Introduction To Doing Business with the US And PA Governments
INTRODUCTION TO DOING BUSINESS AS A US OR PAGOVERNMENT CONTRACTOR JOHNSTOWN AREA REGIONAL INDUSTRIES PROCUREMENT TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER
THE FINE PRINT◊ This presentation is intended to be general information only. It does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with competent legal counsel for government contracting issues.◊ Reference to any private vendor is for example purposes only and is not an endorsement.◊ Other techniques, methods, approaches, and considerations may be just as workable as items presented herein.◊ Resources provided may change over time, or become outdated.◊ You must be connected to the Internet for embedded links to function.
YOUR OBJECTIVES FOR TODAY◊ Stay awake!!!◊ Learn: Assistance that’s available to you and where you can get it. The BASICS of U.S. & PA government contracting. People make careers of knowing this stuff. Some fundamentals about marketing and participating in the US & PA government marketplaces.
PTACS ARE YOUR PALS!◊ A nationwide network of local offices that facilitate business participation in government markets.◊ Little or no cost to you. Budgeted by Congress.◊ Administered by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).◊ More info: www.aptac-us.org
PTACS HELP GOVERNMENTS AND CITIZENS Increased knowledge, capability, and availability of the nation’s government’s supply chain. Increased competition. Improved quality of goods and services. Lower costs. Increased delivery reliability. Taxpayer gets more “Bang for the Buck.”
ANNUAL PTAC IMPACTS◊ 75,000 client organizations, over 20,000 brand new to government contracting.◊ Host or support over 5,500 events with over 335,000 attendees.◊ Hold over 180,000 business counseling sessions.◊ Assist clients in winning over 127,000 contracts totaling over $17.4 billion. These efforts create and retain over 320,000 jobs, and reflect a $600+ return for each $1 invested in the PTAC program.
WHAT PTACS EXPECT OF CLIENTS◊ Progress toward becoming a viable government contracting candidate.◊ A local place of business.◊ Computer capability.◊ Information about your organization and its operations.◊ Active pursuit of procurement opportunities.◊ Quarterly contract and employment data.◊ Client feedback at least annually.
WHAT PTACS WON’T DO◊ Serve as an official business representative or agent for your organization.◊ Market or sell for your organization.◊ Write your bid/proposal for you.◊ Make your business decisions.◊ Release information specific to your organization without your prior approval.◊ Accept compensation or gifts.
YOUR LOCAL PTAC IS A VALUABLE SOURCE OF FREE OR LOW COSTEXPERTISE THAT CAN ASSIST YOU IN VIRTUALLY EVERY ASPECT OFDOING BUSINESS WITH FEDERAL, STATE, OR REGIONAL/LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.
CLASS ROLE CALL◊ Your name and title.◊ Your company name.◊ What your company does.◊ What you do at your company.◊ Why are you here? What do you want to learn? What specific topics interest you?
U.S. CIVICS 101 REVISITED See: U.S. Constitution DOD“Supreme Law of the Land” Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, DLA, etc. Executive Field Installations President Cabinet Departments Independent Agencies DHS, HHS, DOJ, DOD, etc. GSA, USPS, CIA, EPA, NASA, etc. Government Corporations Quasi-Official Agencies AMTRAK, FDIC, etc. Smithsonian Institution, etc. Legislative Support Organizations House / Senate Library of Congress, Government Printing Office, etc. Judicial Supreme Court Lower Courts Special Courts Support Organizations U.S. District Courts, etc. U.S. Tax Court, etc. U.S. Sentencing Commission, etc.
PA CIVICS 101 REVISITED See: PA Constitution Executive Governor Agencies Offices DGS, PASSHE, Penn DOT, etc. Inspector General, etc. Commissions and Councils Boards Game, Turnpike, etc. PLCB, etc. Legislative Bureaus and Authorities PENNVEST, etc. House / Senate Judicial Supreme Court “Others” County governments, etc. Lower Courts U.S. District Courts, etc.
EVERY GOVERNMENT AGENCY, OFFICE, DEPARTMENT,INSTALLATION, BASE, ETC., ETC.,ETC. IS A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER.
