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Small Businesses: 101 on Doing Business with the Department of Energy

Start your research about procurement opportunities with our Facility Management Contractors, since 85% of our procurement dollars are obligated to them.  Each Facility Management Contractor has the responsibility of managing and operating a particular Energy site and has its own buying authority. Download the Contact Directory in order to contact our facility management contractors’ Small Business Program Managers d. Review each facility management contractor's website to identify projects and potential contracting opportunities that they might be interested in. 

(1) Doing your research:

  • Check out our Small Business Opportunities Tool. You can browse through historical procurement records (what we typically purchase) by NAICS Code, location, and industry type.
  • Use the resources of the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, including their business centers located throughout the country. Through our MOU with the MBDA, you can access technical assistance, information on access to capital, business education and more. www.MBDA.gov
  • If you have not yet contracted with a Federal agency, consider doing some research at your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Learn how to write proposals, develop contracting planning tools, and get a checklist or schedule for doing contracts. Procurement Technical Assistance Centers may also be able to advise you in joining a relevant trade association, which could introduce you to relevant opportunities in your line of work.
  • Check out the Small Business Administration's Government Contracting Classroom. On this site, take courses on contracting terms, how the government buys, how to sell to the government, and guides for veteran's and women entreprenuers.
  • Get ready to register. Familiarize yourself with your North American Industry Classification System codes (NAICS), and obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) so you can register with SAM.gov.

(2) Finding contracts:

  • Register with SAM.gov  if you plan to work for a Federal agency. The more complete your profile and capabilities statement, the better it looks. (Note: SAM replaced the CCR at the end of July 2012).
  • Review the Department's Acquisition Forecast of prime and subcontracting opportunities to find requirements you may want to fulfill. 
  • Addionally, check out the National Nuclear Security Administrations' forecast and the Office of Science's forecast of contracting opportunities
  • Register with FedConnect to view current business opportunities, receive solicitations, and submit proposals. FedConnect helps Department of Energy manage contractor relationships throughout the acquisition cycle with respect to pre-acquisition, solicitation, evaluation award, and post administration duties. Type “DOE” to search for opportunities within the agency.
  • Review The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Sub-Net  for subcontracting opportunities posted by prime contractors.
  • Find opportunities on the General Services Administration. Vendors interested in becoming GSA Schedule contractors should review the Getting on Schedule page.
  • As procuring offices rely more and more on Federal supply schedules (FSS) and government-wide acquisition contracts (GWAC), consider becoming an FSS or GWAC contract holder since accessibility to your firm is important. Learn more here.
  • GSA's latest e-Business innovation, eBuy, is an electronic Request for Quote (RFQ) / Request for Proposal (RFP) system designed to allow government buyers to request information, find sources, and prepare RFQs/RFPs online for millions of services and products offered through GSA's Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) and GSA Technology Contracts. Government buyers can use eBuy to obtain quotes or proposals for services, large quantity purchases, big ticket items, and purchases with complex requirements.

(3) Interacting with contractors and purchasers:

  • Focus on networking with other contractors, and take the time to learn about contract and proposal writing on your own, and do your research on the Department of Energy offices or labs in your area.
  • Consider joining our mentor protégé program.
  • Get in touch with state procurement representatives - check out our Small Business Opportunity Tool to locate your local representative.
  • Search through our Small Business Opportunity Tool to find historical procurement activities for your company's NAICS code. 
  • Keep an eye out for upcoming Business Opportunity Sessions and Small Business Outreach Events. These matchmaking events enable small businesses to meet one-on-one with agency or contractor buyers.

Once you find a potential contract...

Partnering with the Federal Government is different than partnering with the private sector.  Unlike dealing with a company President, the Government posts all of its requirements for public access.  In order to become a service provider, a contractor must clearly and convincingly demonstrate that s/he can fulfill a government requirement in an advantageous manner.  

Requirements on the acquisition forecast are cross-referenced by NAICS codes, program office, area of opportunity, solicitation method, contracting activity, release dates, and planned award dates.  Once you find a requirement that interests you, click on it and go the point of contact to request additional information.  Requirements listed in the forecast go out for two years, to allow prospective businesses sufficient time to prepare.

Once you have located an opportunity from the acquisition forecast, you should start working on a business development strategy in order to prepare a capability statement or proposal that is responsive to the requirement. Consider these tips:

  • Allow yourself at least one year to prepare an approach for fulfilling the requirement. The incumbent contractor does not always win the re-competition.
  • Obtain a copy of the solicitation for the requirement.
  • Review the statement of work, résumés of key personnel, the basis of award, and the security requirements.
  • Find out the current prime contractor's subcontractors.
  • Take a site visit.
  • Consult with firms that have databases of previous government requirements.

Questions? Please send us an email at smallbusiness@hq.doe.gov or give us a call at (202) 586-7377.

 

About Our Office

The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Utilization is committed to increasing contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses, establishing goals, putting together smart policy, and developing programs to increase the support going to small businesses through government contracts.  For more information about our office, click here.