Big Business Experience at Small Business Prices

ARROWHEAD PROVIDES THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Article Jordan Lebowitz

A common misconception in the consulting world seems to be that affordable rates and quality service don’t mix. Could a consultant that charges reasonable rates possibly be able to provide top-level support and assistance?

Of course! 

Arrowhead Solutions, LLC has set out to change the perception that excellence is only available with exuberant prices. Our rates are affordable for small businesses on tight budgets that can’t afford or don’t yet require the assistance of a full time government contract specialist. Does that mean big budget companies that choose to use out-of-house solutions for their government work wouldn’t benefit from the exact same team of experts?

Of course not! 

With over one hundred years of combined experience, our team of five specialist would be hard pressed to get outperformed by any other company. Arrowhead Solutions, LLC is the state of Colorado PTAC subject matter expert for GSA. Our value is built into our rates and often prices us out of the larger market industry…by being too affordable!

The well-known riddle – Tale of Two Barbers – provides an accurate representation of the invisible market boundaries consultants’ encounter.

Two Barbers Riddle Summary: (for those that aren’t familiar)

A man needs a haircut and the town he’s visiting has two barber shops directly across the street from each other. The man walks into the first shop and sees hair all over the floor, aprons haphazardly positioned and scissors out of place. The man walks across the street and into the other barber shop. The man sees a sparkling clean floor, aprons hung neatly and everything in its place. The man returns to the first shop for his haircut. The man’s thought process leads him to believe that the “dirty” shop is busier due to offering better service and therefore has less time to clean and organize.

In our version, the Barber with the clean floors, hung aprons and organized tools represent the consulting agencies that charge high rates for little work and therefore provide minimal value. The barber with the messy floors and aprons strewn about is the boutique consulting operation that is constantly engaged in their industry and leading the charge on a daily basis.

Moral of story…don’t be fooled by high rates and “clean floors” again.

Here when you need us, at rates that make sense, Arrowhead Solutions, LLC leads the Front Range in government contracting expertise by providing superior value through top-level service and reasonable rates.

Contact us today to discuss how we can assist your business in capturing, maintaining and developing government contracts.

Is a GSA Schedule Right for Your Company?

GSA Schedule Proposals


Arrowhead Solutions, LLC is the state of Colorado PTAC’s Subject Matter Expert for GSA.

What is a Schedule? – The General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule (also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Federal Supply Schedules) establish long-term government contracts with commercial firms. GSA Schedules provide fast, flexible, cost-effective procurement solutions that allow customers to meet acquisition challenges, while achieving their missions. There are forty different Schedules that cover everything from environmental services, furniture, restaurant equipment and finance to business solutions.

Acting almost like a catalog of supplies and services for the US Government to procure from, GSA Schedules can be an easy way for customers to access your supplies/services quickly and easily, to an extent. It seems to be a common belief that a GSA Schedule is a necessity and if your company doesn’t have one, you’ll be left behind. Let’s look at some of the pros, cons and considerations you should make before jumping into GSA.

Pros

- Access to all government customers, not just one particular agency – the Schedule Program is government-wide
– Ability to receive orders quickly
– Pre-negotiated terms, conditions, and pricing (thus allowing for your quick orders)
– Diversification of your company’s contract tools – having more ways for your government customer to reach you is good
– Five year award, with options up to another fifteen years

Cons
– Requirement to sell twenty five thousand dollars under the Schedule within the first twenty four months and twenty five thousand dollars every year after
– Work involved with proposal preparation – piles of documents and time needed to navigate the submission rules/process
– Length of time to award – although advertised and quick (for eOffers), GSA is backlogged by eight months right now
– Lower profit margins – your company is required to offer to the government a discount on top of your lowest prices
– Administration – your company is required to pay back the Industrial Funding Fee and report sales


Your particular company’s industry, size, time in business and client base should be taken into consideration before making the leap.

Considerations
– Is your industry dominated by competitors with schedules? Do they receive most of their revenue from GSA Schedules?
– Is your product or service in high demand and do you have current government clients complaining they can’t reach you easily?
– Have you been in business for over two years and do you have stellar track records and solid sales?
– Do you have the extra funding available to pay for your time, or that of outside assistance, to build your proposal?
– Are you willing to wait nearly a year to get on Schedule, or is your time better spent chasing other opportunities?


So, do the benefits of having a Schedule outweigh the costs of building a proposal, offering discounted pricing and administering the schedule? If the answer is yes, we can help.

