Time to read: 5 min
The old saying “Time is money” may be a cliché, but like many clichés, it’s rooted in a truth we all recognize. FedScout recognizes it, too. That’s why we’re here to help save you time and money—to say nothing of energy—in your work.
Below we discuss some issues around partnering with others to increase your chances of success in the federal market. Taking the time to explore partnerships can ultimately save you time when it comes to federal contracts—and help you make money.
Teaming Up for Success
In some cases, you won’t be pursuing federal projects on your own. There are a number of scenarios in which your odds of bidding successfully on a contract will increase if you have a partner.
The most obvious situation here would be projects with specific set-asides that require you to partner with someone else in order to meet basic criteria. If you want to bid on a project aimed at women and small business, but you’re neither, you obviously need a partner who meets this requirement.
You may also encounter projects that are only open to bidders who are already part of federal government contracts like IDIQ or Oasis. If you’re not under those umbrellas, finding a partner who is can open up opportunities.
The evaluation criteria for some federal projects require examples of past performance in the area. If three such examples are required and you have only one or two, teaming up with a contractor with similar experience can get you in the bidding door.
Similarly, some contracts may stipulate experience with a specific client or proximity to a particular location. Perhaps you’re an experienced cybersecurity provider, but a project requires that you have experience working with the US Navy—and you don’t. Or you do, but you’re not near the base specified in the RFP, and so you don’t have people on the ground there. Once again, the right partner with the experience or logistics you’re missing can get you to the starting line.
Finding that Perfect Match
So a partner can be just what you need when responding to a federal RFP—if you can find the right one. Searching for the perfect partner can take time, but the right match will be worth it.
We recommend that you start your partner search on the USA Spending site. This site will allow you to enter criteria that will present you with a pool of possible partners—and the more layered your terms, the narrower the pool will become.
In this instance, you may want to click on Type of Set Aside in the left-hand column and select Women-Owned Small Business.
You might then specify a date range in the left-hand column to ensure that you’ll be looking at businesses that have been active in the federal market recently.
You can then select for location. Further filtering—for instance, for type of work—will narrow things down even more. You can then check out the profile of any business that ends up in your selection pool.
One of the things that profile will provide you with is the business’s DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) number.
Dropping that into the Dynamic Small Business Search page of the US Small Business Administration site will provide you with even more info.
Supplement these more specialized tools with Google searches for the company or people you’re interested in. All this data taken together should help you make an informed decision about approaching potential partners.
A Good Fit?
Of course, there’s no question that gathering information and trying to flesh out your sense of a partner through online data isn’t the same thing as working with a company and knowing its people and culture. But there are questions you can ask whose answers may fill in more subtle gaps in your knowledge. These questions include the following:
- Does the potential partner have multiple awards from the same client, indicating they’ve worked with the same clients repeatedly? This implies a certain level of maturity.
- Does this company have IDIQs, GWACs, BPAs, and/or BOAs in place? These are marks of trust on the part of the federal market.
- Is the company a straightforward commodity contractor delivering a product, or is it a thought partner with the government—a true advisor or consultant doing more sophisticated work, like R&D?
It’s worth your while to put in the time to find like-minded businesses whose expertise and aims complement your own. This can open up new horizons for you in the federal market.