/government-contracting-tips-federal-government-buys-small-businesses/