If you are interested in doing business with the Federal Government, you must be aware of the specific regulations that apply. The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) ensure that purchases are made in a standard, consistent, fair and impartial manner.
Government contracts are different from commercial contracts, and may contain or reference provisions that are unique to the government:
Exact specifications are included in the RFQ or IFB documents, and will be incorporated into a final contract. Some specifications may reference other specifications! Some contracts contain a clause that authorizes the contracting officer to change the specifications or terms, as long as they are “within the general scope of the contract.” NEVER bid on a contract unless you have read and understood all the specifications. Contact the Contracting Officer for clarification before you submit any proposal.
As a government contractor, you will be required to comply with labor standards such as the Service Contract Act, Contract Work Hours, and Safety Standards Act.
For default: The government may cancel your contract if you fail to make on-time delivery; fail to make progress on a contract; or fail to perform any provisions of the contract. Before terminating for default you will be given an opportunity to remedy the issue, or show why your contract should not be terminated.
For convenience: The government may terminate all or part of a contract for its convenience, if products become obsolete or services are deemed unnecessary. You will be compensated for the work you have already completed.
Inspection and Testing
The government may inspect and test the items you deliver, to make sure they conform to the contract requirements and specifications.
The government is obliged to make prompt payments for products delivered or services rendered. Agencies have different methods for invoicing. Your contract document will include invoicing instructions and the office responsible for payment. The payment office may be different from the place where you deliver the items or perform the service. The more accurate your invoice, the more quickly you will be paid, so it’s important to understand the payment process thoroughly. For relatively small contracts you’ll generally be paid in one lump sum, after the government accepts delivery. Larger contracts may allow you to invoice and receive partial payments.