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Federal Government Contracts and Bids

The US federal government is the single largest buyer. If you are considering winning federal government contracts and bids, you need to understand how federal government contracts and bids are solicited and awarded.

The federal government issues government contracts and bids through the US General Services Administration (GSA). GSA buys billions of dollars worth of products and services for the federal government agencies through contract vehicles.

Products and services that are purchased by the GSA range from cleaning and food services to IT, telecommunication, and construction contracts. Most GSA contracts are for standard services and products and equipment, including: general-purpose supplies, equipment, and services, building construction, repair, and maintenance, information technology and network services, office space and other real estate (purchase or lease), and vehicles for all federal agencies (purchase or lease).

GSA advertises the federal government contracts and bids locally and nationally. GSA is an advocate for small, small disadvantaged, women-owned, HUBZone (Historically Underutilized Business Zone), veteran, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. Some small business programs also have "set asides" under which certain contracts are reserved for competition among small or small disadvantaged businesses.

Despite of the large number of federal bids and contracts advertised by GSA, government vendors and contractors should not limit themselves to GSA contracts alone. The following are some reasons:

  • Due to the complexity, it is expensive to set up GSA contracts, which often involves hiring of outside consultants specialized in GSA.
  • Not every vendor is qualified as a federal government contractor per GSA Schedule product or service.
  • GSA contracts often have lower profit margins due to how services are priced and an increased level of competition
  • GSA contracts are very specific and the there is little flexibility in pricing, product and quantities
  • GSA Schedule is not used by every government agency
  • Even if you have win a GSA contract in the past, the federal government agencies may not know about your services or contact you for new contracts. So you must continue to market your business to the federal government.
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