When remodelers talk about government contract work it’s usually to gripe about the paperwork. But there are jobs and money out there, and remodelers shouldn’t let paperwork stop them from profiting.
“Last year small business won a record of $93.3 billion in federal contracts,” says Lourdes Martin-Rosa, an adviser on government contracting for American Express Open. “That’s because 23% of federal government expenditures must be awarded to small business by presidential order. Small businesses have opportunities and are entitled to a piece of the pie.”
Everything the federal government is going to procure that is greater than $25,000 must be posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. Find out what bidding opportunities the federal government has in the remodeling industry by entering the code 236220 or the term “construction industry.”
While the research can be daunting, there are tools and resources available. American Express Open has a series of guides with step-by-step information on doing business with the federal government. Martin-Rosa suggests registering your business so that you can be contract-ready for when a job comes up. To register, go to the Central Contractor Registration site. You will need four things: a DUNS Number (a Data Universal Numbering System nine-digit code), which you can get for free via a link; your name and tax identification number (TIN); statistical information about your business; and electronic funds transfer (EFT) information.
Once you supply this information, you’re on record with the federal government. To gain more of an edge, check out the small-business association’s certifications (www.sba.gov). For example, if you’re a minority- or women-owned business or you do business in a HUB (historically underutilized business) zone you can gain an edge. One category is reserved for economically disadvantaged businesses. “This means you can’t exceed $250,000 net worth excluding your home and business,” Martin-Rosa says. So you might own a million dollar home, but still be considered “economically disadvantaged” in business.
American Express Open is also sponsoring the GiveMe5, program to help ensure that the required 5% of all federal contracts go to women-owned businesses. (Currently that figure is just 3.4%.)
When so many remodelers are looking for work, it’s time to be creative to find it. That may mean spending downtime doing research and filling out forms. But it could turn out to be lucrative. Why leave money on the table? –Stacey Freed, senior editor, REMODELING.