12.5.19 – SSI – Ben Vaught
Entering the world of government procurement might seem overwhelming, but for sectors as lucrative as the security field it’s an area worth considering.
For those installing security contractors eyeing a strategic growth path, one avenue worth considering is working with the government. Security spending at the local and national level is a lucrative business, with billions spent on supplying security and safety services, such as preventing cyberattacks, providing counterintelligence and keeping the public safe through the use of security personnel, canines or disaster recovery.
Is there money to be made? You bet. About $143 billion of the Pentagon’s 2020 budget of $718 billion was earmarked for procurement. Department of Defense (DoD) contracts skyrocketed to about $373 in 2018, eating up a huge portion of the $559 billion in overall federal contracting spending.
It’s clear there are plenty of opportunities at the national level, but let’s not forget the opportunities for small businesses too. Governments aim to award at least 5% of contracting dollars to small businesses each year, with an additional goal to set aside money for women-owned or veteran-owned small businesses.
Vast Array of Projects
Wondering if your safety or security company is a fit for profiting through government work? Security contracts are awarded for various jobs, from large undertakings like the construction of fighter jets, to smaller gigs like guarding federal facilities or at events. Some states like Washington, Virginia and California are ranked higher in defense contracting spending, but they certainly aren’t the only areas where opportunities are plentiful.
Contracts are available locally to nationally. Jobs can also be found through special districts, a form of government created by local communities to meet specific needs like health or education for instance.
Companies that familiarize themselves with government contracting jobs within the security sector will soon discover the space is full of opportunities. Local and state governments are frequently looking to work with companies that offer security and safety products or services.
No matter your specialty, if you’re in the security business there’s likely an opening that matches it.
Understandably, some small businesses might find procurement intimidating and shy away from participating. Government job boards can be a black hole of expired and irrelevant postings, and sorting through them to can be an exercise in frustration.
To make it easier to find fitting job postings, there are online marketplaces like DemandStar that house government contract opportunities at the state and local levels. Through services such as these, businesses no longer need to sort through listings but are automatically emailed opportunities that are right for their specific business.
Time saved through such services will allow you to spend more time focusing on other areas of the businesses.
It’s important to note that before a company submits a bid, they must be registered with the appropriate agencies. If you plan to do business with the federal government, you’ll need to create a System for Award Management profile. For businesses looking to seek out opportunities specifically for minority-owned, women-owned or disadvantaged businesses, you’ll need to self-certify with the Small Business Association.
With more than 28,000 active opportunities on the federal government’s website — and plenty more at the state and municipal levels — there’s no shortage of contracting jobs. Nevertheless, when it comes to a space as saturated as the security industry, competition is fierce.
To make sure your bid beats out competition, a winning bid should include:
- A capability statement that introduces your business
- Your business’s specific advantages
- Why you believe you are the best candidate for the desired job, including case studies if appropriate
- All requirements addressed
- A timeline of your deliverables
- How your business will overcome challenges or obstacles
Government agencies hope to acquire many bids per job so that they can review multiple approaches and assess the best use of their community’s tax dollars. That said, businesses must position themselves as one who is easy to work with as a partner, on time, professional and available for follow-up questions or in-person meetings.
Submitting a bid can be a complicated and time intensive process, but with the right strategy, practice and approach, it could pay off in a big way.
Networking is another valuable way to establish or grow relationships with contracting offices. In doing so business owners can familiarize themselves with the process while introducing more and more government agencies to your business.
Entering the world of government procurement might seem overwhelming, but for sectors as lucrative as the security field it’s an area worth considering. If you’re a security company looking for new business opportunities and avenues of expansion, contracting could be right for you.
Ben Vaught is the President and CEO of DemandStar, an online marketplace that connects over 500 state and local government organizations with tens of thousands of local and nationally based suppliers.