October 12, 2015
Federal agencies put together their budgets at the end of each fiscal year for the next year. Once that budget is approved, it becomes their forecasting report. Forecasting reports differ slightly from agency to agency. In general they represent the list of goods and services that the agency will be spending their budget on throughout the year. Contractors can use these reports to compile a list of potential government contract opportunities.
So how do you forecast for your contracting company?
First, we suggest knowing which agencies you want to target. This can be done by examining which agencies provided the greatest opportunity for contractors in your industry in previous years. USA Spending (USASpending.gov) is a great resource for that information. Once you have your target list, you can begin examining forecasting reports for those agencies. Most have a page on their website dedicated to procurement. The Environmental Protection Agency’s page is a good example: EPA Procurement Forecasting Database.
Some agencies’ forecasting reports offer general information, while others provide greater levels of detail. Generally, we can tell which goods or services are forecasted for the upcoming year as well as the purchasing timeframe. Certain agencies specify whether purchases will be made through open competition including such resources as DOD EMall or the GSA Schedule, the technical point of contact and the estimated value of the contract.
Once you have developed your list of procurement opportunities, rank them by priority. The opportunities posted the earliest should have the highest priority as their deadlines will likely arrive soonest. We then recommend reaching out to the point of contact and initiating a dialogue about that specific opportunity.
When starting the dialogue, focus on building a relationship with the potential buyer and gathering information about the specific opportunity. The most important question to ask when inquiring about an opportunity is about the existence of an incumbent. If an incumbent exists, the technical point of contact should provide you with their name. You might also inquire about the agency’s level of satisfaction with the incumbent and/or ask in what areas the agency would like to see improvement. Some agency purchasers will share this information. Some will not. But you should always ask. If no incumbent exists, find out if the agency plans on releasing a sources sought or Request For Information prior to the solicitation or if the Statement Of Work has already been prepared. If the Statement Of Work has not been prepared or finalized yet, you have the opportunity to offer your industry knowledge and expertise to the buyer.
Using forecasting reports as a tool in your government marketplace arsenal will give you the chance to be a more successful contractor.
This article was originally posted on October 12, 2015 and the information may no longer be current. For questions, please contact GRF CPAs & Advisors at firstname.lastname@example.org.