Working with a Prime: Your Benefits as a Veteran Owned Small Business

As a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) or a service-disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB), subcontracting can be the logical first step into the Federal Government marketplace. Participating in set-aside programs and putting forth quality goods and services will increase your chances of working with a prime contractor, and subsequently perpetuate your competitive edge. This partnership will also increase your long-term business and government contracting success. Let’s take a look at four major benefits you will experience as a subcontractor working with a prime.

  1. Network Introductions

Seasoned large or midsized prime contractors typically have well-established relationships with Federal Agencies they work with. The prime you work with will be able to introduce you to other contacts and government agency representatives they have connections with. Once an initial introduction has been established, you can build a reputation alongside the prime, which will further your relationship with the agency and broaden your network.

  1. Minimize Your Risks

Even though the prime takes on a lot of the risk, it is still beneficial for every government contractor to know the Federal procurement subcontracting rules and regulations mentioned in the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations (DFAR). While the government does have many stipulations, your subcontracting status lowers potentially negative outcomes that could arise from not following the FAR or DFAR, since the prime holds responsibility for the contract with the Agency.

  1. Leveraging Your Past Performance, for the Future

New or inexperienced government contractors often face similar issues, the most notable being the lack of federal experience. Sub or even prime contractor hopefuls cannot demonstrate to an agency that they have the past performance experience relevant to the solicitations they are competing for, thereby making it difficult to win opportunities. A great way to begin building your past performance is to work with a prime contractor. By working with a prime, you will gain past performance as a subcontractor that you can then use as a past performance example for the future opportunities you respond to. The Federal Acquisition Institute has tools and resources for preparation purposes.

  1. Grow competitively

Your company has now set up a good working relationship with not only the agency, but the prime as well. Thanks to your subcontracting experience, it will now be easier to win opportunities within the government marketplace. A successful prime-sub relationship can be extremely lucrative because as time passes and contracts are awarded, primes will continue to work for government agencies and hopefully lead to continued business as their subcontractor. From there your VOSB/SDVOSB will hopefully have the experience and knowledge needed to win a contract as a prime!


Can you think of some other benefits?  Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re ready to learn more about the federal procurement process for subcontractors, watch our course to position your VOSB/SDVOSB for success.  

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May 10, 2019

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