CONTRACTOR LIFE DURING A PARTIAL SHUT-DOWN
The government was poised to experience a partial shut-down as we went to press. Here is the good, bad, and the ugly about conducting contracting business while some of your customers are not around.
1. GoodAgencies that control most of the discretionary spending are open and have their money. DOD, the VA, HHS, Education, Labor, and Energy are all open for business. While any inter-agency operations they share with others may be impacted, they are otherwise running on a normal basis.
2. BadDHS, Treasury, Transportation and others are mostly closed. Only “essential” operations like airport security are functional. If you’re a company supporting those essential functions, your people should be at work. When you get paid for that work, however, depends on when the agency officially re-opens. This goes for all outstanding invoices your company may have with closed agencies as well. No pay till this is resolved.
3. Ugly Uncertainty abounds on whether your service workers working on a client site can show up. Generally, unless the work they do is considered essential, the answer is no. This means that you can’t charge for their work since they’re not working on that contract. Rather than lose good people, especially when a closure is likely to be short, is not something most contractors contemplate. Instead, they shift those workers to overhead and bite the financial bullet. At press time there was no clear way or time frame out of this morass. It will likely be until January before there is. Keep the egg nog at hand and put another log on the fire.