What is FBO?

Chris WiedemannWhat is a prime and a sub?By Chris Wiedemann, consultant

In my last post, I covered solicitations – where the rubber meets the road in federal procurement. As I mentioned, solicitations take different forms and come out in different ways. Most of them come out on specific contract vehicles, and in turn, most of those vehicles have specific bid boards (for example, solicitations on the SEWP GWAC are released to the SEWP website, while GSA Schedule solicitations are released to eBuy).

This has the advantage of limiting the universe of competition, which makes the buying process easier on the government. However, there are occasions when a government buyer wants to open up a solicitation to the entire industry. This is known as an “open market” solicitation – and if the value of the planned acquisition is greater than $25,000, you’ll find it listed on Federal Business Opportunities, better known as FBO.

The advantage of FBO to industry is its extremely low barrier to entry. Although it helps to register with a valid DUNS code, it’s not necessary – anyone who is interested can sign up and view open market solicitations on FBO.

It’s also the best source of opportunity for companies that don’t have existing contracts with the government or access to partners that can provide that access. Essentially, if you’re just starting out in the world of federal contracting, FBO should be your first stop. Make sure to keep a particular eye on requests for information (RFI). They’re the best way to inform potential customers of your capabilities.

Of course, while FBO is a good source for open market opportunities, the best way to win government business is always to expand your contract portfolio – either through acquiring your own GSA Schedule or GWAC contract or by partnering with companies that can put you on their contracts. You’ll also want to make sure you know what your customer’s requirements and missions are before the solicitations hit the street – which is where immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team comes in!

Want to learn more about selling IT to the federal government? Sign up for my one-day class in McLean, Va. on April 19.

Click here to read my other What is…? blog posts. And to get more guidance on selling to government, reach out to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence team.


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