Monday, February 24, 2014

You Won't Win Federal Business Opportunities on FedBizOps

If your company is new to federal government contracting, you might be thrilled to find that the federal government has a website which consolidates thousands of requests for products and services from the entire range of government agencies.  This site is FedBizOps (

Unfortunately, it doesn't take long to find out that FedBizOps is not the best way to get your company started on government contracting.  As government contract experts point out, if you learn about an opportunity on FedBizOps, you are learning about it too late to win it.  

Although FedBizOps has thousands of opportunities, these do not represent all of government spending.  It's expensive, risky and time consuming to run a competitive procurement which is open to all bidders, so purchasing offices try to avoid full and open competition.  Agencies often award a blanket purchase agreement worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars to one or more companies that covers many tasks. These tasks are then awarded either without competition or with a small and short competition among pre-qualified vendors.

Agencies must comply with requirements to award set-aside contracts to companies that are minority-owned, women-owned, Alaskan native corporations, and other special programs.  Many of these solicitations will never appear on FedBizOps. These companies in turn must find subcontractors capable of providing the required products and services.

If your company has a narrow focus and is primarily geared toward a commercial market, you may not want to invest the time and money to chase federal contracts as a prime contractor.  Instead, you may be better off to pursue the prime contractors such as large system integrators who are the gatekeepers for many federal agencies.

All this doesn't mean that FedBizOps isn't worth your time.  You can learn about who is buying what, and you can make note of whether your target agencies are using special set-aside contracts for their purchases so you can create teaming arrangements that will win.


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