Explore Opportunities as a Federal Contractor
Small businesses are encouraged by the federal government to take advantage of contracting opportunities, which offer a streamlined registration process.
Federal Contracting: A Door to a Large Customer
The US government is the biggest customer worldwide, purchasing an array of products and services. It is mandated by law to provide small businesses with opportunities to win contracts.
There are two types of government contractors:
- Primary contractors, who participate in the bidding process and directly win contracts with government agencies.
- Subcontractors, who join prime contractor teams to supply a particular product or capability.
To become a prime contractor or subcontractor, your small business must legally qualify as a small business and register as a government contractor. Only then can you pursue contracting opportunities with the federal government.
Abide by Federal Contracting Regulations
The federal government has high standards for the acquisition of products and services. Its objective is to ensure fair competition, competitive prices, compliance with laws, and that customers get what they paid for.
Different regulations apply to each type of federal acquisition. The Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (both available only in English) apply to most federal agencies. It’s crucial to read them carefully. In addition, each organization usually has its own regulations.
Some common regulations include:
- Size standards that vary by industry, which determine whether your business qualifies as a small business.
- Supply regulations that prohibit your company from producing its own materials.
- Legal requirements, such as the Purchase American Act and the Trade Agreements Act.
- Limits on what can be subcontracted and to whom it can be subcontracted.
- The minimum amount that must be spent on labor or materials for the contract.
- To comply with government procurement regulations, it’s necessary to document and report your company’s activities carefully.
Support for Small and Underprivileged Enterprises
The federal government strives to allocate a significant portion of federal contracting funds to small businesses, with a percentage earmarked for companies in the following groups:
- Women-Owned Businesses.
- Small Businesses facing adversity.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses.
- Participants in the HUBzone program.
The United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) Business Development Program provides personal counseling, training workshops, opportunities to meet federal government buyers, and other administrative and technical assistance to socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, enabling them to grow their businesses.