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How to Find Government Opportunities

by Max Franks - October 24, 2018

As Arkansas companies seek new markets in our shrinking economy, many are looking to state and federal contracting opportunities. How should companies spend the labor necessary to review bids and solicitations in the many different online contracting sites? First we must review the federal purchasing levels:

  1. In 2018, the micro-purchase threshold level increased to $10,000. Micro-purchases are reserved for open market selection and are primarily credit card purchases. It is important to note that some federal agencies and contracting department have not implemented the increase to the micro-purchase threshold.
  2. Acquisitions less than $25,000 are not required to be posted in Federal Business Opportunities (FBO.gov). Contracting officers often use the SBA Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) which contains the carbon copied information from SAM. This database can be searched by socio-economic area such as Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), 8(a) Business Development Program, Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB). Since bids below $25,000 are not required to be publicly advertised, contracting officers may review the data of individual companies for capabilities and past performance listed in the company’s supplemental profile in the SBA DSBS. Contracting officers then select three companies to solicit bids to be considered for award.
  3. Finally, federal bid opportunities over $25,000 require businesses to be registered in SAM and be posted on an internet bid board like Federal Business Opportunities. Opportunities can be searched by NAICS codes, geographical region, government agency and the site contains a 10-year archive of past bids.

Now that we know how bids are used, what should a company do to find the best opportunities?

First, enter the marketing data in the SBA DSBS. While most company data is carbon copied from SAM, the capabilities narrative and the past performance information may be accessed through SAM.gov and entered by the company manually to show this valuable information. Past performance information will make your company stand out from the other companies in your contracting area.

Second, we recommend that you review bids over $25,000 by NAICS codes or keywords to narrow down the bids you must review daily.

Third, do not forget about the state and local government market. In Arkansas the office of Finance and Administration has an online bid board. I also recommend you review your city and county policy for posting bids. Call the different groups and ask how they post them: in the newspaper or on a bulletin board, and how frequently?

Remember, your Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center (APAC) provides a free bid service to all APAC registered businesses and can assist with information to help keep your different areas for federal and state registration up to date. While searching for bids and opportunities can be time consuming, it can also provide revenue that your company would miss if you did not know of the opportunity.

Max Franks
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