Teresa Bouchonnet knows a lot about doing business with the U.S. government. Bouchonnet is a retired U.S. Air Force major and former warranted contracting officer with the military. She is now a consultant for commercial manufacturers, and she shared her expertise Oct. 20 at the IFAI 2016 Expo in Charlotte, N.C.
For businesses interested in submitting bids for government-related jobs, Bouchonnet says the first thing to do is set up a free Dun and Bradstreet number and get familiar with the North American Industry Classification System (NAICA) codes at www.census.gov/eos/www/naics.
Many people have the misconception that getting paid by the federal government is difficult, says Bouchonnet. In reality, payment delays are often caused by invoice mistakes, so it is extremely important to fill out the invoice correctly.
Bouchonnet has devised rules to follow when submitting a bid and doing work with for the government. These rules include:
- Read the contract and all the amendments or changes.
- Only take direction from the contracting officer.
- If you are using subcontractors, make sure the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) clauses are included in your agreement with them.
- Put all questions in writing.
- Always ask for a debrief “win” or “lose” response within three days.
- Submit the invoice per the contract and follow up within seven days of putting the bid into the system.
- Have a good quality control plan for the work you will be doing.
- Never be late on delivering your product.
- When bidding, make sure you can meet the terms of the contract and make a profit.
- Only team up with businesses you trust.
- Carefully read and reread the terms of the bid proposal and contract.