Are you a small business contractor looking to gain some experience in the world of Government Contracting? Starting from scratch can be difficult, but gaining a subcontracting opportunity can be a great way to kickstart your small business in the federal marketplace, earn revenue, build connections and expertise, and gain experience. In Financial Year (FY) 2020, the government awarded almost $83 billion in subcontracts to small businesses. Similarly, in FY2019, the government exceeded its subcontract goals for awards to small businesses and awarded more than $90 billion in subcontracts to all small businesses. This shows a lot to be gained from pursuing such subcontracting opportunities.
Subcontractors are businesses or individuals who work for a contractor as part of a larger contracted project. Unlike prime contractors, subcontractors do not work with the government directly, and they work for other contractors (prime contractors) under ‘subcontracts.’
Subcontracting can be your stepping stone to direct opportunities with the government without taking on the responsibility of being a prime contractor. But the real question is: how can you find these opportunities? And how can you search for relevant prime contractors to partner with? In this blog, we have explained all you need to know about finding the right subcontracting opportunities.
Finding Subcontracting Opportunities
There are many ways for small businesses to find subcontracting opportunities; some of them are explained below:
Identify Partners, Build Connections, Attend Events
- Get your business registered with System for Award Management (SAM) to be officially visible in the Government marketplace. Ensure you are active on SAM and have completed your SBA Dynamic Small Business profile.
- Reach out to large businesses and promote your specific skills. The best way to do this is to identify Small Business Liaison Officer (SBLO) at a large business and contact them.
- Attend industry events such as seminars, networking events, etc., to meet prime contractor representatives and SBLOs in person.
- Identify a significant prime contractor based on your capabilities and interests that performs a good amount of work with the federal government. Many such contractors do not advertise their subcontracting opportunities but prefer to involve their known subcontractors. Reaching out to them and creating connections can be very beneficial and might land you some good opportunities.
Use Tools and Websites To Find Subcontract Work
Sign-up on websites that help subcontractors in finding work; some examples include, but are not limited to the following:
- Directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans: This Small Business Administration site contains a list of Federal prime contractors. This directory is handy for small businesses in identifying prime contractors trying to meet subcontracting requirements for government contracts.
- SBA.gov Subnet: The SBA.gov subnet is an indispensable tool to find prime contractors who directly announce their needs for their current jobs for the government.
- SAM.gov: SAM.gov enables you to see recent contracting awards above $25,000. Register your company and create a profile. Large companies often visit this site when they are seeking a subcontractor. You can check award notices for the prime contractor’s DUNS / UEI number. After this, you can get in touch directly with them to ask if they have any subcontracting options.
- USASpending.gov: USASpending.gov includes details about subcontract awards. This tool is used to connect subcontract awards to prime contracts and identify prime contractors that are awarding subcontracts in your area.
There are also many paid tools in the market that you can use to explore your teaming options as a subcontractor. Have your business development team identify the tool best suited to your needs.
Check Individual Federal Department and Agency Websites
Various Government Departments like the Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, General Services Administration, and others often publish contract awards on their website to invite small businesses to bid for subcontracting opportunities. This is a space that you should continuously keep an eye on.
Seek Assistance Directly from Experts
The Small Business Administration’s “Subcontracting Assistance Directory” identifies people you can contact if you have questions about subcontracting. SBA’s Area Directors can assist you with any pre-award and post-award queries. For Assistance with Subcontracting Questions pre-award (before contract award), you can reach out to SBA’s Procurement Center Representative (PCR). Similarly, for Assistance with Subcontracting Questions post-award (after contract award), you can get in touch with SBA’s Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR).
- Once you have found the right prime contractor, research their company and identify the contracts they have performed on, their mission, vision, market, specific company goals, and company successes.
- Find out who the Small Business Liaison Officer (SBLO) or Diversity Officer within their company is: this title may vary, but in any case, reach out to the small business person you have identified. Go through your contact list and see if you have any mutual contacts that you can ask for introductions.
- Follow the company on LinkedIn and reach out to the firm’s key employees. This will not only help you build your network and increase your possibilities of communication, but it will also assist you with your research and business “intelligence.”
- Have a tailored capability statement ready, highlighting the areas where you could assist the government; note specific projects that they have worked on (based on your research) and explain where you could be an asset to them.
If done the right way, at the right time, with the right company, these steps can help you seal the deal and get a mutually beneficial subcontract.
Finding subcontracting opportunities can be overwhelming as well as time-consuming. Our team here at iQuasar is very adept at finding such opportunities for small businesses. Our team can help you find the right subcontracting opportunities for your long-term goals. Our team will guide you through the process and provide you with the necessary guidance for finding the best subcontracting opportunities. We utilize free and paid tools and government resources to identify the right partners and events to provide a tailored solution based on your business needs. Please feel free to reach out to us, and we can set up a call to discuss your company’s specific needs.