FEDERAL PURCHASING◊ The World’s Biggest Customer: $517 B in purchases (2010).◊ Buys EVERYTHING: 36% for supplies/equipment (electronics, transportation, metal-based products). 35% for services (engineering, R & D, business, health). 19% for agricultural products, communications, utilities, finance, and administration. 7% for construction. 3% for wholesale/retail.
THE FEDERAL PROCUREMENT DOLLAR (2010)◊ $0.64 DOD ($331 B): Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. Defense Logistics Agency: Defense Supply Centers and related.◊ $.36 civilian agencies: VA, Justice, HHS, SSA, GSA . . .◊Funnels down through prime contractors and their subcontractors.
HOW THE FEDS BUY: PLASTIC◊ Credit card (“SmartPay”) See: micro-purchases. Generally, up to $3,000 for products, $2,500 for services, $2,000 for construction. (About 70% of all procurement transactions.)◊ 2009: 3.4 M cards. 91.4M transactions (250+ K transactions/day). $29.6 B.◊ Merchant requirement: Accept VISA or MasterCard.◊ Can also be used to make contract / task order payments in certain instances.
HOW THE FEDS BUY: WEB EXAMPLES◊ DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS): Submit quotes on RFQs See: and retrieve other procurement information.◊ DOD EMALL: “Amazon.com” See: for authorized government customers.◊ GSA: Advantage, Global Supply, Multiple Award Schedules, See: Government Wide Acquisition Contracts, etc.◊ Fedbid.com: Commercial. Reverse auctions.
HOW THE FEDS BUY: MORE WEB / EMAIL◊ “Simplified Acquisition Procedures”◊ Generally, purchases of $3,000 to $150,000. (About 95% of all contracts.)◊ 2010: More than 585,000 SA contract actions totaling $9,442,964,485.◊ Nominal SAP process: Use e-commerce. 1. Request For Quotation (RFQ), either informal ($10-$25K) or formal (>$25K) notification. 2. Oral or written RFQ responses. 3. Purchase Order (PO) or Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).
HOW THE FEDS BUY: PAPER◊ Generally, higher dollars = paper.◊ More formal solicitation process: Invitation To Bid (ITB): Sealed bid to obtain lowest cost. Request For Proposal (RFP): Negotiated to obtain best value.◊ Uniform Contract Format (UCF). SF 33: Here and here.◊ Two primary contract types: See: Fixed price and cost reimbursement.◊ “Contract Vehicle,” e.g., IDIQ.
FEDS SMALL BUSINESS SPENDING FOCUS◊ Generally, purchases of $3,000 to $100,000 are reserved (“set aside”) for “small businesses.”◊ “Rule of Two.” Business Size See:◊ Dollar goals: Set Asides See: 23%: Small business. 5%: Disadvantaged businesses (SDB) and 8(a) businesses. 5%: Women-owned (WOSB) businesses. 5%: HUBZone businesses. 3%: Service-disabled, veteran-owned (SDVOB) businesses.
MORE FEDERAL PURCHASING INFO◊ USA Spending: See:◊ Federal Procurement Data System: See:◊ Procurement Forecasts.
PA COMMONWEALTH PURCHASING◊ One of the largest state government buyers: $3 billion in purchases each year.◊ Buys EVERYTHING: Materials. Services. Construction.◊ Small business focus: Annual written report to the General Assembly concerning the awarding of contracts to small and disadvantaged businesses.
PA DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES (DGS)◊ One of the largest agencies in PA government.◊ Oversees procurement of goods and services.◊ Manages non-highway capital projects; PennDOT complements for highway capital projects.◊ Responsible for numerous core operations of state government.◊ PA’s real estate agent and insurance broker. See:
HOW THE COMMONWEALTH BUYS◊ E-Marketplace: The online portal for bids, awards, and other contract information. See:◊ Standing contract vehicles: COSTARS and Invitation To Qualify (ITQ): PA’s “GSA Schedules.”◊ More Commonwealth purchasing info: Treasury E-Contracts Library: Online centralized source of information about Pennsylvania government goods and services contracts.
