You may have heard of business owners who say they grew their business by winning government contracts, and wondered what that means, and if contracting with the government to buy your products and services is right for you. At the Northwest Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (NWLA PTAC), we understand those thoughts and are here to help you make informed decisions through no-fee, confidential counseling, support, and training.
State and federal agencies spend more than $500 billion on goods and services each year. That’s a lot of money, and a big opportunity to grow your business. Since most federal purchases under $250,000 are reserved for small businesses, you can bid on government contracts no matter the size of your business. “The government buys almost everything, from paper and pens to buildings and boxes to every type of service imaginable. It is one of the largest consumers of goods and services,” according to Marla Poirier, BAFB Director of Purchasing. “If you are an existing business looking to expand your revenue streams, look at government contracting.”
So how do you know if you are ready to enter the government marketplace?
- Your business is viable and solvent without government contracting. You don’t need the government to survive, only to grow. PTAC counselor, Jennifer Whittington, shared, “We tend not to work with startups or companies that are not doing well in business. You must have the potential for success and a positive track record to win government contracts.”
- You have sufficient income and working capital to allow for delayed (30-60 days) payments, since the government payment process can move slowly. Employees and materials need to be already in place, for example.
- You have a Tax Identification Number, internet access, an e-mail account, a bank account, are set up to accept credit cards, and have two years of past performance.
The mission of the NWLA PTAC is to increase the number of government contracts awarded to northwest Louisiana businesses, thereby creating and retaining jobs. “We want to bring federal dollars here,” stated Dr. Tim Magner, President the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, “and keep local and state dollars from flowing out. Yes, it is competitive; that’s why the NWLA PTAC exists: to help our local companies understand and manage the process, mandatory procedures, and paperwork needed to apply for those contracts.”
The NWLA PTAC is here to help you:
- Do the research to determine whether or not the government typically buys the products and services you sell, and assess your readiness for government contracting.
- Identify your products and services in government classification codes (NAICS, DUNS, CAGE)
- Register on the various databases necessary to participate in the government marketplace, including System for Award Management (SAM), the SBA’s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS), as well as other government vendor databases and help you optimize your registrations and profiles to attract government buyers.
- Obtain certifications to give you a competitive edge, such 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business, HUBZone, Veteran Owned Small Business, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, Woman Owned Small Business, Minority or Women Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE), Louisiana Department of Transportation SBE/DBE, Louisiana’s Hudson, SEBD, and Veterans Initiatives, City of Shreveport Fair Share, and Opportunity Caddo.
- Identify opportunities through our Bid Match Service, where we track local, state, and federal bid opportunities from 2,500 different websites and alert you via e-mail to those that match your product and service profile.
- Navigate even the most difficult solicitation package, including securing necessary specifications and drawings and understanding pricing considerations. As a NWLA PTAC Client, you will never need to pass up a great contract opportunity just because the solicitation appears too complex or complicated. “PTAC is a great timesaver,” Rickey Hall, Hall Builders, stated. “You can get proposals that are pretty huge, sometimes 30 to 50 pages,” he said. “They’re here to help cut that learning curve.”
- Assist you in interpreting the different types of solicitations, bid packages, and forms; help you understand how to respond to Request for Proposals (RFP); and review your proposal prior to submission. The most common mistakes Mrs. Whittington has seen people make is not thoroughly reading the solicitation and not having a strong understanding of the scope of work. “They don’t fully understand all of the nuances and commitments in the solicitation. If you’ve ever read a request for proposal for a government contract, you know it requires some “i”dotting and “t” crossing.”
- Assist with locating past procurement histories, pricing, and awards to ensure that you can be competitive, and check award notice requirements to determine if you can handle all aspects of the job and deliver on time.
- Assist with understanding DFARS cyber security regulations and SSP compliance and provide information on subcontracting, Joint Ventures, Mentor-Protégé Programs, Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS), and other government procurement programs and regulations.
- Market your products and services to the appropriate agencies and entities by explaining federal, state, and local government purchasing protocols and showing you the best ways to get your foot in the door.
- With post-award support related to contract performance issues and understanding a government entity’s rules and regulations for accounting, invoicing, and payment systems.
- By providing targeted training on federal, state, and local bid laws and regulations through confidential, one-on-one counseling or in training seminars such as Beginner’s Contracting, Small Business Certifications, Proposal Writing, Marketing to Government Agencies, Cybersecurity Requirements, and much more.
Most significantly, NWLA PTAC helps you develop trust and a positive reputation with the government, so they know that when they select your company for a job, you will get it done right (on time and on/under budget with quality), so they don’t regret selecting you and will consider you for future solicitations and purchases.
NWLA PTAC connects our Clients with:
- Barksdale Air Force Base
- Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Center
- Red River Army Depot
- General Service Administration
- S. Army Corps of Engineers
- VA Medical Centers
- State of Louisiana
- City offices and purchasing departments
- Regional school boards, colleges, and universities
- Local parish offices
NWLA PTAC Clients commit to:
- Request counseling by completing our NWLA PTAC New Client Application Form, https://nwlaptac.org/new-client-app/
- Report all government contract and/or subcontract awards each calendar quarter via our online survey
- Respond to our annual PTAC Satisfaction Survey
GREAT NEWS: Although responding to federal, state, and local solicitations can seem intimidating, NWLA PTAC Client registration is FREE at https://nwlaptac.org/new-client-app/ , and we offer no-cost workshops and confidential, one-on-one counseling and training events to get you started.
Over the last ten years, NW LA PTAC has helped businesses in Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, and Webster Parishes procure more than $1.5 billion in government contracts. Last year alone, NWLA PTAC Clients were awarded an impressive $117+M in federal awards – during COVID — soundly demonstrating that our businesses ARE successful in the government marketplace with the preparation and support of the NWLA PTAC.
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Dr. Gayle Flowers, Director
Northwest Louisiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center