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Tips for Navigating a Government Contract in Florida

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Government is among the biggest consumers of goods and services in Florida. And this offers an excellent opportunity for businesses to work with the government as contractors and sub-contractors. However, many companies often shy away from these contracts because of the technicalities involved.

First, the government is particular in its requirements. Anyone interested in contracting with a government agency must know its unique way of operations. An experienced business lawyer in Central Florida can familiarize first-timers with the rules of the game and walk the legal journey with businesses that encounter challenges along the way.

What Do I Need to Apply for a Government Contract?

Many people hesitate to do business with the government because of fears of the unknown. Being a contractor is quite lucrative for small and larger enterprises alike. It might seem scary, but the procedure is as simple as below:

  • Have a registered business
  • Apply for DUNS Number
  • Look for your company’s NAICS code
  • Register in the System for Award Management
  • Search for government contracts to bid on

Searching for a contract to bid might be the only challenging bit, but you could get one if you are determined enough. You could look for contracts on SAM.gov, market directly to government agencies, or work with bid-matching services. Make sure that you bid in the proper categories; for instance, a small business category could mean;

  • Less than 500 employees for manufacturing
  • Making under $7.5 million per year in the non-manufacturing

How Best Can One Prepare for Government Contracts?

Contracting with the government without analyzing your company’s abilities might be a risky undertaking. Owners should first ensure that the firm can meet all the outlined requirements to avoid a breach that could be very costly.

Some government agencies have complex demands, or your company might lack the personnel or resources to perform the tasks adequately. Taking more than your business can handle could ruin your relationship with government entities in Florida. An experienced Daytona Beach federal government contractor lawyer can guide you on assessing your business abilities.

How Strict are Government Measures?

Apart from evaluating your business limitations and abilities, it is critical to ask yourself whether you can abide by the rules. A few stringent rules and regulations characterize government contracts. The compliant mandates cannot be taken lightly because they often bear severe consequences.

So before engaging in business with the government, it is essential to understand the rules fully. A federal government contractor lawyer in Daytona Beach can explain the legal aspects before getting into it. The attorney can break down the ‘legalese’ to ensure that you understand what is at stake.

Are There Deadlines for Government Contracts?

Government agencies looking for suppliers and contractors have no lenience for disruptions and delays in their processes. Missing deadlines can bear serious legal ramifications that can hurt your business financially.

Another possible consequence of delays would be the cancelation of the contract. And if the contract was subject to renewal, the chances are that agency might not renew it in the next cycle. Winning another government contract in the future could be almost impossible if a previous one was rescinded after a timeline mishap.

How Can a Business Handle Contract Protests in Florida?

After you are awarded a contract, someone might allege that the contract was awarded unfairly. The disputing party might be a government official, an interested party, the SBA, the contracting officer, or a losing bidder. The parties could question your socio-economic status or your business’ size.

The SBA is usually tasked with determining the real status and size of the business. If it establishes that your business isn’t qualified for the particular contract, your business might no longer be eligible. But if you disagree with their verdict, you could appeal with the SBA office specializing in hearings and appeals.

How Do Change Orders Work?

Change orders are issued when there is a need for modifications in the execution of the contract. Remember, only the Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO) or the Government Contracting Officer (CO) can issue a change order. If the changes come with additional costs to your business, consider filing a request for equitable adjustment and include:

  • Dates of key government events that might have delayed you from filing a request
  • Date of certification of the request, if it’s required
  • The date the adjustment was determined, if applicable
  • Actual performance dates
  • Performance dates scheduled during the award or modification
  • Date of alleged disruptions or delays
  • Date of submission of the initial dollar amount or contract proposal
  • Date and dollar amount of contract modification or award

Note that the requirements vary depending on the types of changes and the financial impact on the business. Consult with a Daytona Beach federal government contractor attorney if you have been issued a change order in Florida.

When Does One Need a Certificate of Competency?

Sometimes, a contracting officer might reject your bid if they doubt your ability to fulfill a particular contract. When this happens, your case could be forwarded to the SBA. This gives the business a chance to apply for the Certificate of Competency (COC), where the business’ ability is reviewed.

If you can show that your business can fulfill its obligations under the specific contract, the contracting officer will be issued with a COC. The contracting officer might have no option but to award the contract to your business. However, note that the certificate only applies to one contract.

Lawyers Assisting Businesses Navigate Government Contracts With Ease

Among the most exciting parts of owning a business is exploring new horizons. Contracting with the government can be lucrative but can present a whole set of legal challenges. Litigations and arbitrations could be inevitable in some instances.

Whatever legal hurdle you face, the Lankford Law Firm can help you navigate it. What’s more, we can come to your office if you can’t come to us. Talk to us today to discuss all your business legal needs.

By:Melody Lankford
After graduating from Davidson College, Melody Lankford earned her J.D. from Florida State University’s College of Law in 2004 and was admitted to the Florida Bar that same year. Ms. Lankford joined Raydon Corporation as in-house counsel in 2004. She worked there until 2012, when she founded the Lankford Law Firm. She is an experienced Daytona Beach small business attorney who offers sound legal counsel and experience-based insights to her business clients.

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