June 25, 2018 - In Federal Government contracting, there are a plethora of opportunities and a plethora of players - some better than others. How do you know which consultant is best, which referral partner won't cheat you, or which company would make a better teaming partner or sub-contractor? It usually boils down to common, (or not so common) sense. Leverage multiple strategies for vetting as outlined below.
(1) - Use data and intelligence to vet the consultant or partner. This can be accomplished via a search engine;
(2) - Review the contracts won by researching FPDS;
(3) - Ensure the company is not on the Excluded Parties list;
(4) - Get references - both external and internal - and also "ask around" to references NOT provided;
(5) - Contact your local PTAP for any insight or help they may be able to provide;
(6) - Visit the place of business and talk to the staff, particularly those you will be working alongside (ie. HR/staffing, proposal writing, finance and accounting, compliance, etc.);
(7) - Maintain as much legal control as possible over seeing the SOW, pricing and invoices;
(8) - Going forward, make it a standard practice upon contract close out to debrief with the partner about what went well and areas for improvement;
(9) - Don't make the same mistake twice.
There's a dime a dozen of government contract consultants and actual (or aspiring) contractors. The trick is finding the consultant, partner, teammate, sub-contractor etc that fits well with your company ethics and personality. If they don't fit, well... as they say "swipe left".