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Good way to get into government contracting

In our last post, we wrote about having a strategy before you start the process of getting in to the federal contracting business.  If you missed it, you can check it out here.  In that post, we touched on how to get in to the federal contracting business and one of the easier ways is to be a sub-contractor to a prime contractor.

Why would a prime contractor bring in a sub-contractor when they could have the whole pie to themselves?!  It could be to satisfy a criterion required by the federal contract such as allocating work to a small business as part of winning the contract.  It could also be that the prime contractor is lacking a specific requirement that a sub-contractor can fulfill so again as mentioned in the last blog post, it’s important to know what product or service you’re planning on selling. 

So, what’s it like to be a sub-contractor?  Our friend Robert L. who we interviewed previously  shared his thoughts based on his past experience:

“It’s a good way to get into the government contracting business.  But, if you’re just starting out, life of a sub-contractor can suck sometimes depending on who you sub-contract for.  Some companies are great when they’re in the process of requirement capture, writing the proposal, or trying to win the contract.  However, after they win, they can be really bad.  For example, what was agreed upon before the win between the sub-contractor and prime contractor is all of sudden, changed. I was involved as a sub-contractor on one of the proposals and we had an agreement that we would contract for 12 bodies and they came back with just 4 after the contract was won.”

Robert L.

I had to ask if they were allowed to do that.

“They can do whatever they want. Remember, the contract is with the prime and the government. Not you and the government.  You could complain to the government but that would further jeopardize your relationship with the prime contractor.”

Robert L.

If you’re now worried about what’s preventing most of the prime contractors from being unruly or where the ‘checks and balances’ are, Robert had this to say:

“They’ll get a bad reputation within the contracting world where no one will want to work with them. Government contracting world can be small when it comes to who knows who and you’ll learn who to avoid but they’re out there. There’s also a tool call CPARS, Contracting Performance Assessment Reporting System that government uses to keep track of contractor performance. Only thing is that to get access to CPARS, you have to be in the government or you’re a primary contractor or look through your network and see who might be able to help you.

You can also speak with small business advocate within each of the federal agency and politely ask them if they have a preferred list of vendors who they like to work with and if asked in the right way, they’ll give you some insights that can help you steer in the right direction of who to work with.”

Robert L.

You can also speak with small business advocate within each of the federal agency and politely ask them if they have a preferred list of vendors who they like to work with and if asked in the right way, they’ll give you some insights that can help you steer in the right direction of who to work with.”

Robert also suggested that if they provide a list of preferred vendors that the government agency likes to work with, you should leverage LinkedIn to find out who the business development person is within that company and reach out to them to make a connection.  Obviously, you’ll need to make sure you’ve done your research and have developed a strategy on what service or product your offering (covered in the last blog post) so that you make it very clear on why you’re reaching out to them and how you can be of value in winning or executing on their contract.

To get started as a sub-contractor, checkout Find Start Grow’s Federal Contracting section for steps on getting started.

If you have any questions or requests for specific topic on federal contracting, feel free to reach out to me.  Better yet, if you have a story about your experience as a sub-contractor that you want to share, drop me a line.  Until the next post, I encourage you to Find your passion, Start your journey, and Grow your dream.

Dave

Dave

Founder & CEO

Entrepreneur, father, husband, golfer, little league baseball coach, and a landlocked surfer.
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