This is Big Business
How security and safety companies can grow through government procurement
- By Ben Vaught
- Mar 01, 2020
When it comes to government contracting,
security spending is big business—and
small business too. Billions of dollars
are at stake for all companies—big and
small—tasked with supplying goods and
services, preventing cyberattacks, providing counterintelligence
and keeping the public safe.
Just think, of the Pentagon’s $718 billion 2020 budget request,
about $143 billion was marked for procurement. Meanwhile, defense
department contracts skyrocketed to about $373 during fiscal
year 2018, eating up a huge portion of the $559 billion in
overall federal contracting spending.
Although a significant amount of allocated contracting dollars
are consumed by security behemoths such as Lockheed
Martin and Raytheon Co., there are plenty of opportunities for
smaller businesses too.
Here is how to determine whether your safety and security
company is a good fit, and how it could ultimately profit:
What’s Out There?
On the federal level, security contracts are allotted for a variety
of assignments, ranging from the construction of fighter jets to smaller gigs such as opportunities to guard federal facilities.
Some states, including Washington, Virginia and California, are
ranked higher in defense contracting spending, but they certainly
are not the only areas where opportunities are plentiful.
Contracts are available through multiple tiers of government,
ranging from the local to federal levels. Jobs can also be found
through special districts, a form of government created by local
communities to meet specific needs.
It is also worth noting that government agencies frequently
lump security-related products and services into a single category,
regardless of what the product actually is. This can muddle search
results—after all, alarm system contracts are a lot different than
weapons dealers—and make it tricky to link contractors with relevant
Contract seekers can find relevant postings with greater ease
by visiting the North American Industry Classification System,
and determining which codes apply to their goods or services.
If you are a small business, you could have a big advantage when
it comes to landing contracts.
Governments aim to award at least five percent of contracting
dollars to small, disadvantaged businesses each year. They strive
to set aside additional money for women-owned small businesses,
and businesses owned by service-enabled veterans.
Is Your Company a Good Fit?
By familiarizing yourself with government contracting jobs within
the security sector, you will soon discover that the space is rife
with opportunities. Local and state governments are frequently
looking to work with companies who offer security and safety
products or services. They are seeking security systems, security
guards, weapons and ammunition, disaster recovery, canines, and
other safety and security equipment.
No matter your specialty, if you are in the security business,
there is likely an opening that matches it. Understandably, some
small business might find procurement intimidating, and shy
away from participating. But the truth is, there are plenty of incentives
for small and minority-owned businesses that help level
the playing field and make dreams of procurement attainable.
As mentioned, opportunities are plentiful in the government procurement
space – it is finding the right ones that is the problem.
Government job boards can be a black hole of expired and irrelevant
postings, and sorting through them can be an exercise
Fortunately, professional bidding services such as Demand-
Star can eliminate the headache with filters that allow job seekers
to zero-in on relevant jobs at the state and local level, while eliminating
inappropriate listings. DemandStar also automatically
sends appropriate government opportunities to businesses, which
eliminates the need for businesses to sort through listings.
Time saved through such services will allow you to spend more
time preparing bids and reviewing contracts.
Before seeking out contracts, ensure your business is registered
with the appropriate agencies. If you plan to do business
with the government, you will need to create a system for award
management profile. And if you are a business looking to seek
out opportunities for minority-owned or women-owned, or disadvantaged
businesses, you will need to self-certify with the Small
Submitting a Winning Bid
With more than 28,000 active opportunities on the government’s
website – and plenty more at the state and municipal levels – there
is no shortage of contracting jobs. Nevertheless, when it comes to
a space as saturated as the security industry, competition is fierce.
To win a bid, you will need to submit a capability statement
that introduces your business and lays out why it is the best
match for a desired job. Within your proposal, make sure to include
your business’ specific advantages, and why you believe it
is the best candidate.
Also, take time to read the job description, and ensure you
have addressed the perquisite requirements in your proposal.
Provide a timeline of how you plan to execute the project, and
explain how you will overcome challenges or obstacles.
You should be prepared to address any follow-up questions
that might arise, and be available in the event the hiring committee
requires an in-person presentation.
As a general rule, it is also a good idea to actively network. Try
connecting and meeting up with some contracting offers to better
familiarize yourself with the process, while introducing them with
Submitting a bid can be a complicated and time-intensive process,
but with the right strategy and approach, it could pay off in
a big way.
How Government Work Can
Recession Proof a Business
There has been a lot of buzz about a possible impending recession.
And with the devastating 2008 recession still fresh in many
minds, people are preparing for the worst.
The good news is that governments will always have money
to spend on procurement, thus lessoning financial roller coaster
rides for contract recipients. By preparing your business for the
procurement process now, you will essentially be recession-proofing
it for the next downturn.
Entering the world of government procurement might seem
overwhelming, but for sectors as lucrative as the security field, it
is an area worth considering.
If you are a security company looking for new business opportunities
and avenues of expansion, contracting could be your
golden ticket. It could also be the insurance
your company needs to survive tumultuous financial
cycles and an increasingly competitive
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Security Today.