Frequent Questions about Contracting with EPA
On this page:
- Where can we find EPA's 8(a) and small business opportunities?
- How does the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identify small businesses that may qualify for a procurement opportunity?
- What are the government programs that provide preferences for small businesses?
- What assistance is available at EPA for small businesses interested in doing business with EPA?
- Most large EPA contractors have pre-selected their small business teaming partners, so how can a new company join an existing team?
- How do I prepare a quote or proposal?
- How can I match EPA expectations with a reasonable proposal or quote?
- Is there a database with past quotes that were successful bids?
- Do I need capability in place at the time the quote is submitted before award?
- Where can I locate a list of points of contact for contracting offices at Headquarters and in the Regions?
- Which contracting offices purchase the goods or services my company provides?
Where can we find EPA's 8(a) and small business procurement opportunities?
The Office of Acquisition Solutions (OAS) annually compiles an acquisition forecast that includes information on prospective requirements for the current year and the following fiscal year, and lists all small business procurement opportunities including set-aside competitions, 8(a) and HUBZone opportunities. The forecast lists all procurement opportunities exceeding $150,000 by EPA's major contracting activities and provides the name of the Contracting Officer, Service Center Manager or Team Leader responsible for the acquisition. The acquisition forecast is available on:
To locate EPA "current" procurement opportunities, visit:
If you register your company e-mail address with the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) Codes that apply to your type of business, you will automatically receive e-mail notification the day the procurement opportunities in those NAICS Codes are posted.
EPA encourages teaming arrangements between large and small businesses. For a list of the current EPA contractors for your use in considering potential teaming arrangements, please view the EPA Active Contracts list.
The Active Contracts list page also contains the EPA organizational chart with names that you can use to submit an introduction letter or provide information on your firm and your capabilities. In addition, EPA's Office of Small Business Programs (formally OSDBU) provides companies with more information on doing business with EPA.
How does the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency identify small businesses that may qualify for a procurement opportunity?
EPA uses a variety of tools to locate small businesses to meet the procurement needs of the agency, including:
- SBA's Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) which is part of the Central Contractor Registration (CCR)
- sources sought notices published in Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps)
- sources from EPA's OSBP Office (formally OSDBU) that maintains company profile information as well as the EPA specific Small Business Vendor database
The most widely used search tool that EPA uses to locate small businesses is SBA‘s Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS) Database. DSBS is a free marketing tool that you can put to work for your business if you provide the maximum amount of current information.
- You can register at the System for Award Management site.
In addition, it is very helpful for your business to include past performance information. A business profile should include the point of contact for any references identified. You are encouraged to keep all information listed regarding your business current at all time.
What are the government programs that provide preferences for small businesses?
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is responsible for the certification programs that provide preferences for small businesses in federal contracting.
- Find information on the 8(a) program
- Find information on the HUBZone program
- Find information on the Women-Owned Small Business Program (WOSB)
These three programs provide preferences for small businesses, but they vary in their requirements to qualify and they also vary in the type of preference they provide. For further details, please contact SBA.
What assistance is available at EPA for small businesses interested in doing business with EPA?
EPA's best resource for small businesses to learn how to do business with EPA is the Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP, formally OSDBU). OSBP conducts one-on-one counseling and monthly training sessions.
Find more information in one of two ways:
- visit EPA's Office of Small Business Programs site
- call 1-866-618-7870
The Small Business Programs conducts scheduled counseling sessions one-day every two months to provide "hands-on" assistance and guidance for small businesses seeking to do business with EPA. These counseling sessions may extend to one-half business day and may also include representatives from program offices who are seeking contractors to provide specific goods or services.
Most sessions are divided into two parts:
- First half: focuses on informative presentations on how to market your firm to EPA and includes information on doing business electronically.
- Second half: provides an opportunity to market one-on-one to EPA program officials.
There is no charge for these counseling sessions, however, seating is limited and primary interest is given to firms who have not done business with EPA.
- If you are interested in attending, please contact Small Business Programs at 1-866-618-7870 (toll free).
Note: Early registration is urged and participants are encouraged to bring copies of capability statements or other relevant business information.
Most large EPA contractors have pre-selected their small business teaming partners, so how can a new company join an existing team?
Teaming arrangements are negotiated between the prime contractor and the small business. EPA's Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP, formally OSDBU) provides assistance in suggesting large and small businesses for potential networking, teaming, or mentor/protege relationships; however, it is up to the businesses to finalize the arrangements.
To help you meet other companies in your field, you can:
- attend various federal procurement training sessions
- view the source list for the procurement opportunities that fit your company
- contact the other businesses on the list to see if any opportunities are available
- view EPA's Active Contracts Listing for possible teaming opportunities with the prime contractors that currently contract with EPA.
How do I prepare a quote or proposal?
After determining that you are interested in a particular EPA acquisition, you need to obtain a copy of the solicitation package typically referred to as the Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Quotation (RFQ). Each solicitation package will set forth EPA's technical requirements in a Statement of Work, and the package will also contain all the terms and conditions and evaluation criteria that will determine the successful contractor.
A contractor needs to carefully review the entire solicitation package to determine what exact information needs to be addressed in the proposal and clearly respond to all the requested information demonstrating ability to perform the work at a fair and reasonable price.
The contractor must address all technical, business, and other considerations requested in the solicitation. It is important to clearly address all the information requested in the solicitation package in order to be considered for award.
If you have questions regarding the solicitation, you need to submit them before the proposal due date for them to be considered.
- Please note that your proposal must be submitted within the time period specified in the solicitation package. If you are not selected for award, make sure to request information on why you were not selected to help improve your chances for success in the future.
How can I match EPA expectations with a reasonable proposal or quote?
To meet EPA expectations, it is important to make sure you understand the technical requirements, standard business practices, and the current market for the supplies or services required. If you don't have a substantial amount of experience in the market we suggest teaming with a more experienced contractor through subcontracting and even through the mentor-protege program.
Is there a database with past quotes that were successful bids?
There is no database with quote information nor is EPA allowed to release contractor quote information. However, a contractor can submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for a copy of the current contract and statement of work to see the government requirements.
- View more information on the EPA FOIA site.
Do I need capability in place at the time the quote is submitted before award?
If a company does not have the capability at the time a quote is submitted, the company's proposal must demonstrate how the technical capabilities will be in place prior to award. This area would have to be addressed in detail to assure the government that the technical requirements could be performed upon award. If it is a competitive procurement, not having the capability at the time of quote may impact the ranking of your proposal when compared to other companies who have the capability to perform the work.
Where can I locate a list of points of contact for contracting offices at Headquarters and in the Regions?
View the Contact Us page for a list of important points of contact for Office of Acquisition Solutions (OAS) employees in Headquarters, RTP, and Cincinnati, as well as procurement personnel in the Regions and field offices.
Which contracting offices purchase the goods or services my company provides?
EPA contracting divisions within the Office of Acquisition Solutions (OAS) are structured in alignment with the category management approach. However, in some cases, OAS contracting divisions purchase goods and services in support of a specific EPA program.
To learn more about the procurement support each OAS contracting division provides, please review the "Who Buys What" Crosswalk (pdf) . "Who Buys What" identifies the commodity groups purchased and program offices supported by each OAS contracting division. You may find more information about purchasing in EPA Regional and field offices by contacting these offices directly. For contact information, visit the OAS Directory.