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Government Contracts: An Introduction

Acquisition: The federal approach to acquisition begins with an agency’s development of a need. An agency will develop a strategy for the acquisition based on program management activities and determination of the contract type that will best suit the need.

Bidding: Federal contracts exceeding $100,000 are typically initiated by way of a competitive bidding process. This process is supervised by a Government contracting officer. This process may be conducted through sealed bidding or negotiated procurement.

Contract Types: Most often, a contract type is selected during contract negotiations. There are many types of government contracts. This variety affords contractors the flexibility that is often needed for a contract acquisition, as well as the contractor’s ability to provide the assortment and volume of products and/or services to meet Federal needs.

Contract Categories: A contract will fall into one of two categories: 1. fixed-price and, 2. cost-reimbursement. These categories help to determine the following elements to the federal contract: expectations, requirements, and profit. There are additional elements to an acquisition that are determined by the contract type. First, responsibility held by the contractor for the costs associated with their project performance, and second, the profit incentive that is available to the contractor for meeting or exceeding specified project goals.

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