GOVERNMENTS ARE THE LARGEST PURCHASING ENTITY IN THE WORLD, BUYING TRILLIONS OFDOLLARS WORTH OF GOODS ANDSERVICES EACH YEAR, INCLUDING EVERYTHING FROM TOOTHPICKSTO JUNKED CARS TO WILDLIFEARTISTRY SERVICES TO CANCER RESEARCH.
EXPECTATIONS: POTENTIAL VENDOR◊ From Easy . . . “Here I am! Where’s my government contract?” “Yinz guys kin git me a guvment contract, right?” “My company has hit a downturn. Where can I get a government contract till times get better?”◊ To Impossible . . . “Government contracting is political. It’s rigged and funneled to the insiders.” “The big guys grab all the business.” “Ill never know enough about this mysterious and complicated market to have any success in it.”
EXPECTATIONS: GOVERNMENT◊ A quality product or service . . .◊ From a reputable vendor . . .◊ Delivered on time, every time . . .◊ At a competitive price. Simply put, governments need the best support in the world from vendors that are responsive, responsible, and pay attention to details. Lives may depend on it!
TAKING INVENTORY OF YOUR COMPANY◊ Performance history: Past success stories of satisfied clients.◊ Commitment from management: Investing resources will incur market entry costs.◊ Focused marketing: Identify government customers who are ready to buy your specific product.◊ Sales: You have to do the work. No one is going to deliver business to you. Requires personal contact, not direct mail/fax/email.
TAKING INVENTORY OF YOUR COMPANY◊ Size: Not necessarily important. Many contracts are awarded to companies of 5 or fewer. Some “set asides” are available. Consider teaming to fill gaps.◊ Financial resources: Is your business financially stable? Are you making payroll and other payments?◊ Quality: For manufacturing especially, you need some type of formal, documented quality plan in place. ISO 9000 preferred.
TAKING INVENTORY OF YOUR COMPANY◊ Office management: Need organization, accuracy of files and records, and documentation of important transactions.◊ Technology: You’ll need email and access to agency web sites. Getting paid: Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Perhaps item tracking via RFID.
DOING BUSINESS WITHGOVERNMENTS AND THEIR PRIME CONTRACTORS REQUIRESCOMMITMENT AND FOCUS, BUT IT CAN BE DONE. ABOUT 15,000SMALL BUSINESSES RECEIVE THEIR FIRST FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT EACH YEAR. IF THEY CAN DO IT, YOU CAN TOO.
CONTRACTING LEGAL OVERVIEW◊ Commercial: Uniform Commercial Code and common law. (Subcontracts.)◊ Federal government: Many statutes and regulations for agencies and vendors that dictate things such as: How an agency can solicit a contract. How an agency can negotiate or award a contract. What costs the agency will reimburse. How a vendor must account for costs. Vendors’ socio-economic obligations.
SOME EARLY FEDERAL HISTORY◊ The Armed Services Procurement Act: Governs acquisitions by defense agencies.◊ Federal Property and Administrative Services Act: Governs acquisitions by civilian agencies.◊ Competition in Contracting Act: Requires federal agencies to seek and obtain "full and open competition" wherever possible.
MORE FED HISTORY: FASA / FARA◊ Established commercial items as preferred products.◊ Micro Purchase (Under $3,000): Sole source using a government credit card. Same day sales cycle.◊ Simplified Acquisition Purchase ($3,000- $150,000): Small business focus.◊ Large Purchase (Over $150,000): Formal documentation of procurement.
THE FEDERAL ACQUISITION BIBLE: “FAR”◊ The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) contains the rules governing the federal contracting process: See:◊ Federal departments may have their own supplements, for example: DOD: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS). Navy: Navy Marine Corps Acquisition Regulation Supplement (NMCARS).
FAR “CLAUSES” IN CONTRACTS◊ Clauses = terms and conditions.◊ Not uncommon for a typical contract to contain 50-75 standard FAR clauses.◊ Many, by regulation, are non-negotiable.◊ A mandatory contract clause that affects fundamental acquisition policy will be read into the contract even where the government inadvertently omitted it.◊ Clauses may or may not “flow down” from prime contractors to subcontractors.
