When I tell people that I find working on Federal Government Contracts rewarding, I often get puzzled expressions. In the past having worked primarily for small and mid-size Government Contractors, I identify and root for them. To me, small businesses are the underdogs of the world. It’s satisfying to see a small business experience the novelty and unique excitement of winning a contract award and watching the company grow. I appreciate that the Federal Government attempts to support small businesses. As FAR 19.201 states in part, “It is the policy of the Government to provide maximum practicable opportunities in its acquisitions to small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns…”
The Federal Government attempts to keep the playing field level for companies. Regardless of whether one works for a multi-billion dollar international corporation or for a five person company with no leased office space, the proposal parameters are the same. This allows the Government Officials to compare the services or products instead of the fancy quality of the brochure or lack thereof. For example, there is often a page limit to express their Understanding of the Issues, Technical Capabilities, and Experience. Past Performance and References have a specific format so that the same criteria can be evaluated. In addition, if there are labor categories, they are defined so that for example, a “Senior Network Engineer” has the same minimum credentials, and minimum years of experience. This process also allows the Government to evaluate price fairness and reasonableness.
I appreciate that the Federal Government Contracting has clear and concise terms and conditions (T&Cs) to keep the playing field level. Primarily the government uses the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) or DFAR (Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation) for DoD (Department of Defense) agencies. Some agencies have additional or more restrictive clauses in Supplements. With State and Local Government, the T&Cs vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. It depends whether the product or services are being purchased by the city; or the state where the city is located. Commercial work has different T&Cs altogether depending on the company and possibly the department. For someone who finds comfort in consistent rules and regulations, the Federal Government has a reliable system.
I commend the Federal Government for promoting small businesses. Additionally, navigating through the FAR and DFAR for me is much easier than learning different regulations for each solicitation and contract. Last, in my opinion keeping the playing field as level as possible is admirable.
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