Contractors have to go through a long journey of searching, locating and bidding on to the final steps involving fulfilment of various criteria and certification before landing a government contract. The entire process of bidding for a government contract is quite tedious as compared to construction contracts in the private sector. That is why; many contractors do not intend to go through the hassle of bidding for a government construction contract. Nevertheless, do you know that the United States government spends around $250 billion on the construction of different public infrastructures, roads, schools, and hospitals, etc.? There are numerous opportunities for the contractors in government sector. Keeping in view the profitability in this sector, we have compiled a list that will help you to land a government construction contract.
Whenever you are bidding for a government sector contract, you are competing with small and large construction firms in this “open competition”. It is important to do all the homework, paperwork, and ensure all the certifications required to bid for a government sector contract. First thing first, you need to formulate a smart strategy by getting yourself well organized.
You should get your business registered in the online Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database. A majority of the firms are registered with the database. However, you should update the profile, related information and data every year to avoid the last-minute hassle. Moving forward to the next important thing, you should complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application (OCRA). You can only apply for a government construction contract if you have completed an Online Central Contractor Registration Application (OCRA).
This process is important and proves effective during the bidding process. All the information is stored online and accessible to different federal agency procurement officials. Since all the documents and paperwork are completed during this process, so it saves a lot of your time during the bidding process. All the information must be true and updated as the evaluation is done based on this information.
Summary of Government construction contract
- Step 1: The construction company should be registered with OCR. Also, check the SBA size standard to complete for projects set aside for small businesses.
- Step 2: Searching for government contracts online and doing background research.
- Step 3: Three types of bonds are required for landing a government construction contract. These bonds include bid bonds, payment bonds, and performance bonds. For small businesses, SBA offers a surety bond guarantee program.
- Step 4: It involves different procurement methods to land government construction contract. For example, invitations to bid, requests for proposals (RFP), pre-award protests, post-award protests, and bid bonds.
Government Contract Search Strategy
Do not wait for the Government to post an invitation for bidding online and in papers. You need to devise a smart strategy by doing background research and exploring different possibilities. One effective way is to register at the Federal opportunities websites to keep your up-to-dated with the latest news and projects. The method requires a proactive approach to doing on-ground research to explore possibilities of government projects like schools, hospitals, and community centers, etc. You should perform a regular analysis based on a focused geographical location about different government contract opportunities.
Knowledge about Small Business Administration (SBA)
The government has special incentive programs and contracts for small businesses. These contracts come under the domain of the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA has standardized the size of the businesses that can be categorized as small businesses. The size standard depends upon the average annual receipts and varies between $14 million to $35.5 million subject to the market.
It is an advantageous situation for small businesses as the competition is now restricted as several construction contracts are allocated to small businesses only. Moreover, the government provides financial assistance and low-interest loans to small firms. There are mentorship programs designed by the government that allows the interaction between small and large businesses. These relationships can turn into subcontracts and joint ventures in the future.
Attention to Terms and conditions
The contractors recognize that the terms and conditions clauses in the government construction contracts are quite different as compared to any other private commercial project. You should scrutinize all the clauses involving wages, accountability, cost tracking, and funds allocation, etc. The contracts can be of different types like lump sum or a cost-reimbursement contract. As a contractor, it is important to evaluate all the clauses, contract value, and the type of services required in the project. The government evaluates different contractors based on their capability to follow the construction contract’s terms and conditions.
Building strong relations play a constructive role in the construction field. When you are doing research and doing the bidding process, it will be beneficial for you to visit different government offices for assistance and networking. You can also contact other firms applying for different government contracts to learn from their experiences.
The overall process of landing a government construction process is both time-consuming and exhausting. On the other side, it has benefits, SBA programs, grants, and financial growth. It does not matter if you are a large or small business as government as designated projects for different construction firms. Applying for government construction contracts is quite a systematic process. Once, you open diverse avenues of countless government contracts once done with all the registrations and online applications. The government categorizes different businesses based on their size to allocate the related construction contracts.
The bidding process is the most essential learning phase for construction firms. Only a thorough and dedicated business can land a government construction contract. If you follow the rules and procedures and pay attention to the contract clauses then you will be able to complete the contract application. This phase serves as a make or break point for the majority of the construction firms.
A piece of advice to the construction firms is to stay persistent and patient in applying for government construction contractors. It may not be necessary to hit the jackpot at the first attempt. However, multiple attempts are required to polish the contract application. The key to land a government construction contract is to invest time, money, and resources.