Last week on our BRITEside Chat we sat down with Joey Scott, Director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at Youngstown State University. Joey gave us a run through of the do’s and don’ts of government contracting. While it sounds easy, government contracting can be a little complicated but, like most entrepreneurial ventures, it just takes persistence.
What does it take?
According to Joey, becoming a government contractor takes determination. After that there are two key factors that play into becoming a contractor. This first of these is having the right product & setting up your company well to do business with the government. and building relationships. Your product has to be useful for the government and serve their needs.
The other factor is relationship building. If you build the right network, you could potentially find an in that could help you secure a contract. In contracting there are two people you’ll deal with: the end user and the contract officer.
How do I get the contract?
First and foremost, the contract officer writes the contract and selects the company to fulfill the contractor. They’re looking for the best value. This doesn’t just mean the best price; rather they look for a product that meets the needs of the contract while offering a reasonable price. If you can convince them your product can do this, you can close the deal.
Additionally, if you connect with the end users, you can introduce them to your product or service and prove your value to them. They could ask the contract officer to write certain details into the contract, which could automatically give you an upper hand.
How does the government look at value?
Value used to mean “the lowest cost”. But the focus has shifted to trying to get good, quality work. This includes things like your ability to fulfill the contract on time and your level of expertise. Like many of us, the government wants products and services that work well. If you can offer this to them then you can prove that you offer value and potentially secure a contract.
What role does the PTAC play?
The PTAC exists to help identify and diversify businesses capable of working and contracting with the government. In an effort to increase the Defense Industrial Base, PTAC’s ensure that more businesses, and especially small businesses, are equipped to be contractors. This way, the government can get access to some of the best equipment possible.