Doing business with the federal government requires a unique skillset – it’s important to understand complex regulations, demonstrate past performance, and to have the drive to navigate the crowded landscape of companies striving for the billions of dollars of addressable opportunity.
In this article, Kevin Berry, Contracts Manager at Presidio Federal, shares insights on how companies looking to contract work can build successful, long-term relationships to deliver increased value to their federal customers.
Q: What are some of the key trends you see today that are impacting both prime and sub-contractors working with the federal government?
A: Great question – to start, there is certainly an increased demand for innovative and cutting-edge technologies, primarily in cybersecurity and cloud, as threats continue to ramp up. There is also a large focus on climate resilience and sustainability. Within a recent resource from Bloomberg Government, they shared “The General Services Administration – the nation’s largest property owner – is working on transitioning 253,000 buildings to 100% renewable electricity by 2025, in addition to requiring low-carbon construction materials in new structures.”
Additionally, there has been an increased focus on using small business set aside contracts, likely due to the current administrations push to consolidate government contracts, as well as the push for a 15% increase of the annual budget for small businesses by 2025. Ultimately, the federal government has continued to streamline and modernize its procurement processes across all executive offices and agencies.
Q: What advice would you offer to companies looking to subcontract with larger companies to win new work?
A: This is really a twofold answer – first, be aware of risks and secondly, always clearly document terms and conditions (T&C). Let’s discuss each one.
Be Aware of Risks – While it’s a wise, strategic idea for companies to subcontract with larger companies to win new work, establish a foot hold, and grow in new markets, I would advise when doing so to proceed with caution. It’s imperative for companies to carefully choose who to do business with because that can greatly impact the outlook for a company, especially when they may not be aware of some of the risks.
Clearly Document T&C – Companies must understand the work they’re being asked to do and clearly document what the workshare will be in writing through a teaming agreement. It’s important that when sharing business solutions and proprietary information that you have non-disclosure agreements in place to protect certain proprietary information and business trade secrets. Additionally, be sure to have a clear, written understanding of the contract terms and how to mitigate the risks to your advantage. The below items are a few examples:
- Limitation of Liability
- Liquidated damages
Q: Tell us how Presidio Federal approaches subcontracting.
A: We understand that relationships are crucial in this business. At Presidio Federal, we want to do business with those we trust who can deliver and are dependable. Our partners reputation within the marketplace is essential – the ability to strengthen our overall offering or fill a certain need that we cannot while staying cost competitive is key.
When we are looking at subcontracting to a prime, we look for strategic opportunities that align well with our capabilities, where we may not be able to prime ourselves thereby enabling us to gain exposure and grow in new markets. It’s important to choose partners that complement our offerings, but also to do so in a way that is compliant with the federal procurement regulations and well documented for audit purposes.