When awarding a federal contract, there are several important criteria to consider. The vendor should be ready and able to deliver the highest quality goods or services. They must be willing to follow all rules, regulations, and protocols. And they should be always be focused on staying within budget and delivering on time.

But perhaps, most important of all, the vendor should understand how your organization operates, from the inside out. 

It saves time–and headaches–when a potential partner already knows the players on your team and their individual responsibilities. A vendor familiar with the concerns and priorities faced by each person involved in the contracting process.

CoverSix, a division of RedGuard, has been awarded and successfully fulfilled several federal contracts. We don’t need to wait for you to tell us what to do. We know the right questions to ask. 

We know that working for the federal government is a privilege. With every contract we fulfill, we prove our value and grow our knowledge base.

Here’s what else we know.

Every federal opportunity has five distinct layers with five distinct participants.

Layer 1. Contract Specialist (CS)

As the “right hand” of the Contracting Officer (CO), the Contract Specialist is typically the point person for the RFP process. 

The CS:

  • Conducts research
  • Gathers bids
  • Takes questions from bidders
  • Checks submissions for completeness
  • Assembles the offers for review

Most importantly, the CS makes sure that each and every bid complies with the RFP guidelines. When the CO is happy, the CS is happy.

Layer 2. Contract Officer (CO or KO, in military)

The Contract Officer has the serious responsibility of fulfilling the needs of the End User, who could be a front-line employee or active military. The CO has one primary objective: To find the best vendor for the contract.

The CO:

  • Spearheads the writing of the specification and evaluation criteria
  • Oversees the bidding process
  • Ensures that the process is legal, fair, and proper
  • Locates qualified suppliers
  • Establishes adequate competition
  • Oversees awarding of the contract 

Once the vendor is selected, the Contract Officer has the warrant, or the legal authority, to bind the federal government in a legal contract for goods and services. 

The CO may be assisted by a Contracting Officer Representative (COR) or a Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR).

Layer 3. End User

The End User—a front-line employee or active military—most directly uses the goods or services provided by the vendor.

The End User:

  • Serves the citizens.
  • Aims to deliver on the mission to the best of their ability.
  • Strives to make their organization, their agency, and their government look good.
  • Wants the job done right the first time.
  • Wants the job completed on time with the resources available.

The End User does not have the authority to sign a contract, but the EU does have the power to define the requirement and ask the CO to start the contract process. The End User’s greatest concern is that the statement of the work, as outlined in the RFP, is met. 

A Project Officer (PO) may assist the End User.

Layer 4. Program Manager (PM)

The Program Manager (PM) has decision-making and budget authority for the project.

The PM:

  • Delivers the agency mission to the best of their ability.
  • Helps define vendor requirements.
  • Sets the priorities for the budget.
  • Manages people and resources, including vendors.
  • Finds innovative solutions that are also reliable and cost-effective.
  • Spends the budget wisely.
  • Oversees the timeline.

The Program Manager (PM) also facilitates communications between the End User and the vendor. For example, if the End User wants to try potential products or pilot solutions, the PM manages those requests.

Layer 5. Stakeholder

The Stakeholder is the most senior government official who is held publicly accountable for the project. They do not award contracts. They care about accomplishing the mission while adhering to the budget and the timeline.

The Stakeholder may be any of these three:

  • Base Commander
  • Regional Director
  • Property Manager

“The buck stops” with the Stakeholder.

Choosing The Right Vendor For Your Federal Contract

Choosing the right vendor for a federal contract can be challenging. The right vendor should meet several criteria. The most important of which may be a deep working knowledge of the people and steps involved in the contracting process. CoverSix is a leading manufacturer of customizable, scalable modular buildings and an experienced vendor of federal contracts. We are familiar with the priorities and concerns facing every player at every level of the process.