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Old 01-19-2009, 02:11 PM   #1
 
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Marketing Questions


Hello All,

I'm new to the site and after reading about 20 or so threads came up with some questions. I'm assuming most individuals on this site own their own contracting business, whether it be in the private or government sector. But if I'm wrong, please disregard these questions, or answer the ones you can.


- Where is your business located?
- How long have you owned your own business?
- Why did you start your own business?
- In the past year, have you had to cut back on hours, employees, or anything else to make ends meet?
- How have you tried to remedy any set-backs in sales?
- What do you know about working as a contractor for the government?
- Have you tried contracting with the government before? If no, answer next question please. If yes, what was your experience like?
- Would you be interested in contracting with the government? Why or Why not?
- If the start-up costs for government contracting weren’t extreme, would you try it?

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:31 AM   #2
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Re: Marketing Questions


1) Business is 5 state area CO, NM, WY, LA, MS

2) Serial entrepreneur - 5 years

3) Why - like running my own show

4) Past 6 months / year - laid off 5 and kept 1

5) Government - certain jobs need bond. Check to see what you can get. We were the favored bidder on 2 jobs and could not bond over $ 200,000 and the Govt required a $ 500 k bond. Checked around - damn near impossible and this was 3 years ago. Any bidding put in about a years worth of interest on the amount of the job - many horror stories about paper work, collections, etc. Be prepared to carry alot of money. Can you afford to carry almost the whole job. If the project is $ 50,000 be prepared to carry that amount for at least 6 months. Call your suppliers - get agreements ahead of time if you can make financial arrangements with them.

The project / s we bid on had to be rebid 3 times because no one could qualify financially. Finally one firm - got their main supplier ( mod mfg ) to get the bond and sign on the job. I even tried to see if they would take a certificate of deposit for the bond amount and it did not fly.

Make sure you review their project scope documents carefully. Especially wages amount issues, They tend to have large penalties if you don't get it done in time. Ask about who reviews project and for payment - is it same as the people who made the scope documents? Go to every meeting prior to job bid.

Make sure you understand ALL the paperwork requirements - lost a $ 300,000 bid due to one piece of paper missing- ask more questions. See if you can have them review your paper work prior to bid submittal for errors ( don't know that they will )

6) Govt- On small purchases ( under $ 10,000 I think ) has gone to using a credit card - which is good because you can collect in under 6 months - some times faster.

Just do your home work and then some - ask lots of questions. I think they make it so hard at times that only companies that have been through the drill before know how to get through the process.

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Last edited by modterry; 01-20-2009 at 09:33 AM. Reason: mispelled
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:08 AM   #3
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:45 PM   #4
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Re: Marketing Questions


Quote:
Originally Posted by chezziepoo View Post
Hello All,

I'm new to the site and after reading about 20 or so threads came up with some questions. I'm assuming most individuals on this site own their own contracting business, whether it be in the private or government sector. But if I'm wrong, please disregard these questions, or answer the ones you can.


- Where is your business located?
- How long have you owned your own business?
- Why did you start your own business?
- In the past year, have you had to cut back on hours, employees, or anything else to make ends meet?
- How have you tried to remedy any set-backs in sales?
- What do you know about working as a contractor for the government?
- Have you tried contracting with the government before? If no, answer next question please. If yes, what was your experience like?
- Would you be interested in contracting with the government? Why or Why not?
- If the start-up costs for government contracting weren’t extreme, would you try it?

Thanks a bunch!
How about you answer the questions first after reading the forum rules
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Old 01-22-2009, 01:46 PM   #5
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


Gladly.

- Where is your business located? Burke, VA
- How long have you owned your own business? I'm employed by Nicely Done Industries, a small, woman-owned contracting company .
- Why did you start your own business? My boss started it after working in the Pentagon, to be her own boss.
- In the past year, have you had to cut back on hours, employees, or anything else to make ends meet? Yes, actually. We've cut hours for 2 and lost 1. Considering we don't number more than 10, that was big.
- How have you tried to remedy any set-backs in sales? New marketing strategies, along with recently becoming a gov't contractor, in the hopes of having our private sector recover while contracting kept it afloat.
- What do you know about working as a contractor for the government? Certifications help out a lot, as we are a Small, Woman-Owned Minority Business. We only have Small, Woman-owned though.
- Have you tried contracting with the government before? If no, answer next question please. If yes, what was your experience like? We're having difficulties being paid on time. FedBid is asking for it's percentage, yet we haven't gotten paid yet from one of our contracts, even though we're in their system, did everything their way, etc. we're finding it to be more difficult than imagined.
- Would you be interested in contracting with the government? Why or Why not? Doing so.
- If the start-up costs for government contracting weren’t extreme, would you try it? Yes. We had to hire an individual to run this portion of the company, train them (no contractor with experience wanted to join our venture), attended seminars (Business 2 Government wasn't cheap) and other consultants to ensure we won bids.
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:03 PM   #6
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Re: Marketing Questions


Thanks Laura - based off your first post it looked like a typical marketing piece (Mind putting your location in your profile? You might also want to post an intro here)

SLS Construction - Cullman County Alabama
Almost 3 Years
Better than working for others
No - but my planned expansion & a few purchases were put on hold
Advertising, Networking
Enough to get me in trouble...
I am registered, but nothing is available around our area that we serve
Extreme start-up costs??? Sorry, I don't know what your talking about here
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Old 01-23-2009, 11:41 AM   #7
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


We found for some of the start-up costs that it was a bit pricey (certain courses offered up here cost up to $10,000... which looking back on it, haven't helped much/were NOT worth it) and I wasn't sure how many other contractors went through this. Plus we had to hire someone to run this part of the business, so that's an extra salary that we're not seeing much results from.

But thanks for answering. And I'll be sure to post on the introductions page, when I get a questioning mood I get a little caught up in it.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:36 AM   #8
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


You want a lot of information about everyone, why is that.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:32 AM   #9
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


As you can see, though, I gave a lot of information myself. I was curious as to why others became federal contractors and if they aren't, why not. I've been doing a lot of research lately and finding any reasons not to contract with the government (late payments, Obama's administration threatening to cut back on contracts, and so forth) so it made me curious. I know we're staying in because we invested so much effort already it would hurt us to stop right now. I wanted to see if others were having as many difficulties and if not, how they prevented them.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: Marketing Questions


A lot of the stuff I've read and experienced here relates to the fact that smaller contractors often achieve quicker results (though with potentially low margins) by subbing for gcs or others already with government connections, especially if you fall into one of the desirable categories (women, minority owned, etc.)

Another important thing to consider is that existing relationships carry a lot of weight and like anything, it can be hard to break in to these networks. Subjective evaluations (often under the guise of 'objective' performance/experience categories) allow contracting officers to favor their favorites, keeping outsiders out.

As an example, from personal experience, I recall an extensive interview with a contractor who had succeeded in winning many Navy Department contracts. As we drove around suburban Washington DC he pointed to a post office. "We can do that type of building just as good and even at lower cost than others -- but we can't get our foot in the door." The very thing giving him some degree of security with the Navy denied him access to the Post Office.

You may find networking opportunities through SMPS, though of course this is not a quick fix -- there appear to be few fast ways to reliably get government work, unless you already have a network and maybe some existing relationships with current prime contractors.

As we re-establish our publishing business in the Washington DC area, I'll be working to assign writers to help answer the questions you are raising with hopefully some innovative and effective solutions.
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:52 AM   #11
 
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Re: Marketing Questions


Thanks!

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