Doing Business with the Federal Government - Questions and Considerations for Veterans

Doing Business with the Federal Government – Questions and Considerations for Veterans

Before deciding to do business with the Federal Government, ask yourself the following:

  1. Does the Government have a need for the service or product that you can provide?
  2. Do you have the capability to provide services and/or products nationally, regionally, or locally?
  3. Have you conducted market research to identify potential Government customers and competitors?  You can research current opportunities on FedBizOpps at
  4. Whether you can you compete on price, technical issues, and timely deliver the product or service.
  5. Is your business registered in the Government’s Central Contractor Registry (

Consider whether you qualify for a small business set-aside:

  1. Do you qualify as small business as defined by the Small Business Administration (SBA)? 
  2. If so, do you also qualify as a veteran-owned small business (VOSB) or service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB), a woman owned small business, a small and disadvantaged business, or are you located in a HUB-zone? 
  3. If you offer services or products needed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and you qualify as a VOSB or SDVOSB, as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 8127, have you registered with VA on

National Contracts
If you are capable of providing products or services to Federal entities on a nationwide basis, consider obtaining a multiple award contract such as a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract awarded by the General Service Administration ( or the VA (healthcare related products and services) (; or Government Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC), (

  1. These are usually indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts and there is no guarantee that your services or products will be purchased. 
  2. You may have to market your products or services and, under most circumstances, you must compete with other contract awardees for sales.

Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Contracts
If you can offer commercial products or services and can deliver them regionally or nationally, you may want to consider an FSS contract.  This is a GSA program but GSA has delegated authority to VA for schedules that include healthcare related products and services, e.g., medical surgical supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare services.   Each schedule defines specific categories of products or services that can be sold under that schedule.  Authorized FSS purchasers, which include all Federal agencies, can issue task or delivery orders against these contracts.

  • Schedule Features: 1) Five years in length with option to renew; 2) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts; 3)  any responsible vendor can submit a proposal; the vendor chooses which products or services to offer on contract;  4) awarded non-competitively with pricing based on the vendor’s commercial sales practices; (5) solicitations are open and continuous and are available on-line.   Time from the submission of a proposal to award can take up to 6 months depending on the number of line items being offered, the value of the contract, and whether the vendor has provided the information required to be submitted with the proposal.
  • Set-asides: There are no small business set-asides when purchasing off the FSS. However, purchasers can limit the level of competition required under FAR Part 8.4 to eligible small business entities. 
  • Purchasing from Schedule contracts:   Federal Acquisition Regulation 8.4 (48 Code of Federal Regulations) delineates the policies and procedures that Government entities must follow to purchase from FSS vendors. 

GSA Advantage and VA Advantage – once an FSS contract or modification has been awarded, vendors are required to post their approved price lists on GSA Advantage and/or VA Advantage.  It is often used by authorized FSS purchasers to identify contractors who have FSS contract with required services or products.   Authorized FSS purchasers may purchase directly from GSA Advantage and have the items shipped to them.  VA Advantage is the VA’s own version. VA Advantage contains a link to VA’s NAC Search Database, which is an electronic catalog of items, products, and services on contracts awarded by the NAC. The database can be searched using product description, item number, and/or contractor.  The database is updated routinely by VA’s National Acquisition Center (NAC) to ensure current, accurate, and complete contract information relating to FSS and other national contracts awarded at the NAC.   ( and )

GSA e-Buy or e-Library – e-Buy is a component of GSA Advantage which allows Federal purchasers to post Requests for Quotations (RFQs) online for FSS vendors and receive quotations.  e-Library is an online source which lists contract award information ( and )
FedBizOps – a site where opportunities for business with the Federal government are required to be posted.  ( )

  • Compliance with Federal laws and regulations:  There are a significant number of laws and regulations that Government contractors must comply with.  Applicable laws and regulations are usually included in the RFQ or Requests for Proposals issued by the procuring entity.  It is imperative that you read and understand all contract terms and conditions before submitting a proposal.  Vendors may be required to certify compliance before and/or after award.  Failure to comply can be the basis for non-award, cancellation of the contract, a claim for damages filed by the Government, and/or a potential fraud action.   
  • Quotations and Other Proposals: Once a quotation or proposal is received, it is reviewed to determine whether it is timely and whether the offeror is both responsible and responsive to the solicitation.   Award can be based on lowest price or best value to the Government, which is an evaluation of the technical component of the proposal and price. 
  • Veteran Set-Asides: The VetBiz Vendor Information Pages (VIP) is the veterans’ online business registry of vet and disabled vet-owned small businesses. It is managed by VA and accessible by all federal agencies.  Veteran-owned businesses may post their business information for government and corporate buyers on VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database at   Vendors who do not register on VetBiz are not eligible for VA set-asides under 38 U.S.C. § 8127.

Each Federal agency has a goal of awarding 3% of acquisition funds to service disabled veteran-owned contracts.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) has an Office of Veterans Business Development.   This office has many important resources for veterans.  ( )

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs is not responsible for any material on outside Web sites.