Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Finding Federal Contract Opportunities

Finding Federal contract opportunities is a challenge of its own, to say nothing of the bidding process and the complexities involved in performing and administering contracts.

FedBizOpps (http://www.fbo.gov) is the starting point, but by no means the be all and end all. Indeed, it's fair to say that many postings on FedBizOpps are not going to be realistic for most local small businesses to bid.

Some ideas for using FedBizOpps:

1) Jump right into the Advanced Search, because that's where you can narrow things down by Classification Codes or NAICS Codes.

One quick tip: in the listing of Classification Codes, you will see the Federal Supply Groups first (ranging from 10 to 99), but if you scroll all the way past 99, that's where the A to Z listing of Product Service Codes begins. It's all in one menu.

However, FSGs are mostly applicable to manufacturers and distributors. PSCs are largely applicable to service and construction contractors. Sometimes contracting offices throw service contract opportunities into FSG 99 - Miscellaneous, simply because there is no such leftover category on the PSC (alphabetical) side.

2) Use it as a telephone directory of contracting officers and contract specialists. Even if that particular opportunity is not geared toward you, ask the Point of Contact (POC) for that solicitation for the names of both their Small Business Specialist and their Small Purchase coordinators.

3) Look for sources sought notices. These are not immediate bidding opportunities, but instead a formal way in which Federal agencies might do market research. They are looking to see how many vendors, and in particular how many small business vendors, are out there that can complete the job as required.

4) Realize that many opportunities will only have a brief synopsis on FedBizOpps. The detailed solicitation packages may require accessing or even registering on another separate website, such as the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS), or Army Single Face to Industry (ASFI).

For more information on using FedBizOpps, please contact MO PTAC.