Five Tips to Build Past Performance
You may find the ability to build past performance is kind of like trying to get a job without experience. You can’t get a job because you don’t have experience, but you don’t have experience because you can’t get a job. As a new government contractor, you may have completed some of the basic steps to prepare your company to do business with the government. This may mean that your SAM Registration and perhaps certifications are complete.
However, the government wants to do business with companies that have a solid list of past performance. In fact, “Information regarding a contractor’s actions under previous contracts and orders known as past performance is an indicator of future performance and is one of the most relevant factors that a selection official should consider in awarding a contract.” The following are five tips to consider when developing past performance:
Tip 1: Team with a Prime Contractor
Tapping into established relationships with prior employers, colleagues, prime contractors, and connections is the simplest way to establish past performance. Think about who you already know that may be willing to subcontract some work to you on an existing or upcoming project.
Tip 2: Market Your Certifications
Now that you are a certified WOSB, 8(a), MBE ,DBE and/or SDVOSB, leverage them by advertising as a certified company seeking a prime contractor on bid sites. Further, approach contractors that may benefit from teaming with you because of the access they may gain to set-aside contracts. Attend pre-bid meetings, industry trade shows and conferences (even in our new virtual environment they are available) to meet like-minded individuals who may give you this opportunity.
Tip 3: Utilize Key Employee Experience
As a contractor with minimal experience, you may utilize the past performance of key employees on your proposal responses. Obtain letters of commitment from experienced contractors and/or the incumbent’s key staff prior to bidding to increase your odds of winning.
Tip 4: Tap Into Smaller Acquisitions and Local Opportunities
When just starting out, consider the need you can fulfill locally and/or through smaller dollar purchases. The Federal Government’s Micro-Purchase Threshold is $10K (currently $20K for emergency supplies and services). These are typically products and services a buyer can purchase with their government-issued credit card. States also have small acquisition purchasing rules. For example, State of CA may use a Cal-card or P-Card to make small purchases. Conduct research, develop a target list of agencies and buyers, and market to those that fit into this category.
Tip 5: Pursue Sole-Source Contracts
8(a), HubZone, Woman-Owned and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned small businesses may be awarded contracts on a sole-source basis. This means the selected contractor would not have to compete with other companies. Building relationships with buyers and advocates is key to opening the door to this opportunity.
Bottom line. To build past performance, you must have a strategy. The implementation of these tips as part of your strategy can help you in developing a successful track record. Know that it won’t be easy, but it is not impossible, and tenacity is the ultimate key. These are simply basic tips, but understanding your customer is just as (or more) important in the government sector. If you would like to develop a targeted government-sector strategy for your business, connect with me here.