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Tips for Small Businesses to Market to Large Prime Contractors

by Max Franks - June 22, 2018

Small businesses fill the service slot on many different kinds of projects. The different abilities of small businesses make them indispensable to large prime contractors on government projects. But how does a small business market itself to large prime contractors so they can provide bids for the opportunities?

First, find the prime contractors and projects to market your capabilities.

I recommend you use three databases to research past government contracts to view the major prime contractors in the areas that use your capabilities. The databases are:

U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Subcontracting Directory for Small Businesses

GSA's Federal Procurement Data System or FPDS

GSA's Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOps) (advanced search)

With each of these databases, you can search by NAICS codes (North American Industry Classification System) to find past government contractors and projects that used the type of services your company provides. 

At the same time, develop a marketing brochure or website to market your company’s abilities and or services to these contractors. Include your company’s social economic status, NAICS codes and company information. These details are needed so the prime contractor can retain your information for future projects and, this helps them to gather all the different types of subcontractor bids to enter their total prime bid. 

Finally, attend site visits for open projects so you can meet the different prime contractors. Keep in mind the federal government requires all prime contractors with contracts over $700,000 to have a subcontracting plan. They can use you to help them win a contract.

FAR 19.702 requires that all negotiated and sealed bid acquisitions that are expected to exceed $700,000 ($1.5 million for construction) and that has subcontracting possibilities, shall require the apparently successful offeror/ bidder selected for award to submit an acceptable subcontracting plan.

Once you have found a pool of prime contractors in your industry and have prepared your marketing information, contact the small business officer at the prime contractor company. Follow up from time to time so you have the opportunity to build that relationship for future projects.

Do not forget your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center – APAC can help you in this process. You can reach us at 501-671-2390.

Max Franks