FAR CONTRACTING UNIQUENESS◊ Many government contract clauses have no commercial equivalents.◊ Three of the more prominent unique clauses: Termination for Convenience Changes Default◊ Good overview @ findlaw.com:
FAR EXCEPTIONS◊ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).◊ United States Postal Service (USPS).◊ Some “quasi-governmental” agencies: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).◊ Beyond FAR (an example): Federal Information Processing Standards Understand the requirements of your particular contracting agency!
PENNSYLVANIA CONTRACTING REGULATIONS◊ The Pennsylvania Procurement Handbook: Online only; no hardcopy. Part 1-Policies & Guidelines. Part 2-Procurement of Supplies Procedures. Part 3-Procurement of Services Procedures. Part 4-Procurement of Design & Construction Services.◊ Title 62 Procurement.
THE RULES OF DOING BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENTS AREDIFFERENT FROM THE COMMERCIALARENA. IT IS CRITICAL TO KNOW HOW THE PROCESS WORKS WITH EACH CONTRACTING AGENCY!
FEDS: CENTRAL CONTRACTOR REGISTRATION◊ CCR: The primary supplier database for the Federal government.◊ Collects data from suppliers, validates and stores this data, and makes it available to government acquisition agencies.◊ Companies must be registered prior to contract or purchase agreement award. See:
CCR ID NUMBERS◊ Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS): Unique 9 character identification number provided by Dun & Bradstreet.◊ DUNS + 4: Affiliates or divisions.◊ Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code: 5 digit code used to ID a specific facility/location.◊ U.S. Tax Identification Number (TIN): 9 digit income tax number issued by the IRS.
CCR COMPANY INFORMATION◊ Name, DBA, address, date started, date FY closes, average # employees, annual revenue.◊ Corporate status: Choose one: Sole proprietorship, etc.◊ Business type: Check all that apply: Small business, veteran owned business, nonprofit organization, etc.
CCR COMPANY CLASSIFICATION CODES◊ North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Code: Used to classify business establishments by their primary type of activity for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.◊ Note: The NAICS Codes you use in your CCR profile do NOT limit you to what you can bid on. Also, the NAICS on a Federal solicitation will determine your size classification for that solicitation.
CCR COMPANY CLASSIFICATION CODES◊ Federal Supply Classification (FSC) and Product Service Code (PSC): Codes used by government buying offices to classify and identify the products, supplies, and services that they buy. See:
OTHER CCR INFORMATION◊ Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Information: ABA Routing #, Account #, Authorization date, bank Automated Clearinghouse Coordinator.◊ Registration Acknowledgement/Point of Contact: Receives Trading Partner Identification Number (TPIN).
CCR+: DYNAMIC SMALL BUSINESS SEARCH◊ CCR Perk: Automatic entry into the Dynamic Small Business Search (formerly “PRO-Net”).◊ A searchable database of small businesses used by government buyers, prime contracting officers, and others to identify needed products and services.◊ The. BEST. Business. Directory. Ever. See:
ANOTHER FED PREREQUISITE: ORCA◊ Online Representations and Certifications Application (ORCA): Defines vendors in areas such as business size, cost accounting standards, past debarments, and company ownership. Replaces paper-based Reps and Certs required each time a contract is bid. See:
SBA SOCIO-ECONOMIC CERTIFICATIONS◊ Woman-owned (WOSB): Owned 51% or more by a woman or women. Self or 3rd party certifying. Set asides. Info at the SBA Office of Womens Business Ownership page.◊ HUBZone: Historically Underutilized Business Zone. SBA certified. Set asides. Info at the SBA HUBZone page.
SBA SOCIO-ECONOMIC CERTIFICATIONS◊ Veteran-owned: Owned 51% by a veteran(s): Self certifying. No set asides. Info at the SBA Office of Veterans Business Development page.◊ Service-disabled veteran-owned (SDVOB): Owned 51% by a service-disabled veteran(s). VA certifies disabled status. Set asides. Info at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs page.
SBA SOCIO-ECONOMIC CERTIFICATIONS◊ Small Disadvantaged Business: Owned 51% by one or more individuals who are socially (racial/ethnic prejudice, cultural bias) and economically (diminished capital and credit opportunities) disadvantaged: Self certifying. No set asides. Info at the SBA Small Disadvantaged Business page.
