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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 2 replies Small Business

Answers

Advisor

Sarah Bass New York, NY

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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