Let’s kick off the DIGITALSPEC blog by talking about why GovCon (government contracting)? Why should you work for them? Why, as an agency, you should collaborate with them? Let’s tackle the first one…first!
Benefits of working FOR government contracting companies
Anytime you visit a federal agency, you will notice not only government employees but also contractors from GovCon (government contracting) companies. These two works side by side and many of these government contractors work directly under the management of government supervisors. GovCon companies help the government in driving various projects related to security, procurement, IT and digital transformations, and so on. DIGITALSPEC is one such company that helps in fulfilling the IT and digital transformational needs of government projects in the USA. It collaborates with many small and medium enterprises in meeting the needs of government projects through what are usually mutually beneficial joint ventures. It also benefits small and medium enterprises in enhancing their brand value, multiplying revenue generation, and most importantly, developing their ‘past performance‘. Let’s look into a few benefits of working with government contracting companies.
An alternative to government
Even though the government in most countries is the largest employer of the land, the hard reality is that it can be hard to get jobs, especially during times of inflation and/or high unemployment, not to mention the added exposure to government shutdowns and low salaries. It can also be hard to get a job as an immigrant, since many jobs with agencies may have a citizenry requirement. Instead, you can try for a job in a government contracting company where the hiring and promotion process can be somewhat less selective, or at least not subject to the same disqualifying criteria as the government, such as citizenry.
Besides the easy hiring and promotion process government contracting companies also offer appealing salary packages. With some companies vying for upwards of a billion dollars in special contracts (think Amazon), the pay can sometimes go into high 6 figures. Though it must be noted that government pensions may offer more stability post-retirement than private 401(k) plans, even with their various benefits such as paid time off, affordable health insurance, and retirement benefits.
The one wrinkle in GovCon work: Stability
Now, we concede that there is one area where working for the government may have the upper hand: job stability. While you don’t need to fret about how you may be fired at any given moment working for a contractor (this is not a hedge fund!), the fact of the matter is contractors form a part of the private sector. And your job security will only be as good as the financial health of the contractor, your skillset, and market demand.
This is not to say that you cannot be fired from the government job. You can! But the government, especially in developed economies, tends to be immune to certain pressures such as demand and supply, bankruptcy, etc. to a somewhat larger degree than the private sector so there may offer greater job security and perhaps even a work-life balance.
Benefits of working WITH other contracting companies
Now let us discuss why any small and medium enterprise should collaborate with government contracting companies:
Well, like most good things in life, nothing is ‘easy.’ This is especially true in the GovCon space where anyone starting out faces a ‘chicken and egg problem because of the nature of how contracts are awarded. One of the major factors in awarding contracts is a company’s past performance which is a somewhat fancy term for the quantity and quality of work a contractor has done in the past. This is the government’s way of quality control when awarding what can sometimes be multi-billion dollar contracts. Imagine, if Amazon just went ‘we know nothing about government contracts work, but we will take your billion dollar contract anyways…’
Now, as a small-to-medium-sized contractor, especially as a newcomer or someone vying for a new kind of contract, working with a seasoned partner, helps with past performance. How? Because you can ‘piggyback’ of the partner by in essence passing off their past performance as your own and securing the contract. This is, for example, how a 29-year-old secured multi-billion dollar contracts from the American Government to become a billionaire in his own right: he first secured past performance by working with the likes of Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, etc.
Government contracts usually tend to be in the millions. For a small contractor, especially one that is just starting out, it can be difficult to handle the workload, and meet the deadlines. A joint venture partnership, such as the one we at DSpec have with Inception Edge (DigitalEdge JV), can help divide the workload, build up that coveted past performance, and even make your company eligible for other contracts that you may not have qualified for due to a lack of special status (more on special statuses in the next article!). It can also be a great way to develop strong connections and relationships, which can make a world of difference when discovering and/or bidding for new contracts.
Finally, in GovCon, like with most things in life the first impression can be the last impression. You do not want to take any risks and do a great job because the agency may well award new contracts if they like the initial work, setting your company up for years of almost guaranteed income.
For these reasons, it may be worthwhile to not just work for a GovCon company as an employee but collaborate with other government contracting companies as an employer as well.