Government Contracts: Are There Opportunities?

government-contracts

01 Nov Government Contracts: Are There Opportunities?

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Government Contracts: Are There Opportunities?

fundingSome of the largest bureaucracies in the world are governments. The sheer amount of organization and paperwork involved in running a government would send most Fortune 500 CEOs running for their collective sanity just attempting to sort it all out. Departments and sub-departments with overlapping responsibilities and objectives become a huge mess very easily. However, the advantage to having organizations this large is that they do have both objectives and responsibilities, and those are often filled by outside help.

In the Fiscal year 2005, over $400 billion was awarded in government contracts in the United States. Another $16.4 billion was spent in credit card purchases by the same government. All transactions between $2,500 and $100,000 are, by law, reserved for small, small disadvantaged, small women-owned, and small minority-owned businesses, meaning that about 10 million contracts were awarded that year to small businesses of all sorts. In fact, only 5% of government contracts are worth more than $100,000, so the majority of United States government business both on the state and federal level goes to small businesses.

Now that you have an idea of the sheer number of available opportunities, ask yourself, “Does the government need the product or service that I’m providing?” The answer might just surprise you.

For example, a one-woman clothing operation that made outfits for special needs children was starting to go under. The owner continued to look at the available government contracts under she found something that she could do. Now she has 40 employees and makes $2.5 million a year producing coveralls for the military. A nine-person machining shop got a similar contract to design tools for aerospace and pharmaceutical companies. A junk yard owner sells his old cars to the Air Force so they can use them for “jaws of life” training.

Unfortunately, there is no central database to find all contract opportunities offered by the government, and the first step will be doing a lot of tedious research looking for what might be available to you. However, once you do find something, keep in mind that there are procedures to follow. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the procedures and regulations that form the backbone for contracting requirements. I won’t go into those here, as that’s a whole other article.

Another thing to keep in mind is that actual business size doesn’t matter for the most part. A business owner might be afraid that their business isn’t large enough to handle government work, but really “large enough” isn’t an issue. One-employee businesses are often awarded contracts. Actually, being small enough to qualify as a “small business” is far more important, which is why you should check with the US Small Business Administration to find out what the industry standard in your area is for small businesses.

While this is in no way a comprehensive listing of how one goes about getting government contracts, it gives you an idea of how much is available to small companies. Not only the Lockheed-Martins and Haliburtons of the world get federal contracts. In fact, they’re in the minority. The trick is being informed and looking for how what you can do can benefit your government.

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