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How Do We Gauge a Good Partnership for Government Contracting

Auther: Tim Hagerty / CEO

Federal government contracting is tricky and can be confusing. Our competitors one day are our strongest allies the next. What other industry operates in this kind of chaos? When it comes to teaming and finding a qualified teammate, we shouldn’t be too picky. In this writer’s opinion, they’re not all that easy to come by.

It’s like thinking that it’s easy to find a good programmer because you think that you can just throw a rock and hit one, in reality, what you’re looking for is more than just a skill set, you’re looking for an overarching fit that just happens to include the skills you’re looking for.

So how do we handle this when it comes to finding a good teammate for federal government contracting? There are lots of companies out there with great past performance to choose from, but how do we know if they’ll be a true fit with what we’re looking for? We need to find companies that complement our own offerings, but that’s not the entirety of the picture. What if we end up teaming with a company that doesn’t hold the same values? Not to say that we couldn’t learn some new things to care about, but what if we hold honesty very high within our list of values but is our new team member ready, willing and able to dive into this proverbial gray area when it comes to their part of the proposal response? What do you do then?

If we get stuck with a lemon when we were expecting an apple, is that the lemon’s fault or ours? Maybe we didn’t do as good a job at vetting that company as we should? That’s a hard question to swallow but why would we allow any such nonsense to happen in the first place, yet alone let it get so far as in the previous example? I’ll be the first to admit that I could stand to take a look at my vetting questions along with the acceptable answers that would help to constitute a good teammate. Maybe I’ll think about that the next time I find myself in a situation where I teamed with the wrong company, and I bet ya there’ll be a next time. Why? Because pobodys nerfect.

So, I use a few standard questions when vetting a potential teammate.

  • What are your company values?

    • If the person can rattle them off like nothing, I’m feeling pretty good because this means that whatever their values are, the company most likely takes them seriously.

  • Has your company ever been involved in any kind of law suit?

    • This is a big deal, know why? Because my potential Gov’t customer will find this out and if I’m hooked up with a fraudster, that means that when their house of cards comes crashing down, I may be flushed along with them and that’s just not acceptable. Of course, if they try to trick me, I'm going to find out because I can go to the FAPIIS website at and check the records to see if the company has had an issues. It's not a bad idea to bring all of these FAPIIS records down in a spreadsheet to have them handy when needed.

  • How long has your senior staff been in place?

    • This is a neat one and only really works with companies that have been around for a little while. If the senior staff has been around for years on years, then you’re most likely looking at someone who works for a company that their employees believe in. This is a great thing all the way around.

  • What other lines of business is your company pursuing?

    • Ok, this one is a bit of a trick question. If they get all excited about taking their company in a direction that doesn’t fit what my company’s doing, then how long will this relationship last? I’d like to think that if our companies are a fit, that we could go after more than just one piece of work, right? At least, that’s the hope.

At the end of the day, if I can find a good teammate that has the proper past performance, good standing in the community, knows and follows their company values, and is intending to provide something that adds value to my company’s offering for years to come, then I’m one happy camper.

Until the next,

Tim Hagerty / CEO

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