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Loading the Dice in DC, Legally: Learn the Politics and Realities of Federal Contracting

The federal sales game is partly mastering the bureaucracy and partly understanding the politics involved. Knowing how the game is played legally, within the rules, can put you on equal footing with the experienced federal contractors in dealing with the bureaucracy. Hopefully, this book will also help you overcome the inherent insiders' edge that experienced contractors enjoy.

Loading the Dice in DC, Legally: Learn the Politics and Realities of Federal Contracting is primarily about three things:

  1. competition (or the lack of it) in the federal market,
  2. why open competition is gradually eroding under purchasing rules, and
  3. how to use this knowledge to your advantage in playing the game.

Loading the Dice in DC, Legally: Learn the Politics and Realities of Federal Contracting will tell you what you need to hear, if not necessarily what you want to hear.

Federal agencies hold free seminars and publish how-to materials that tell newcomers to the market to take the following three steps to win a federal contract:

  1. register to do business with the federal government,
  2. find a bidding opportunity at the federal public bidding site, and
  3. make a bid.

Left unsaid is that these steps rarely lead to a contract, because agencies have someone else in mind. The game is not won by responding to public bids published by agencies you do not know. Someone is already there doing business with them.

Simplistic "getting started" advice is analogous to saying you can win at tournament poker by getting a casino players card. Actually that may just get you a seat at a poker table full of seasoned pros. As in poker, newcomers to the federal market need to know the gritty, in the trenches strategies that can make the difference between going home empty-handed and winning contracts.

The information about the influence of politics in federal contracting is not about steering of contracts to campaign contributors and favored parties. This type of political influence on contracting has always been present to some degree although more so at the local levels of government. And the influence of politics on award decisions will not go away because people, money, and politics will always influence governmental decisions.

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