UPDATE (5/3/13): One important point I failed to mention is that on OASIS SB, GSA intends to award at least three spots in every pool to the following socioeconomic groups-8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone, WOSB, and EDWOSB. This does not mean that only 25 of the 40 spots in a pool are available for other small businesses, though. The top 40 evaluation will proceed “blind” to socioeconomic status. If there are not at least three representatives from a particular socioeconomic group in the top 40 for a given pool, additional awards will be made to the next highest rated qualified bidder(s) in that group until there are three.
Welcome to the first post in a special series about the GSA OASIS draft RFP. First a disclaimer – all posts are based on information obtained from the OASIS draft RFP and the most current Q&A available on the OASIS Industry Community on GSA Interact. Changes are certain to occur between the draft solicitation and the final; Aronson will identify major known changes as soon as we are aware of them. Please subscribe to our RSS feed to follow this series and to make sure that you receive breaking information as it happens!
Today’s post will discuss the use of NAICS code ‘pools’ to determine a contractor’s size status and eligibility to bid on OASIS SB. Initially, GSA had intended to base the size standard for OASIS SB on a single NAICS code (541330 exception, $35.5M) based on market research concerning the preponderance of work likely to be awarded under the vehicle; however, a recent rule proposed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) caused them to change this approach. Due to the provisions of Section 1331 of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 and concerns about the improper allocation of small business credit under multiple-award contracts, the SBA plans to make significant changes to the FAR. Under the proposed rule, “the contracting officer may divide a multiple award contract for divergent goods and services into discrete categories, each of which is assigned a NAICS code with a corresponding size standard.”
In order to accommodate the probable rule change, GSA Continue reading »
In the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (“NDAA FY13”), Congress amended the Small Business Act and fundamentally changed the method for calculating subcontracting limits on small business set-aside contracts. Previously, the SBA regulations (13 C.F.R. § 125.6) and implementing FAR clause 52.219-14 focused on the cost of performance. However, the NDAA FY13 amendment focuses on the amount paid under the contract. This change eliminates the contractor’s need to rely on cost-based accounting to ensure compliance and will hopefully make it easier for prime contractors to track their efforts to comply with the rule.
Under both the previous and new rules, the subcontracting limits are calculated based on the type of contract: service, supplies, or construction. Under the previous rules for service contracts, the small business prime contractor was required to perform at least 50% of the cost of labor. For supply contracts, the amount required is at least 50% of the cost of manufacturing supplies, not including the cost of material, and for construction contracts, at least 15% of the cost of the contract, not including the cost of materials. Under the new rules, Continue reading »
In honor of Veterans Day, join PilieroMazza for a free online webinar on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM EST.
The Department of Veterans Affairs verifies SDVOSBs and VOSBs through a process that can be confusing and challenging. This free, one hour webinar will provide a roadmap to successfully navigate the verification process. Attorneys Jon Williams and Peter Ford have helped many veteran owned companies navigate the CVE process and will share their experiences with applications and requests for reconsideration to the VA. They will discuss common mistakes that applicants make and provide practical tips on how to increase the chances of becoming, and remaining, verified as an SDVOSB or VOSB. Continue reading »
The downturn in small business borrowing over the last couple of years may be rebounding.
The commercial lending market has been in recovery mode since 2008. There is, however, belief and optimism about small business lending experiencing a positive turnaround in 2011. The signs of this positive turnaround can be found in a variety of data sources that tracked 2011 commercial lending activity from “traditional” lenders (commercial banks) to “alternative” lenders (credit unions and accounts receivable financiers). Due to increased competition among lenders and in order to win new business, some lenders are making loans on increasingly borrower-friendly terms. Continue reading »
Are you a small business trying to get your foot in the door of the federal market? Are you looking for teaming and subcontracting opportunities, but don’t know how to meet prime contractors? If so, you may be interested in attending GSA’s premiere event connecting small businesses to the government. GSA Opening Doors 2010, to be held August 9-11, 2010 in Los Angeles, CA, offers all categories of small businesses opportunities for scheduled matchmaking (with agencies and primes), networking, workshops, town hall meetings, and exhibits.
New workshops this year cover contract negotiations, exporting, going green, and small business certifications and qualifications. Sponsoring agencies include the Department of Veteran Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Small Business Administration, and Los Angeles World Airports. This event is not limited to GSA Schedule Contract holders and it SOLD OUT last year, so we encourage interested parties to register quickly!
The final rule, issued in the February 8, 2010 Federal Register governs eligibility to participate in the Veterans Affairs Department (VA) set-aside program for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, (SD/VOSB). The set-aside program was established in December, 2009. This preference program requires the VA to set-aside procurements valued between $100,000 and $5 million dollars for SD/VOSB or VOSB when two or more such firms are likely to bid. The program also allows contracts to be awarded to such firms on a sole source basis. More details on the VA set-aside program can be found in a previous blog.
The rule states that owners may only have one company in the set-aside program at a time and that the owner must work full time in the business. To participate in the set-aside program, a company must register with the VetBiz.gov Vendor Information Pages database and verify that they meet all of the eligibility requirements. Continue reading »
On 9/4/09 we looked at contracts awarded to small businesses using ARRA funds where the competition was limited to certain types of contracts. Those were contract awards to companies with federal certifications such as an 8A, Hub Zone, and SDVOSB to name a few. The latest version of this report can be found here.
