The federal government is the largest contractor in the United States, offering billions of dollars in contracts for goods and services each year. However, landing a government contract is a complicated process that hinges on adhering to a number of rules and procedures. Moreover, the government contracts sector is heavily regulated, involving extensive background checks and security clearance investigations. In order to clear these hurdles and solicit a successful bid, it is crucial to have proper legal representation.
At Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, we assist clients who are seeking to enter the government contracts market and provide guidance on the bidding the process. We are well versed in the related rules and practices across multiple agencies and have the skills and resources to complete the extensive work required for successfully negotiating government contracts.
Federal Government Contracts: 101
First, it is important to understand the parameters of dealing with federal purchasing agencies. In order to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse, or the misappropriation of funds, government contracts are heavily regulated. Moreover, negotiating a contract invariably means dealing with experienced government attorneys. For these reasons, it helps to have a dedicated advocate in your corner to level the playing field.
The leading purchasing agent for the federal government is the U.S. General Service Administration (GSA). This agency is tasked with purchasing goods and services for all federal agencies, providing services to support government operations, and negotiating contracts for goods and services. In addition, there are three services under the GSA’s umbrella:
- The Federal Supply Service (FSS)
- The Public Buildings Service (PBS)
- The Federal Telecommunications Service (FTS)
What Types of Contracts Does the Federal Supply Service Offer?
There are two types of contracts available through the FSS:
- Single Award Schedule – Entered into with one supplier, for a specific product, at a set price to be delivered to a particular geographical region.
- Multiple Award Schedule – Offered to multiple vendors that supply like products and services at varied prices; the FSS will select the lowest bid.
Solicitations for government contracts are distributed through what is referred to as the Electronic Posting System, which requires submitting a standard form that includes information such as the solicitation (or bid), commercial and manufacturer price lists, and other supporting documentation about prices and products.
Negotiating a Government Contract
Before granting a contract, the government will conduct a price analysis that is based on a number of variables including the market price for a good or service, the government’s price estimate for similar goods or services, and contracts that were recently awarded.
The government will also consider other factors such as current market conditions, competitor products, and pricing, the government’s inventory of a product or service, the difference between the market price and the solicited price, concessions and other terms and conditions.
In light of the fact that the government’s objective is to obtain the best or lowest price, it is important to understand the government’s price analysis and make an offer that is likely to be accepted. In short, the bidding process is highly competitive which makes the knowledge and negotiating skills of our legal team invaluable.
Businesses that provide or sell services and goods to government agencies face a complex and fluctuating set of laws and regulations designed to complement a wide and always-evolving array of public policy objectives. Government contracts are big business nationwide and around the world, but especially in the national capital area. Federal spending on government contracts is well in excess of $500 billion per year. Protecting interests in government contracting projects, ensuring the fairness of the bidding and competition processes, and safeguarding against fraud on the government are immensely important to scores of companies around the globe.
Clients choose Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig for our depth, our years of experience, and our impressive history of achieving our clients’ objectives at a reasonable cost even in the most complex and difficult circumstances. Our experience covers every aspect of government contracts, government agencies, and key industry sectors. Our attorneys produce innovative solutions using creative and flexible strategies that ensure success. We are proud to represent with equal dedication large government contractors as well as small businesses and entities acquiring their first government contracts.
Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig has compiled many years of experience helping our clients to develop innovative solutions to the issues that arise in the context of their government contracting and public procurement activities. No matter what our client’s needs may be – from an equitable adjustment claim to defense in a civil or criminal fraud allegation – we offer the experience that our clients need to achieve a successful outcome. Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig’s federal government contracts lawyer litigation team has represented small and large businesses worldwide in a wide variety of sectors enforcing and defending all types of government contract-related claims.