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AdvisorNet

I was wondering if anyone had experience in acquiring military contracts.

Veteran

Scott Draper Manassas, VA

I am looking for information on acquiring military government contracts, also interested in manufacture and distribution. Any help would be appreciated, thanks.

8 January 2019 5 replies Small Business

Answers

Advisor

Patrick E Alcorn Arlington, TX

Start by connecting to your Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). They offer free assistance, training, and they can help you get plugged in to the vendor matching system in your area:

Statewide Virginia Procurement Technical Assistance Program – PTAC – at George Mason University
Procurement Technical Assistance Center
Mason Enterprise Center, 4031 University Drive, Suite 100
Fairfax, VA 22030
703-277-7750
703-352-8195
https://virginiaptap.org/

Next, check out sba.gov. There are several free on-demand contracting courses available, including information on the different Mentor/Protege programs where you can can link up with prime contractors doing business with government agencies. If it were me, I would start with Contracting Opportunities for Veteran Entrepreneurs (https://www.sba.gov/course/contracting-opportunities-veteran-entrepreneurs/).

The secret to success lies in attending procurement matching events and being where the diversity and military procurement professionals are. Look for events that include additional training and networking opportunities:

GPC: https://www.fbcinc.com/e/procurement/matchmaking.aspx
VETS19: https://www.veterantrainingsymposium.com/
BBBC19: www.bbbc19.com

Finally, check out the Veteran Institute for Procurement, and keep watch for the next VIP cohort that aligns with your business goals: https://www.nationalvip.org/Home/Home.aspx#

Advisor

Larry Selvey Jr Cypress, TX

Scott,

All of these responses have been very beneficial for me and so I want to thank you for posting this question. I would also like to add that you can reach out to the SBA and link up with one of their SCORE Mentors who can walk you through the process. This service is free of charge, and you will be partnered with an entrepreneur who has experience in your business sector. Here's the link:

https://www.score.org

Good Luck!!

-Larry

Advisor

Prabath Boteju Euless, TX

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your service. Great helpful answers from Sarah & Robert. I own and operate ComputerMinds.Com in Euless Texas. I have acquired military / government contracts through https://www.fbo.gov/ site. Federal government and military list business opportunities on this website.
Please visit the site and go through the getting started section.
Wish you luck!
Prabath

Advisor

Sarah Bass Blanco Annapolis, MD

Hi Scott,

Thank you for your question - I was a business development consultant in the government contracting space for several years before joining ACP, so I'm happy to take a stab at answering you!

Prior to acquiring military contracts, there will be multiple steps to take to be able to compete for them.

To make yourself most competitive in the government contracting market, I would suggest registering as a veteran-owned small business or, if applicable, service disabled veteran owned small business (VSOB or SDVOSB). Here's a list of the different types of small business categories: https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/purchasing-programs/gsa-schedules/small-business-utilization. By becoming a VOSB, you also become highly sought after by larger corporations who need veteran owned small business partners. For example, you could research large companies that have a great presence at one of the Agencies you're hoping to contract with, and partner with them to compete for VOSB designated contracts. Their presence and brand name helps elevate your competitiveness for the contract, but the partner could only work on said contract by partnering with a VOSB, as not all contracts go out as full & open competition.

Once you become a VOSB, you can then begin applying for specific GSA Schedules that make the most sense regarding the types of contracts to pursue. For example, Schedule-70 is great for IT business, but may not be the most applicable for you. You do not, however, have to be on a Schedule for all types of government contracts, it's just a suggestion for competitive purposes. Here's a full list of the GSA's schedules, if you'd like to see which one might be best for your business: https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/purchasing-programs/gsa-schedules/list-of-gsa-schedules

Once on a schedule, your competition gets much more limited, as only people who hold this schedule can compete for the contracts available through it. There's an argument to be had for the "best type" of contract, but in general, IDIQs (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) are great to have as it will ask for an indefinite quantity of supplies or services during a fixed period of time. However, due to the size of your resources when you're first starting out, that might be a longer term goal for you (or something to consider when partnering with a large company). Here's more information on those: https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/new-to-gsa-acquisitions/how-to-sell-to-the-government/indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity-contracts

You'll also want to consider purchasing an account with a customer-relationship management service tool such as Salesforce or Deltek's GovWin IQ, so you can track the contracts you wish to pursue, deadlines for document submission, and potential partners. Contacting the contracting officers of specific contracts will also provide you with great insight in what it takes to win them, such as Industry Days you can attend, networking events, etc.

Here's more information on the VA's site about becoming a VOSB: https://www.va.gov/osdbu/verification/

I hope this is helpful!

All the best,

Sarah Bass
ACP Staff

Advisor

Robert Rahni White Plains, NY

Hi Scott,

Thank you for posing this question and of course, goes without saying, thank you for your eight years of service in uniform with the US Army.

While I myself do not possess any experience in the world of acquiring military government contracts in any realm whether it be specific to manufacture and distribution or other areas, I did want to offer some tips that you may find helpful:

1) Take a look at our community feature if you haven't done so already- you'll find the "Community" icon at the top header of the page. I would think the Government, Policy & International Affairs and/or Defense, Aerospace & Aviation area(s) may have some folks well-versed in your area of interest.

But of course, feel free to cast a wider net as you deem appropriate. While it may not be clear by reading their ACP AdvisorNet introductory paragraph whether they are proficient in your area of interest, someone firmly rooted in the defense industry may very well have a colleague or contact(s) in their professional network whom they could then reach out to and leverage an introduction. Feel free to give this a whirl and privately message folks selectively.

2) I did a rudimentary search and came across some recently published literature on this topic, which you may have already consulted during your preparation, but figured it wouldn't hurt to share:

Becoming A Military Supplier [A Complete Guide] - lots of good information here and embedded hyperlinks to other articles - pretty comprehensive from what I could decipher:
https://www.princemanufacturing.com/becoming-a-military-supplier/

How to Get Military Contracts if You are an Aspiring Manufacturer: 4 Steps to Success:
https://www.mpofcinci.com/blog/how-to-get-military-contracts/

I found the second step to be particularly apropos as it ties back to my first tip with respect to leveraging the community feature in messaging Advisors on the site privately. As I'm sure you will agree, networking and its importance is ubiquitous to one's success irrespective of what industry or career aspiration s/he may have.

Scott, I hope these tips and literature proves to be helpful. If I could be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Wishing you lots of luck and sending tons of positive vibes your way!

Best,
Robert

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