Are you ready for government contracting?

If the answer is yes, contact your PTAC today. PTAC will work with you to review potential markets. The markets could be city, county, state, federal government agencies and large business. We help you interpret regulations and explain how you can “get your foot in the door”.

There are still processes you can begin in order to be a government ready vendor:

  • Know your product or service industry code. The federal government uses the NAICS (North American Industry Code System) as the identifier on solicitations.  https://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics
  • Do you have a Data Universal Numbering System Number?  DUNS is a unique nine-character identification number provided by The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation (D & B).  This FREE number must be requested online by visiting:  http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform  
  • Register your business in the federal database called the System for Award Management at https://sam.gov/
  • Register your business in the State of Illinois database at Sell2Illinois.gov
  • Complete and optimize your SBA profile to increase your chances of being found by government buyers, small business liaisons, large primes, and potential teaming partners.
  • All small businesses can receive certification with the State of Illinois Small Business Set-Aside Program (SBSP).  Declare your business as small at https://www2.illinois.gov/cpo/general/Pages/Sell2Illinois.aspx.
  • Diverse businesses owned by minority, women and service disabled veterans may qualify for certification through the U.S. Small Business Administration at:   https://www.sba.gov/contracting
  • Businesses owned by minorities, women, and persons with disabilities have increased access to State of Illinois contracting opportunities through the Business Enterprise Program (BEP). The Veteran Business Program is available to businesses owned and controlled by qualified veterans.  Both can be accessed through:    https://www2.illinois.gov/cms/business/sell2/bep/Pages/Default.aspx
  • There are federal certifications for federal contracting including HUBZones. Plus, private certifications that large businesses require.
  • Prepare a capability statement as a marketing tool for trade shows, buyer connection visits or email marketing.
  • Review federal government forecasting by agency. You would typically review agencies that are located in your region. For example: Select Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense for US Army Corp of Engineers, US Army, US Navy and US Air Force.
  • Review agencies, contracting officers and solicitations with the State of Illinois.

The federal government operates under the Federal Acquisition Regulations called the Prompt Pay Act. This clause in the FAR establishes payment will be made 30 days after receipt of a proper invoice from your business. This is another reason doing business with federal agencies could be profitable for your business.

Government agencies do not make any products. They are interested in everything from food commodities to construction equipment. The government buys IT services, engineering services, training consultants’ services, manufactured components and many other products and services.

You need to know how to start the process. At first this may seem overwhelming, but not to worry we explain each step. If you have a designated person to register your business as a supplier to agencies or large businesses, that is a great place to start. The registration and certification processes do take time and your business needs to have a computer to have internet availability.

The types of products of interest to the government are commercial meaning off the shelf (COTS). But, they also have an interest with innovative products or services. PTAC advises your business on potential agencies that have an interest. The best initial approach is with agencies that are local to your business. In the ten counties the IL PTAC at Bradley represents, government agencies include: US Department of Agriculture, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Capital Development Board, Illinois State University, Illinois National Guard, each city and each county government.

Leverage is important in the contracting process. Leverage includes:

  • Being a small business: The SBSP and BEP program certifications are important because the State of Illinois agencies issue solicitations called set-asides. The set-aside contract could be for SBSP or BEP. This means only businesses with the SBSP or BEP certification are qualified to submit the bid.
  • Federal agencies also use the set-aside process for contracting. Federal agencies are mandated that 23% of all federal contracts go to small business. Of that 23%, 5% goes to 8(a) minority disadvantaged businesses, 5% goes to women owned businesses, 3% goes to HUBZone businesses (Historically Underutilized Business Zone) and 3% goes to service disabled veteran owned small businesses. There are also price preference rules with some federal certifications.
  • Types of purchase: Micro-purchase, Simplified Acquisition Procedures, Formal/Large Contracts, Sole Source, and Set-Asides are a few. Understand the type of contract you are entering into. There are also fixed pricing schedule contracts such as GSA (General Services Administration).

Remember, nothing takes the place of customer service, fair pricing, prompt delivery, past performance, the quality of the product or service and if you have a unique product or service (innovative). With the competitive aspects of doing business, being a small business has its rewards.

PTAC is a no fee counseling service that is dedicated to helping your business find growth in the government market with your commercial product or service. We can assist you to make the process easier. To learn more about the PTAC program call (309) 677-3297.