Government Contracts: How to Bid
By Lori Bratz
Everyone thinks that winning a government contract isÂ a bigÂ payday.Â Think again.Â Most companies earn only 15% profit on their governement contracts, which is, of course, a decent margin.Â In addition toÂ the contract NOT being a huge financial windfall, there is an enormous amount of paperwork and preparationÂ involved.Â You may want to hire a consultant who specializes in government contracting or commitÂ a dedicated staffer to just do the legwork.Â Â
Don’t bother sharpening an elevator pitch.Â The federal government does not take unsolicited calls or proposals from the general business public.Â They are interested in creating as level a playing field as they can.Â Â When the Federal Government needs a vendor they open the bidding to all registered, qualifiedÂ vendors.Â Â So, roll up your sleeves and prepare to do lots of legwork so you’llÂ beÂ ready when/if the Federal Government invites you (and all your registered competitors) to bid on their projects.
Step 1:Â Make sure yourÂ website is in good order.Â Your website needs to look professional, be easy to navigate and have no objectionable content.Â The Federal Government is populated with lots of very serious grownups.Â They will not award a government contract to an organization that does not look like it will take the responsibility seriously.Â That goes for most of the big companies that have sizeable project budgets.
Step 2: You must be registered with Dunn & Bradstreet.Â D&B serves as a central location that lists all businesses with a 9 digit DUNS number.Â It registers and keeps track of all businesses seeking to work with the Federal Government.Â You will not be able to get a DUNS without getting a Master Business License with your state.Â (This articleÂ assumes that your business is a legitimate, tax-paying entity).
Step 3: Set up a comprehensive profile with the Central Contractors Registry.Â You’ll need your DUNS number for that.Â
Step 4:Â When you are invited to bid on a contract, make a serious and reasonable bid.Â Â You don’t want to bid so low that it’s not profitable.Â Once you are awarded a contract and agree to the terms, you have to deliver to the letter of the terms.Â Make sure it’s worth your time and that you can actually satisfy the contract.
Good luck to you.