Locating government contracts can be a significant challenge for construction companies new to the world of federal contracting. While there are several different ways to find government contracts, including services you pay for, it’s possible to find them for free. You can use the following methods to find open contracts that fit your expertise, timeline and goals for growth.
Why government contracting?
Government contracts can provide new opportunities and a way to grow your business. While they do require some extra work, like staying compliant with certified payroll regulations, they can open up a new stream of revenue for companies prepared to take them on. There is also a lot of money slated for infrastructure projects due to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This has prompted some construction companies to look closer into government contracting.
Finding government contracts
The following outlets are official sources of federal contracts, operated by the federal government or agencies within the government. They provide all the information needed to locate and bid on open government contracts.
All federal contracts over $25,000 must be advertised on the System for Award Management, otherwise known as SAM. SAM is a federal website that provides contract opportunities, wage determinations, acquisition awards and other helpful information. You can also register as an entity and request a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI), which is required to do business with the federal government. You can search the site without an account, but you will need to create an account if you plan on bidding.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) operates the Subcontracting Network, otherwise known as SubNet. SubNet is a database of currently open subcontracting opportunities. This is a great place to go if you want to be a subcontractor for an established prime contractor. To use the site, you simply select the state you are looking for opportunities in and sort through the opportunities that come up.
The SBA also operates the Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS). This site is used by government agencies that are currently in the market to hire contractors for upcoming contracts. The business profile you create on SAM is shared and searchable on DSBS, so make sure you create a complete and accurate profile there first. You can also use DSBS to see which companies are active within your area, which offers you a bit of insight into your potential competition.
These are programs aimed at helping small businesses win federal contracts. Offered through the SBA, these programs provide mentoring, education on federal contracting and access to contracts with bids restricted to small business. Set-aside contracts are special contracts, typically under $150,000, for companies that meet certain socio-economic conditions. Some set-aside contracts are open to any qualifying small business, but others are restricted to specific types of companies. This includes but is not limited to women-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business.
New to government contracting? Read this article to learn all about it, including the laws that oversee government contracts and the basic requirements to bid on open contracts.