Contact Us

Compensation Cap on Federal Contractors, Latest FAR Requirement

ed murphy

Article Ed Murphy – CEO at Financial Management Institute


For an explanation of the recent FAR change imposing a new employee compensation cap on federal contractors, go visit:

https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/06/24/2014-14379/federal-acquisition-regulation-limitation-on-allowable-government-contractor-compensation-costs

and

http://federalsoup.com/articles/2014/06/25/rule-will-implement-contractor-pay-cap.aspx?s=FD_260614

The recently revised FAR Part 31 cost principles neither preclude nor forbid contractors from incurring employee compensation in excess of the cap. Instead they make employee compensation in excess of the cap unallowable in determining or negotiating the contract price. But only when the FAR Part 31 cost principles apply. And they don’t always apply! For example, any fixed-price type contract where the price is market-based.

But cost reimbursement and other flexibly priced contracts will be affected by this change. As will those fixed price contracts where cost analysis and related FAR 31 cost principles are used to negotiate the contract price.

So how will the change impact you or your government contractor clients? You decide.

The impact will be zero, if…

No employee earns compensation in excess of the cap, or
All business with Uncle Sam or prime contractors is based on “bottom-line” market based selling prices.

The impact may be minimum or insignificant depending on —

The dollar value of aggregate compensation in excess of the cap;
How and where the excess is recorded (direct or indirect costs); and
The mix of contracts based on market-based vs, cost-based pricing.

My opinion, for what it’s worth.

Take good care of yourselves. Or as Garrison Keillor would say “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”
federalregister.gov federalregister.gov

Sharpen Your Pencils – Q4 Proposal Prep is Here!

As Q4 approaches, government contractors should be readying themselves for the mad dash.

Over a third of government contracts are awarded during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year. Government agencies are emptying their budgets and providing contractors a window of opportunity to seriously expand their client base.

Where do I start? Let the courtship begin!

Winning a government contract is very much a courtship. Government customers must know you, like you and have confidence in you. The courtship will take time and energy. Marketing and networking over the next few months are going to be crucial factors in the amount of new business you bring on board. Remember, these government customers are being wooed by every prince and every pauper. You must stand out in all the right ways. Be ready to discuss “what you are going to do for them”, not “what you have done in the past”. Your past merits will certainly come into play, but focus on your future together, as government contractor and government contractee.

In sickness and health, till contract expiration do us part.

With the threat of government shut downs no longer looming and a more stable government budget in place, spending should be ramped up in this fourth quarter.

Make sure your business get a filling piece of the pie!

Not sure where to start? Need help responding to proposals about to hit the market?

…let Arrowhead Solutions, LLC guide and assist.

Are you up-to-date on recent GSA Schedule changes?

A recent interview with Tom Sharpe, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service with GSA, details the changes that will help modernize the program and allow for greater buying power.

Link to article: FederalTimes.com

http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140613/ACQ01/306130013/GSA-pushes-overhaul-its-Multiple-Award-Schedules-contracting-processes?odyssey=nav|head

ArrowHeadSolutionsLLC.com

Meet the Team: Steve Griffin, Contracts Specialist

StephenGriffin200Arrowhead Solutions would like to introduce and welcome  a new team member, Steve Griffin. Steve, PhD, joined Arrowhead Solutions in February 2014 and brings with him over 32 years of experience in Federal Government contracting.

Mr. Griffin has worked a wide variety of contracts types involving acquisition of supplies, services, research, weapons development and testing, and managed healthcare.  In his career, Steve has worked for, worked as a contractor employee providing support to, or worked for firms contracting with the Federal Government.

