As a government contractor, you may have noticed the “spending spree” trend of the Fourth Quarter (Q4). Almost 1/3 of all federal contract dollars are awarded during Q4 consistently from year to year as many of the Federal agencies have “use it or lose it” budgets.
As a contractor, you should be prepared for this increase of business. Check out these tips to help your business take advantage of the government’s extra spending!
1. Plan Year Round
Planning ahead will almost always be beneficial to you as a federal contractor. Start a year in advance, building relationships and long-term pipelines with agencies. Research agency missions, procurement forecasts, and future opportunities. Identify how you can help an agency and submit quality proposals. These steps will pay off at the end of the year. If you have already built a relationship with an agency, you will be more likely to win contracts and task orders during Q4.
Planning year round as a contractor includes preparing for the increased work load during Q4. You should have a calculated plan in place for when things get busy. This means that your proposal team should be prepared to respond to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) with limited notice. If your company often lacks resources to create RFPs, make sure you have the resources available for Q4. Plan to hire a proposal writing team or proposal manager, if needed. If there is any time to push for business, it is Q4.
2. Do Your Research
Research agency procurement forecasts and information from Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). Procurement forecasts will help you determine how much money an agency plans to spend for the year and give you a better estimate to how much they will spend during the fourth quarter. FPDS on the other hand is a system that the government uses to report data on federal procurements.
Another factor to keep in mind is contract vehicles. Oftentimes, Governmentwide Acquisition Vehicles (GWACs) and General Services Administration (GSA) contract vehicles are utilized during Q4. It is beneficial to know which of these vehicles will be procuring the most contract dollars so you are able to prepare. If you are on these contract vehicles, again, remind agencies what you can offer them. If you have solutions, remind them that you can help them reach their fiscal year goals or missions. This could help to increase your business as agencies prepare to finalize their acquisition year.
Small businesses should research agency set-aside goals as well. Each agency has yearly set-aside goals that they aim to reach. If it comes down to Q4 and an agency has not yet reached their goal, this is the perfect time for small businesses to reach out. Large businesses can also benefit from this by subcontracting on a small business set-aside prime contract.
3. Update Your Information
Make sure that all of your company’s contracting information is up to date on your website, GSA Advantage!, SAM and all other online contract vehicle platforms. This includes contact information, contract vehicle information, price list and products/services list. During the rush of Q4, agencies need to be able to contact you quickly and purchase from you quickly. During the last quarter, specifically when the end of September hits, agencies can release RFQs expecting a response on the very same day. This means your company has to take care of logistics ahead of time if you want to benefit from this last minute business.
The fourth quarter of the fiscal year can be an extremely profitable time for contractors, but only if you prepare! Opportunities will not fall into your lap. Especially with the risk of government shut down, it is imperative that contractors gear up for some major agency spending come late September!