Where to Find Government Contracting Opportunities
Government Business Development | 5 Min Read
While having a GSA Schedule gives you access to a whole new marketplace, it doesn’t automatically guarantee you government sales—you need to know where to look. Knowing what government contracting opportunities are available is an essential part of winning government awards. In the public sector, government contractors are responsible for responding to the needs of the buying agency so it’s important you know where to find these opportunities and that you are taking advantage of all the tools available to you.
Before jumping the gun, there are a few things to consider. When determining which opportunities are available to you, you should consider your market, specifically, who is your ideal government buyer. As important as it is to know your market, you must also know your offerings. This is especially crucial when responding to government solicitations as you must know the capabilities of your good/service, terms and conditions outlined on your Schedule, and any other information that relates to the procurement of your offer. Once you know this information, you can begin finding government opportunities.
Where to Find Government Contracting Opportunities
To ease the process a little, there are several GSA resources you can use to discover business in the federal marketplace.
You may be familiar with SAM.gov when you registered your entity, but it also houses procurement opportunities under the section titled ‘Contract Opportunities’. When searching for contract opportunities in SAM.gov, you are going to want to be as specific as possible to avoid digging through tens of thousands of results.
One way to narrow it down is by filtering your NAICS Code. Additionally, when searching, it helps to select ‘pre-solicitation’ or dates roughly 3 months out to ensure there is enough time to respond appropriately. Once you have narrowed your search down to a number of opportunities, you’ll want to read through each solicitation thoroughly to make sure it’s the right option for you. You can also use keywords that relate to your offerings. For example, if you offer communication consulting services, you can use keywords such as “professional services,” “consulting,” “communication,” to locate more relevant results.
GSA eBuy is an acquisition tool used by thousands of eligible federal, state, local, and education (SLED), and military government clients to purchase products, and services from GSA Schedule contract holders. It is important to note, you must be a GSA Schedule holder to use eBuy and you can only see opportunities that categorized under the active Special Item Numbers (SINs) on your GSA Schedule contract.
The eBuy system is easy to use and allows contractors to respond to select government solicitations including Requests for Information (RFIs), Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and Requests for Quotes (RFQs) that relate to the product offering(s) offered on their GSA Schedule.
GSA Advantage! is essentially Amazon but for government purchasing. Unlike other sales mediums, the government reaches out to you when they want to purchase off Advantage! Because the government is seeking out your offering through Advantage!, it’s helpful to make it as detailed as possible by including pictures, detailed descriptions, and part numbers. You wouldn’t want to purchase a laptop off Amazon without seeing what is looks like, the accessories it comes with, and product specifications, right? Well, the government feels the same way.
GSA Advantage! is more frequently used for products and the seller is required to update the tracking, shipping and delivery status as a compliance requirement. Since GSA Advantage! is an easy and efficient place for transactions, it’s an important site for buying and selling. With over 30,000 orders a week, optimizing best practices on GSA Advantage! can make all the difference in government sales.
Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)
Although Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) does not include active opportunities, it’s a storage bank for all federal spending and contract data. All contracts with an estimate greater than or equal to $10,000 (including modifications) are reported in FPDS. Each transaction is simply a payment or modification from an account to a payee.
FPDS includes transaction information like contract value, account, and awardee, and if applicable it also includes socioeconomic indicators, set-aside preferences, awardee registration details, and more. If you followed our advice and identified agencies that you are interested in, this is a good way to see where they are spending their money. This can be helpful in two ways:
- If you sell something similar to the current contractor, but at a more competitive rate, you can track their current agreement to see if the contract period close out is coming up or if there are options for renewal. If so, you can market your more competitively rated offering to the purchasing agency, at the end of their period of performance.
- If you are a small business, this is a good way to identify potential teaming opportunities or subcontracting opportunities based on current awards.
Next Steps: Are You Ready to Find GSA Schedule Opportunities?
Now that you have these resources, to make sure that you use them, we recommend checking for opportunities every day. All of these resources update in real time and have a due date/deadline for response, so you want to identify opportunities as soon as possible and begin working on them. We know that can seem daunting, but we find it helpful if you set a recurring reminder on your calendar to review opportunities such as from 9-9:30 am. before your day get to busy, or from 4:30-5 p.m. when your day is winding down.
After finding a list of relevant and reasonable opportunities, you can begin breaking down government solicitations. Some may be preliminary market research such as Sources Sought Notices or Requests for Information (RFIs), but they are all important to your business development.
As a GSA Schedule holder ourselves, we advise responding at least 24 hours before the deadline as this will ensure peace of mind that the government Contracting Officer (CO) has received your organization’s response in a timely manner. At a minimum, you should plan to reach out to the designated POC (generally the CO in place on the solicitation) and inform them directly of your intent to respond to the solicitation via email, especially if you are unable to submit a response within 24 hours of the solicitation response deadline. If you have questions about your GSA Schedule or need help maintaining it, we are here to help.