What every business owner should do after winning a government contract
Written by Tunisha W. Walker, Senior Vice President, Capalino, and leader of the MWBE Consulting Group. For
Conversations about procurement in New York City and State tend to focus on how to secure opportunities with government, and understandably so. From finding the right bid, to writing a compelling response, the process of submitting for and winning a Request for Proposal (RFP) presents a number of complex challenges that can be hard for companies to navigate. But what happens after you’ve won a bid? Many awardees don’t think about this question until it is too late.
After winning any bid, there are a number of things to consider and stay ahead of, to ensure the project is completed successfully, and in a manner that truly benefits your bottom line. Here are a few important things every business owner should consider after being awarded a contract:
Before you sign on the dotted line
Don’t sign a contract that you’re not fully comfortable with. Before you can begin the project, you typically have to meet with the agency official to discuss final comments about the contract and sign the contract. Legal representation is recommended – you should bring an attorney with you to this meeting if possible. Before signing the contract, confirm once more that all of your concerns have been addressed and all of the deal points have been included to your satisfaction.
Know your payment schedule
When contracting with the government, it is important to have a clear understanding of your payment schedule, as payments may not always occur at the originally stated time. If you are a subcontractor, or supplier for a prime contractor, you should be aware of what their payment schedule is as well. If a prime has not yet been paid, then there is a good chance that your payment may be delayed too.
Therefore, as the project progresses, you should have a system in place that keeps proper track of every payment, how long it has been since you were supposed to receive payment, etc.
If you are working on a state contract, make sure that you are registered on the NYS Contracting System where you are able to report both your payments and non-payments.
Protect your rights
If you have not been paid for an unreasonable amount of time, or the amount that you were paid violates the contract terms, there are support systems in place to help you navigate these issues. For example, the City and State Comptroller’s Offices assist small businesses in resolving financial disputes with government agencies. However, don’t be quick to escalate the matter – only reach out to the Comptroller’s office after you have exhausted all of your options at the agency level.
Although you’ve officially won your bid, your relationships with agencies should last long after you’ve complete the project. As the project progresses, don’t hesitate to check in with agency officials on a regular basis regarding other opportunities. Who knows, they might keep you in mind for a future project they are managing, or inform you of opportunities at other agencies. Keep your contacts going!
Finding and securing a government contract can be difficult, but Capalino can help. Our MWBE team provides a comprehensive array of services to help both MWBEs and non-MWBEs navigate challenges, build capacity and mitigate risk. Contact Tunisha W. Walker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.616.5837.
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