The United States government spends in excess of $1 trillion on construction projects each year. So, for companies in the commercial construction industry, government contracts can be lucrative projects if you know how to find them!
However, if you haven’t done it before, you may be wondering how to go about securing a government contract, like we do here at TEMA Roofing Services.
Read on for information with respect to commercial roofing and government entities.
How Contractors Find Government Contracts
To secure a government contract, you’ll need to develop an understanding of how the government looks for contractors. Luckily, there are several ways to find opportunities available with the government and military.
You can start by registering on the central contractor registration database at SAM.gov. Simply enter information about your business and the services your business provides. Contracts over $25,000 are listed, and you can sign up for notifications as jobs become available. Plus, you only have to update your information once a year!
Another important resource is the General Services Administration (GSA). Here, you will be able to post prices and terms for given jobs. Federal agencies can assess your suitability and hire you if they please. Smaller businesses often get priority on this platform.
Last, but not least, don’t forget about utilizing cooperative purchasing organizations like The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) and OMNIA Partners.
“Our alignment with cooperative purchasing programs like TIPS and OMNIA Partners simply allows us to streamline the installation or repair process for government entities and nonprofit organizations,” says Scott Froelich, vice president at TEMA Roofing. “It reduces timelines significantly and gives potential customers access to competitive pricing and quality service. Even better, it can reduce the stress that is sometimes associated with purchasing, because members have support throughout the entire bid process.”
How to Get Government Contracts
Looking for government contracts takes a bit of preparation, so make sure all of your ducks are in a row before you dive in headfirst. Below are some of the most important things to keep in mind.
Solidify Your Commercial Business Plan
The first thing that a government agency looks for in a prospective hire is evidence that the contractor knows what they’re doing. If you don’t have a viable business plan to present, you’ll fall at the first hurdle.
Government agencies want to see evidence of past performance and success. Your business plan should be based on lessons learned from previous projects, even if those projects were smaller than the government contracts you’re trying to land.
Set Yourself Apart from the Competition
Securing a government roofing contract is as much about marketing as anything else, and distinguishing yourself from your competition is one of the fundamental tenets of marketing.
The first thing you’ll have to consider is your pricing. If your estimates for jobs are in excess of the estimates from other providers, you won’t stand a chance.
However, proper marketing does not involve lowballing your opposition. Government hiring agents will look at more than just price when picking contractors.
To make yourself attractive to hiring agents, you need to present well-rounded proposals.
Look for Subcontracting Opportunities
The government doesn’t have to pick you out directly in order for you to benefit from contracting opportunities. Often, contractors will get opportunities to subcontract elements of a government job from other businesses or organizations (as mentioned above with TIPS and ONMIA Partners).
In the world of commercial roofing, often, general services contractors and architects take on large projects and outsource specific parts, like roofing. An example of this is our recent partnership with Strollo Architects and the City of Youngstown.
The US Small Business Administration also has a forum for the posting of these kinds of subcontracting opportunities, and that’s always a good place to start.
Keep Your Focus on the Industry’s Pulse
Immediate proposal submission to newly emerging government contracts is important, especially when there are so many other businesses doing the same thing! To beat the chasing pack, you have to get into the habit of looking for opportunities that aren’t even online yet. How do you do this?
There are a couple of approaches that work. The basic premise is that you predict the construction contract by looking at certain factors. For instance, if you see a local official apply for permission to build a new municipal office, you can be sure that a construction project will be up for grabs as soon as it gets approval.
If you can leverage this knowledge to make a head start on your proposal, you might just gain an edge over your competitors.
Is There a Downside to Government Contracts?
As with anything, there are both advantages and disadvantages to procuring government-issued contracts.
The main disadvantage is the prevalence of low margins.
The government employs skilled negotiators to get work done as cost-effectively as possible. So in order to make a profit, your skills and processes need to be streamlined. Know exactly what you need and when you need it in order to be successful in this vertical.
Another common problem is competition. If you’re not up for dealing with multiple other businesses, then this game isn’t for you. At TEMA, we see competition as a healthy necessity. It make us better – constantly evolving and pushing our own boundaries. And if you do things right, completing contracts for the government might just be the best things you do for your business.
Government contract sizes can be much larger than those from private businesses. And, while the percentage of profit is low, the dollar amount that that percentage represents can be huge.
Commercial Roofing and Government Contracts
There’s no doubt that breaking into the world of government contracts can feel overwhelming. But, nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Military and government contracts often present opportunities to complete commercial roofing jobs that are much larger than the norm.
Branching into this type of roofing work will allow you to expand your business and break into a market you may have never before considered.
To learn more about TEMA Roofing and our experience with government commercial roofing contracts, contact us today.