If you’re interested in adding the government to your list of clients – but want to get your feet wet first – consider subcontracting. As a subcontractor, you can perform part of the work on another business’ contract (of the ‘prime’ contractor) without dealing directly with the government. Here’s a look at some of the perks.
Fewer administrative obligations
In general as a subcontractor, you won’t have to deal with the government directly – that’ll be up to the prime contractor, who interfaces with contracting officer within a particular agency. The administrative responsibility you’ll bear rests in the agreement or contract between you and the prime contractor.
Lower business development costs
Another big benefit of subcontracting is the lowered cost of doing business development (BD). Someone else is taking care of capture management – identifying and assessing potential opportunities with the government and outlining the approach to go after them. There’s also costs offset for proposal development, marketing, etc. by working with a prime.
Getting more work
If you offer a specialized service that can be applied broadly as a small piece of another larger project, it’s a great way to gain experience and work that you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Many government contracts have various needs and required skills, so you can benefit by potentially earning more work across a range of contracts that need your specific service (e.g, marketing an online tool built by a large prime IT company).
Gaining past performance
Working with partners – the prime contractors – will allow you to gain past performance that you might not be able to gain elsewhere because they've already developed relationships. Building up your past performance is like a track record to use when you go after future work. The longer a positive record, the better chance you’ll have at winning work.