Selling to the Government: What You Need to Know

Prevailing wage contractors need to know about the ins and outs of doing business with the federal government in order to succeed. This means learning everything from how to register as a business to knowing how the government buys. Mastery of the different business processes can help prevailing wage contractors maximize the many federal contract opportunities available for government contracting.

Defining the market, accessing resources such as the Small Business Administration, and testing contracting methods are all tips that can help you in government contracting. Another key thing to learn is to know how the government buys.

How the Government Buys from Prevailing Wage Contractors

The federal government purchases a huge bulk of its needed products and services from qualified suppliers. In order to impose certain qualifications on suppliers and bidders, the US government applies a set of standardized procedures and processes. As such, the way the government buys goods and services differs from the way the private sector and the household operate.

Government contracting officials and agencies use procedures that are outlined under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, or the FAR. The FAR is a standardized set of regulations that is followed by all federal bodies when buying from suppliers. It outlines a step-by-step procurement process. This process includes from the time a need for purchasing is set to the moment the purchase is completed.

The FAR is jointly issued by the Department of Defense, the GSA, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The following are some of the sections discussed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, which can be accessed here:

·       Improper Business Practices and Personal Conflicts of Interest

·       Competition Requirements

·       Acquisition Planning

·       Required Sources of Supplies and Services

·       Contractor Qualifications

·       Describing Agency Needs

·       Simplified Acquisition Procedures

·       Sealed Bidding

·       Contracting by Negotiation

·       Types of Contracts

·       Special Contracting Methods

·       Emergency Acquisitions

·       Small Business Programs

·       Application of Labor Laws to Government Acquisitions

As discussed extensively in the FAR, there are a variety of contracting methods that the government can use.

Simplified acquisition procedures, as provided by the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) of 1994, removes many competition restrictions on federal purchases that are valued at less than $100000, though any planned purchases over $25000 still need to be advertised on FedBizOpps by government agencies. Simplified procedures also mean less administrative details, lower approval levels and less documentation.  

Sealed Bidding is done when the requirements are clear, accurate and complete. The government contracts competitively, usually by sending an Invitation For Bid (IDF) containing the necessary details and instructions for bidding. All bids are later read aloud and recorded, and the contract is awarded to the lowest qualifying bidder.

Contracting by Negotiation occurs when the government needs a highly technical product or service and when the contract is valued at more than $100000. The government usually offers a Request for Proposal (RFP), and proposals sent in response can still be negotiated.  

Aside from the set of standardized regulations, it is also important for prevailing wage workers and contractors to know how to access federal business opportunities.

The federal government uses the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) to publicize all procurement opportunities that are projected to exceed $25000. This web-based application is the government-wide point of entry that communicates the federal executive government’s buying requirements to suppliers.

Government Contracting Made Easier with ARCHER JORDAN

To learn more about government contracting and how to comply with the different regulations, especially compliance with prevailing wage and fringe benefit requirements, you need a skilled team of professionals by your side.

ARCHER JORDAN has decades of experience in the industry, offering trust services and third party administration for government contractors and hourly hires.