Working with the government

A summary of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s guidelines is provided here.

Certification

Unlike other jobs, certification is required for government contract work. Certification allows the government to measure a business’ capability of performing a certain job before work starts. You will be required to register as a vendor with the government by entering information about your company on the Central Contractor Registration Database. Multiple factors are considered, including the number of employees your business employs, and your average annual receipts for the past three years.

Support

The federal government provides commercial market representatives to help small business owners procure and successfully complete contracts. These representatives take on the following responsibilities related to contracts: conducting compliance reviews, providing counseling, orientation, and training to businesses as part of the Subcontracting Assistance Program.

Contract Features

Federal contracts contain multiple stipulations regarding termination, changes, payments, specifications, and inspection/testing. The government reserves the right to terminate a contract if the vendor does not deliver a completed product/service within the specified time period, makes inadequate progress that endangers project completion, or fails to perform the job outlined in the contract. The government also reserves the right to amend/alter a contract as long as it is “within the general scope of the contract.” If this occurs, you have the right to adjust the price, time, and schedule of the project. One of the benefits that you will find working with the federal government is receiving timely payment. Depending on the project type and cost, the government may choose to make lump sum, partial, or progress payments. You will be expected to abide by the precise specifications of the contract. Failing to do so can be cause for contract termination. After the project is completed, the government may choose to inspect/test the final product/service to see that it conforms to contract specifications.

Title 13

Title 13 in the Code of Federal Regulations provides information about federal business credit and assistance. This set of regulations outlines the operating standards for the Small Business Association. Part 125 has specific information about small business contracting opportunities. Read more here.

Other Recommendations

Other standards that your business must comply with, apart from Title 13, are the Service Contract Act and Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act. Under no circumstances will illegal activity be permitted; be sure to read the Officials Not to Benefit Clause, Anti-Kickback Provisions Clause, and Gratuities Clause in order to be fully informed.

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