Your small business is established in the federal government contracting sector. You have become a member of the government contracting community by registering with System for Award Management (SAM). You have proposed, negotiated and have been awarded your first government contract(s) and have a successful past performance history with the government in selling your products and/or services.
Recently a question regarding project management prompted me to recommend a simple application of an Earned Value Management System (EVMS) to deal with a project management problem.
The question and my answer are as follows:
You have worked to establish your federal government contract business contacts. You have developed your company infrastructure and processes to accommodate the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Your company has effectively marketed and teamed on a prospective program. A proposal has been carefully prepared and submitted to the contracting officer. You have been selected as the apparent winner and you are ready for the next phase on the government contracting process – the negotiation. This article assumes that your are in the federal government services contracting business, that you plan to price your services at an hourly rate and sell them by labor categories with professional job descriptions to perform the government’s statement of work and bill by the hour. This article also assumes that you are not contracting under FAR Part 12, “Commercial Contracting”.
The government is moving to a new provider to validate and track its business with contractors and other parties.
For government contracting success, it is vital to understand the roles, responsibilities and authorities for the principal personnel with whom the contractor must do business.
The execution of your contract (signing by both parties) is a key benchmark in government contracting. It triggers several events such as the start of the period of performance and the delivery schedule time period. Execution begins a billing period start date, and contractual obligations by the government and the contractor.
Because the world has become tightly wired technologically and the current economic situation ties us inexorably to foreign economies, it is likely small business will encounter the import/export process either on the selling or the buying end of federal government contracts involving foreign countries. This is particularly true with Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contracts through DOD and services contracts with civilian agencies such as USAID.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15-204-1 specifies a uniform contract format for federal government contracts. You have encountered this format during the RFP stage of your procurement since the government is required to utilize it in structuring the request for proposal (RFP), leaving blank those items, which are subject to negotiation such as final contract pricing. Your contract is divided into four parts, with various sections within each part. Prime contractors issue subcontracts flowing down terms and conditions, pricing and other topics in an identical format.
In contracting for supplies and services the federal government utilizes several different contract types. The nature of these contract vehicles has evolved over a period of years based on the government’s experience in the acquisition types.
In small business government service contracting, it is necessary to establish a written policy and procedure disclosing time keeping practices to government auditors and fact-finding teams. Included must be the company process for both pricing and accounting for overtime. In doing so, topics such as compensated and uncompensated time must be addressed.