In an article published on April 9, 2019 in CO—, a new digital platform by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Bass, Berry & Sims attorney Todd Overman provided insight on the process of securing federal contracts for small businesses.

Once a business has searched for contracting opportunities and has completed all the necessary registration requirements, it can begin bidding on contracts. Though before bidding, it is important that the company can handle the job the contract requires and that it can meet all of the regulatory requirements – otherwise the contract could ultimately be terminated. “Don’t overpromise in your technical proposal, that becomes part of your contract and you’re going to have to deliver to those technical specs,” Todd explained.

Additionally, the proposal should include pricing information and according to Todd, the company will want to be realistic and not overcharge while also keeping in mind that the government sometimes chooses the best value over the lowest price.

If a company does not win the contract after bidding, it can challenge the award decision by filing a bid protest. “When you are the protestor, you are really trying to throw as much mud at the wall and see what sticks, but your arguments can be dismissed if they’re late or not supported by facts,” Todd said. “You can come up with arguments of why you were evaluated improperly or why the awardee was given too good of an evaluation, like there’s no way that price makes sense or that company has an organizational conflict of interest.”

For businesses who many not be ready to handle a “prime” federal contract, they could consider subcontracting for a larger company that has been awarded a prime contract as many government contracts require large companies to subcontract with smaller ones. “The bidding process is usually much simpler and it’s a great way to get your foot in the door,” Todd said. “It can also help give you past performance references, which will be important down the road if you apply for a prime contract.”

The full article, “How to Boost Your Small Business by Becoming a Government Contractor,” was published on April 9, 2019, on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s new digital platform CO— and is available online.