Category Archives: Mail Bag

MAIL BAG: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T SEE EYE TO EYE WITH A PROSPECT?

Part-time reader G. Watanabe writes, “I recently called on a new federal prospect, let’s call her Marlene, whose mission is a good match for my solutions.  Unfortunately, Marlene had recently had a bad accident with weights and couldn’t wait for the meeting to end.  What do I do next?”  It’s a big federal market, G., and maybe you and Marlene weren’t meant to be.  Different personalities and people with different ideas of what their mission is are facts of federal business life.  Don’t take it personally.  If you just plain cannot get along with someone, or Read more

MAIL BAG – WHEN IS A BUSINESS SMALL?

Alert reader G. Paltrow writes, “My small office in Waco, TX only has 15 people in it doing $2 million a year in sales.  I think we’re a small business, even though our parent company, located all the way in New York City, has 2,000 people and $50 million in sales.  They’re not really part of our operation, aren’t we small?”  Sorry, G., the most likely answer is “no”, your business is not Read more

MAIL BAG: MUST I LABOR OVER CATEGORY DESCRIPTIONS WHEN ALL THE CUSTOMER WANTS IS MARY?

Alert reader M. Kunis of Quahog, RI writes, “My long-time federal customer wants us to hire Mary, one of their own recent retirees, and have Mary go back to work for them as a contract employee.  How do I work this with the labor rates I have on my Schedule?”.  Excellent question, M. and one that you’re smart to think about.  While procurement rules try to ban “personal services” acquisition, people are people.  They like working with those that they know, especially Read more

MAIL BAG: WHETHER OR NOT YOU’RE A PRIME, YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION

Long-time reader T. Selleck writes, “My CEO has had it with being a federal prime contractor.  We still want to sell to federal agencies, but we’re going to let someone else hold the contract.”  This is a popular, but dangerous, approach for commercial companies to consider these days, T.  With all of the new rules and increased oversight, some could make a legitimate complaint that federal business is best left to full-time federal primes.  Yet, not being a prime often means Read more

MAIL BAG: FAILURE TO PAY ATTENTION IS NOT A CONTRACT DEFENSE

Returning reader R. Zellweger writes: “We lost our contract manager in a kiln explosion last year.  Since then, we haven’t filed a sales report or modified our contract, even though we’ve been selling new items.  Is there a grace period for people like us?”  Sorry, R, but government contracting can be an unforgiving mistress.  Your company is required to pay attention to the terms and conditions of your contract at all times.  There is no free pass just because you Read more