This time the focus of our analysis was on contract award totals for each socio economic category the federal government works towards fulfilling goals mandated by Congress. This new report can be downloaded here.
The notable areas of interest from these reports are most particularly in the way the numbers bring to light the dollars the government actually takes credit for having awarded to small businesses, as opposed to the amount of dollars it sets aside for them with a clear intention of awarding to a small business. The set-asides when used, clearly establish the government’s intent to award a particular contract to a small business to meets its goals. And what gets awarded to a business when the government does not use a set-aside is an award from full and open competition. It is here that the government really gets lucky, because it ends up taking credit for dollars a small business is awarded regardless of whether it ever intended to award it to a small business. The fact that a small business is competitive enough to take on a Lockheed Martin or IBM to win business is to the credit of the small business, but the government gets to take credit for having met its goals anyway because it so happened that the contract winner was a small business.
There is an interesting distinction between “intended” amounts and what the government “happens” to get credit for!
The US Army Corps Of Engineers has routinely crossed its small business goals by a handsome margin, but lately due in part to BRAC assignments, their numbers have fallen. This is because BRAC work is the bailiwick of large businesses for the most part, and the only program under which large businesses team up with other large businesses, not small businesses.
Nevertheless… Jack Beecher’s Norfolk District Small Business Program Office who has held just about every position in the Contracting Division from Purchasing Agent to Chief since 1974, is the top contracting office in the country for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business awards at the Agency. In an 8/13/09 Federal Contracting Executive Forum, Beecher shared USACE Norfolk District’s plan for Service-Disabled Veterans and Woman-owned businesses, and what’s on the BRAC/MILCON acquisition plan agenda (see more). In FY08 the Agency increased its SDVOSB awards by 150% going from $217M in 2007 to $543M in 2008. Beecher’s Norfolk District led the Corps in both SDVOSB dollars – $101M, and percentage – 13%.
Many companies have some confusion in understanding this Agency and its mission, because it not only does Civil & Military programs, but works on behalf of several other agencies. Its funding sources are wide and varied. There isn’t much small business ARRA related work here either, mostly dredging and shoreland protection civil work that large businesses do. Below is a report that aids in understanding this agency’s spending by NAICS Sector:
As we approach the mid-way point of the fiscal year, some indicators throw light on where the brisk activity may be headed across all socio economic indicators. It is too early to tell what the year end numbers will look like given that they will almost certainly be skewed from the unleashing of stimulus money, but the numbers speak for themselves.
The reports posted below are for select socio economic categories aggregated by State, and sorted in descending order for FY 2009. The usual suspects namely; Maryland, DC, Virginia, Texas and California not surprisingly are at the top of most rankings. All reports include percentage comparison columns for each year:
Federal Contract Actions By State for Small Business
Federal Contract Actions by State for Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses
Federal Contract Actions By State for Veteran Owned Businesses
Federal Contract Actions By State for Small Disadvantage Businesses
Federal Contract Actions By State for Women Owned Businesses
Federal Contract Actions By State for HUBZONE Businesses
Federal Contract Actions By State for Native American Owned Firms
Federal Contract Actions By State for SBA 8A Certified Firms
You are a new company entering the federal space, or an experienced government contractor with years of experience. You may have had little to no success in selling into the federal government, or may have already sold millions! You might have a GSA Schedule, a BPA, or GWAC, or maybe you are a company just happy being a subcontractor to a larger prime. You are sure that you know a thing or two about unearthing federal opportunities, deft at sifting through the web to find what you need to make your next sale, or perhaps you have just recently learned how to spell Fedbizopps.
You could even be one of those who are always confident about the company’s bright future - good economy or bad – or you could be paranoid like me despite some bright spots in the future.
You are sitting in this federal planetarium and looking up, seeing agencies and contractors as stars in your birds eye view with ease. Experienced or not, you derive a sense of comfort from being able to see the visible federal universe, but then you remember someone at work told you that the Federal Acquisition Regulations were really designed to “encourage competition”, and from what you see you cannot tell which one of these companies is a competitor! Competition usually eats your lunch you suddenly recall, like a swirling black hole can gobble up a million stars. Black holes! You shift anxiously staring at the federal dome above you, circling and craning your neck you see no signs of a black hole. Zilcho! Nada!
Enter Competitive Intelligence. The kind of extra terrestrial information needed to stave off aliens and save your little planet, your very own company! Continue reading »
What We Are Writing
- A Marriage of Inconvenience: GSA Schedule Contracts & The Contractor Code of Business Ethics & Conduct Clause
- Emerging Small Businesses: To Grow Your Business, You Must Plan For Growth
- Government Contracting: Look Before You Leap!
- GSA Schedules – Strategies for Success
- New Employee vs. Independent Contractor Considerations
- Pay on Display – Understanding the Executive Compensation and Subcontractor Data Reporting Requirements & Ramifications
- The GSA Schedule: Your Ticket to the Federal Market (May 2010)
- The New FAR Codes of Conduct and Compliance Program Provisions
- The Seven Deadly Sins (of contract compliance)