Steve started his career in contracting in 1981 as a contracts intern with the U. S. Air Force at Luke Air Force.  In 1983 the Air Force moved him to Nellis AFB, and from there he moved to the China Lake facility of the Naval Air Warfare Center in 1985, where he worked until 1992.  In 1992, Steve moved to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, as a subcontract administrator.  From 1994 until 1996 he worked for a small disadvantaged business which held a number of contracts with the FAA for asbestos inspection and monitoring as the manager of contracts at its Denver area office.  From 1996 until 1998 Steve worked for an environmental engineering firm that held contracts with the EPA, Corps of Engineers, the U. S. Forest Service, and other Federal agencies.  In 1998 Steve moved on to a contract administrator position with a firm supporting the contracting operations of the DoD TRICARE program, and in 1999 he returned to the Government with TRICARE as a contract administrator working a number of contracts to acquire healthcare services for active duty military, their family members, and military retirees.  In 2000 Steve was appointed a contracting officer at TRICARE, and was responsible for the administration of five different regional healthcare services contracts over his time as a contracting officer at TRICARE.  In 2006 Steve left TRICARE and contracting to pursue a PhD.  During his time completing his degree program, Steve provided contracting advice and assistance to a firm that held healthcare administration contract with the DoD and the VA.  From February 2013 through January 2014 Steve worked as a contract specialist as an employee of the firm providing support to the GSA, Region 8 FAS office in Lakewood, Colorado working a number of service contracts and task orders.  With the end of his work at GSA, Steve joined Arrowhead Solutions.

Steve holds a BS in Natural Resource Management degree, a Master of Applied Communication degree, and a PhD in Communication Studies degree.   He received a DAWIA Level III certification while with TRICARE, and earned a graduate certificate in ADR from the University of Denver while completing his master’s degree.

How can Stephen and Arrowhead assist your business?

STOP – Don’t pay for SAM Assistance or Registration. Why? It’s FREE and EASY!

Let’s debug this common urban legend of government contracting: Someone tells you have to pay for a “service” in order to register your company with SAM.gov OR you have tocon-artist-alert pay for someone to update your entity’s registration.

So, you’re a government contractor, or you’re wanting to become one. You ask around, “What do I do first?” The responses are muddled, you do some Googling, then you start to really notice the emails offering services to set up or update your registration. WAIT – WHAT?! Services?? I have to pay for this?? The long and short answer: NO

You should never, ever in a million years have to pay for these “services” the emails claim to offer – EVER! The SAM registration takes about 15 minutes to complete, and any updates to it take less than 5 (honestly – it’s that easy)

Be aware of these other “offers” and how the issues can be addressed for free:

1) Year Long Technical “Support”
  • Updates are only as necessary, and often times SAM.gov only needs to be reviewed once a year
  • There is no “support” required
2) SAM.gov Migration Annual Updates
  • Migration happens once; Most likely all government contractors who have registered in the old CCR have already been migrated
3) FAR Updates (if necessary)
  • SAM.gov DOES NOT provide FAR updates!
  • During the annual update of the entity registration, these are already incorporated
4) Basic Changes to Registration (NAICS codes, contact info., contracts awarded, etc.)
  • This is a part of the basic updating
  • Takes 5 minutes!
5) Government Buyer Submission
  • Only if offering disaster response
  • One page within SAM.gov
  • Takes 30 seconds to complete!
6) Verification of Dun & Bradstreet Number (required)
  • Can be done by logging into iUpdate
  • If it is needed, you will be directed after SAM.gov login
7) SAM Registration Completion
  • This is a 15 minute process
  • Can be done for free! (or divide the completing person’s rate by the time it takes – that’s really the cost; just a few dollars of opportunity cost)
8) Verified Vendor Seal of Approval
  • BEWARE – THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT RECOGNIZE THIS “SEAL”!
So, all in all it may take one person a total of maybe, maybe 25 minutes PER YEAR to either register or update SAM.gov. Now, unless you are paying your employees an exorbitant salary, isn’t 25 minutes much more affordable than the approximately $600 price tag companies out there are charging? I’m not an economics specialist by any means, but I think I’ll go with the 25 minutes, and I hope you do the same.

Still need help? Check out Arrowhead Solutions – we’ll lead you in the right direction with a FREE 30-minute consultation. We don’t like to be scammed, and we definitely don’t want our clients to deal with these “support” claims either.

 

Meet the team! Carrie Grigg – Contracts Specialist

New Team Member Spotlight: Carrie Grigg

ProfilePicGrigg

Carrie joins Arrowhead Solutions,LLC as a Government Contracts Specialist.  She brings ten years of experience in contract management and business development in diverse fields including IT, A/E/C, bioscience and energy.  While specializing in federal and state government contracts, Carrie collaborates with partners and clients to identify strategic contract opportunities, write proposals, improve business processes, and is passionate about creating a positive customer interaction.  In addition to assisting companies win government contracts, Carrie’s interests include writing, painting and exploring the use of social media to obtain customer feedback and build relationships.  Carrie holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia.

Visit Arrowhead on the web to see what our government contract specialists can do for your small business.