SBA SOCIO-ECONOMIC CERTIFICATIONS◊ 8(a): Ownership same as SDB: Nine year participation period. Provides access to a broad scope of SBA services, not just contracts. SBA certified. Set asides. Mentor-Protégé program. (Note: Additional non 8(a) MP programs exist.) Info at the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program page.
OTHER FEDERAL REGISTRATIONS◊ GSA Schedules.◊ Some Federal entities have additional processes, e.g., the Navy. See:◊ Subcontracting to prime contractors often requires vendor registration with the prime. See:
PENNSYLVANIA REGISTRATION◊ PA DGS registered prior to bidding on PA DGS solicitations. Similar to CCR.◊ PA DGS Woman or Minority Owned Enterprise (WBE/MBE): PA equivalent to SBA WOSB/SDB socio-economic certifications with similar restrictions. No set asides. Additional “points” awarded on proposals.◊ PennDOT registered prior to bidding on PennDOT solicitations.
DOING WORK WITH GOVERNMENTS AND THEIR CONTRACTORS REQUIRES A VARIETY OF REGISTRATIONS AND CERTIFICATIONS. (YOUR LOCAL PTAC CAN HELP YOU THROUGH THE “PAPERWORK.”)
MARKETING & SALES STRATEGY◊ ID your core competencies. “We do anything and everything” is TKOD.◊ ID and target relevant buyers.◊ Prepare marketing collateral: #1 with a bullet is the Capabilities Statement.◊ Determine procurement cycles if they exist.◊ “Meet and Greet” the right people: Contracting Officers, Program Managers, End Users, Internal “Champions,” etc.◊ Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up . . .
FINDING LEADS: ELECTRONICALLY◊ FedBizOpps.◊ PA e-Marketplace.◊ Bidmatching services: Your company profile is automatically compared to solicitations and you are notified of those that appear relevant.◊ Subcontracting: Prime contractor websites or SBA’s Sub-NET.
FINDING LEADS: PEOPLE◊ Agency & Prime Contractor Small Business Specialists (Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization, Small Business Liaison Officer): Most government agencies and larger prime contractors have procurement offices with specialists that work with small businesses. Can provide information about the agency or prime, what they buy, and how to do business with them.◊Trade shows, conferences, etc.
THE BIDDING PROCESS◊ Get the bid/solicitation package: From the web. Contact the buyer directly.◊ Review the bid carefully! When submitted, it becomes your contract.◊ Request a “buy history” if one is available.◊ Get clarification, in writing, of ambiguities or mistakes in the bid package.
THE BIDDING PROCESS◊ Attend pre-bid meetings.◊ Do a walk-through if possible (construction and service type contracts).◊ Prepare the Bid/Proposal: Get key players involved in preparing your bid. Understand the rules/details that apply to your particular procurement opportunity. Follow the prescribed procedures for the bid exactly.
THE BIDDING PROCESS◊ Prepare the Bid/Proposal (cont.) Get technical data: specifications, standards, drawings, engineering design and manufacturing documents. Develop competitive pricing. Write your bid/proposal. Have another knowledgeable party proofread your bid/proposal. Questions should be directed to the Contracting Officer.◊ Submit Your Bid on Time!
YOUR EVALUATION: BID EVALUATION PROCESS◊ Your bid meets all essential requirements, including exact conformance to specs, drawings, materials, delivery dates, etc.◊ Pre-Award Survey: Technical and Production Capability. Performance Record. Quality Control Systems. Financial Stability. Qualifying Supplier Capability.
YOU’VE WON A CONTRACT! NOW WHAT?◊ Re-read the contract.◊ Record important contacts.◊ Resolve any questions.◊ Keep accurate records.◊ Determine internal responsibilities.◊ Issue supply orders and plan production.◊ Produce/provide the product/service.◊ Review quality control program.◊ Get paid.
THERE ARE NUMEROUS STEPS INVOLVED FROM THE TIME YOU BEGIN LOOKING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY UNTIL YOU AREACTUALLY PAID FOR YOUR WORK. IT TAKES ORGANIZATION AND DISCIPLINE TO BE SUCCESSFUL.