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Become a Government Contractor

Get in on the nation's biggest customer by becoming a government contractor.
December 1, 2005

The United States government is the world's largest customer. Each year, the federal government and its various agencies procure more than $300 billion of everything from airplanes to zippers. For many products and services, the U.S. government is the biggest buyer on the planet. Uncle Sam is also an attractive customer for a few other reasons:

There are downsides to selling to the government as well. It can be hard to find the proper purchasing agent among the thousands employed by various branches and agencies of the federal government. In addition, the rules and paperwork are daunting. The good news is that there are many sources of help. The SBA's website is one good place to start looking for help selling to the government.

And don't restrict yourself to selling to the federal government. State and local governmental entities, including cities, counties, school districts and others, actually purchase more goods and services than the federal government. There are more of them and they are smaller, but these government customers can provide alternative tracks to growth that are just as viable as the opportunities in Washington, DC.

You can sidestep many of the hassles of winning a government contract if you subcontract with the main or prime contractor. Prime contractors, ranging from large defense contractors to companies that may be smaller than yours, do most of the work to land the government job. Then they may hire you to fulfill all or part of it. Find prime contractors by perusing many of the same resources you would to sell directly to the government.

10 Tips to Getting Your Foot in the Door

According to Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Ranking Democratic Member of the House Small Business Committee, these 10 tips may help you get a piece of the billion-dollar federal procurement pie: