What Contractors Need to Bid on Government Contracts

by Alex Gray
June 6, 2024
Read Time: Less than 7 Mins
Last Modified: June 24, 2024

If you’re looking to grow your construction business, government jobs can be incredibly profitable and a great addition to your project portfolio. However, these projects come with several additional considerations. Before bidding on government jobs, it’s crucial to make sure you have a plan in place for:

    • Documenting and submitting certified payroll reports
    • Safety certifications
    • Union reporting
    • Safety forms
  • Minority compliance

Government Readiness Checklist

The accuracy of this information will be under harsh scrutiny so it’s important to make sure you’re prepared. Below, we included a summary of payroll and safety requirements and tips for compiling accurate information, as well as helpful resources to find the right federal contracts for your company. You can also get started today by downloading our free printable checklist.

Read: Learn The Ins and Outs of Multi-State Payroll

Certified Payroll Reporting

For nearly 100 years, the Davis-Bacon Act has been in place to protect government workers by setting a prevailing wage, or average wage for a specific type of worker in a particular geographic area. This was put in place because many employers at the time were trying to win jobs by offering the lowest bid. Oftentimes, these low bids were only possible because the contractors would pay their employees minimum hourly wages.

Since the Davis-Bacon Act, contractors working on government jobs must prove they’re paying their employees the prevailing wage. This is done by submitting certified payroll reports on a weekly basis throughout the duration of the project. Certified payroll reports include information like:

  • Hourly rates
  • Overtime hours
  • Prevailing wages
  • Insurance
  • Retirement contributions
  • Taxes
  • Fringe benefits

Certified payroll reporting can become challenging, particularly if your company is taking on multiple government jobs at the same time in different locations. If that’s the case, your employees could be working on several projects simultaneously. This means an employee could have multiple prevailing wages, and this difference needs to be reflected in the certified payroll report.

Union Tracking

Another significant challenge is that even while a contractor works a government job, all union regulations are still in effect.

One major component of employing union workers is adhering to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) outlined by their union. These agreements are unique to each union so it’s important for employers to understand the CBAs of their union workers.

Union reporting is the proof that contractors are adhering to the guidelines outlined in the union’s CBA. Calculating payroll on jobs with multiple unions and multiple localities can be daunting, and mistakes result in costly fines.

It’s important to have a plan in place to help ease the stress of accurately reporting this information. Many contractors opt for an experienced union payroll software or service.

EEO/Minority Compliance Reporting

Federal contractors who employ more than 50 people must accurately track workforce demographic data and submit an EEO-1 report annually. The federal government uses this information to gather data on employment diversity and determine if there are any cases of workplace discrimination. Maintaining these records can be a challenge, depending on the size of your company, a payroll software or service could help streamline your EEO-1 reporting.

Safety Certifications

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires all construction companies to provide training to their employees. These safety records must be tracked for each employee. This could present a challenge based on the size of your company and administrative staff.

Oftentimes, companies attempt to track safety data using spreadsheets. However, this could lead to mistakes or lost data, causing delays or fines. You can reduce this issue by storing safety information in one place and tracking it using a construction safety software.

Safety Training

OSHA requires employers to inform workers about hazards and appropriate safety procedures. One of the most common ways to inform workers is by using Toolbox Talks. Some companies rely on paper handouts and emails to distribute crucial safety information, but it can be difficult to track and store completion information. In recent years, many companies have shifted to safety software to help them easily distribute safety training to their employees to prepare for government jobs.

JHAs, Site Inspections and Other Safety Forms

To keep workers appropriately “in-the-know” when it comes to jobsite safety during federal projects, safety managers can provide job-specific safety information outlined in items like Job Hazard Analysis (JHAs) forms.

However, this information can change frequently, and if you’re working a government job for an extended length of time, you need to be ready to adjust procedures quickly. Adopting a system or software to help easily distribute, edit, and track key safety items can help you maintain compliance on government jobs.

How Payroll and Safety Software can Help You Win Government Jobs

Payroll and safety software give you access to industry-specific features that automate many of the time-consuming processes associated with maintaining compliance on public projects.

With payroll software, you can:

  • Generate certified payroll reporting at the click of a button
  • Automatically apply fringe benefits, prevailing wage rates,and deductions
  • Calculate multiple states, rates, trades,and localities on a single timecard
  • Get instant access to reports like EEO/minority compliance, union, worker’s compensation, job costing and more!

With safety software, you can:

  • Store all your safety information in one location
  • Track inspections, training, certifications, JHAs and more
  • Access pre-built Toolbox Talks or build and distribute your own

How to Find the Right Opportunity for Your Company

Showing that you’re capable of documenting safety and payroll information is crucial to proving your ability to win contracting opportunities. But how do you find the right government project for your organization?

The U.S. Small Business Administration offers a database where you can view federal project opportunities for free. Additionally, the federal government uses this database to research contractors for their jobs. You can submit your company’s information for free to start appearing in these searches.

How to Build Winning Government Contract Bids

Building winning bids for government jobs involves a few basic steps:

  • Be Organized– Proving you have the necessary steps to track important information, like payroll and safety data, is a large component of winning Federal government contracts. Having this information stored in one location — like in a construction payroll or safety software — makes organizing data easy.
  • Perform Research– As mentioned above, it’s important to understand the job before you start building your bid. Taking advantage of resources — like the SBA’s searchable database — allows you to see important project details and government trends to gain a competitive advantage while bidding for larger contracts.
  • Craft Compelling Reasoning for Project Costs– Government contracts are not awarded based solely on the lowest price. The government project owners want the job to be performed well and at a reasonable cost. It’s key that your company offers justification for costs based on project requirements. If you focus on crafting compelling reasoning for these costs, it can give you the advantage you need to win contract opportunities.

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Take the First Step to Winning Government Contracts

Before bidding on government contracts, it’s important that you have a plan in place to address safety and payroll compliance. Implementing construction safety and payroll software are the easiest means of consistently adhering to government guidelines in a timely manner. To help you get prepared, download our free printable checklist.

Payroll4Construction, a construction payroll service, and SafetyHQ®, a construction safety app, offer payroll and safety features tailor-made to help you easily maintain compliance with Davis-Bacon jobs. By taking advantage of these software, you can focus more on researching the right government job for your company and winning lucrative contracts.

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