Rafael Castro Montes de Oca Arquitectos (RCMdO) is an 8(a) & HUBZone certified and full-service design practice that is dedicated to the development of urban design, architecture, interior architecture, project management and logistics support. Its founder, Rafael Castro Montes de Oca, AIA,LEED-AP, has more than 20 years of experience in the design, development, and administration of small and large projects on the public and private sector. His professional experience includes designing and participating in projects of great social importance in the Caribbean Region as well as serving as the Design Industry’s representative during the past 10 years through his leadership in Puerto Rico’s Architect’s and Landscape Architect’s Guild.
After several years considering the idea of selling to the Federal Government, Architect Rafael Castro and his Development Manager Isabel García-Luengo came to the Federal Contracting Center, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center in October 2016. After the initial counseling sessions, trainings and completion of the basic registrations, FeCC staff helped them applied for the 8a Business Development Program and HUBZone Certification. The firm was successful in both applications receiving the HUBZone certification in January 2017 and the 8(a) certification in July.
RCMDO has been following the roadmap develop by FeCC. They have been formally trained in how to do business with the Federal Government and have been in continuous contact with FeCC counselors for technical assistance and guidance. The firm’s commitment since day one has been uncompromisingly devoted to succeed in this market. RCMdO is gaining experience, it’s leadership is starting to meet with Small Business Specialists, procurement personnel, and Program Managers from targeted federal agencies to develop the right relationships. These meetings have produced several opportunities to respond to RFP’s for services in Puerto Rico for which RCMdO is perfectly positioned to provide.
Understanding the importance of building a track record in the federal market, the firm started pursuing small jobs with local federal agencies. In 2018 they competed and won $238,772 in contracts with the Department of Homeland Security. According to Architect Castro, these contracts are the launching pad that is schooling him in how to do business with the Federal Government and the discipline required to be successful in this market.
S. R. Special Police is a small disadvantaged business that provides security solutions and security guards services in Puerto Rico. The business was established in 2012 by its President, Mr. Eli Serrano. In September 2016 Josué Colón, Manager, visited the FeCC for the first time to receive assistance and orientation about federal business opportunities. During several counseling sessions Barbara Rivera, FeCC Counselor, guided and assisted Mr. Colón in federal contracting fundamentals, completing federal registrations such as DUNS, SAM and DSBS, discussing socioeconomic categories and SBA certification programs and identifying opportunities using FBO, FPDS searches and through direct marketing approaches. He immediately showed great enthusiasm and interest in the federal market and participated in several training events hosted and presented by the FeCC about federal contracting matters.
In 2017, after Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria the business management team dedicated themselves to explore new business opportunities with the federal government. They were invited by the FeCC Counselor to participate in the pre-proposal meeting and solicitation to provide Armed Security Guards services for Puerto Rico posted by FEMA. This opportunity seemed to be too ambitious and out of their business range. However, because they were properly registered and actively looking for opportunities, few months later they were approached by the USACE to provide security services at the port of Ponce, municipality on the south of the Island (Solicitation W911WN18R3002). Considering this opportunity was more aligned in terms of size to their capability they decided to present an offer to a federal agency for the first time. In November 2017 the company was awarded a contract for the total amount of $87,210 to provide 24/7 security guard services.
In December 2017 Eli Serrano and Ivonne Nieves met with FeCC Counselor to receive technical support to comply with on the contract’s requirements, the Contractor Manpower report. After discussing and assisting the client with its request FeCC Counselor directed some specific questions about the performance and administration of the contract. FeCC Counselor found out the contractor did not consider the Wage Determination clause appropriately. Immediately, FeCC Counselor provided specialized guidance on how to apply and use the clause correctly to calculate total labor costs. FeCC Counselor also provided recommendations on how to approach and resolve this situation with the Contracting Officer. The contract was modified to incorporate all required labor costs and the contract has been successfully extended for an additional term.
NV Services, LLC is a woman owned small disadvantaged general contractor that was established by its Principal Eng. Neyssa Varela to provide construction, project management, remodeling, flooring, roofing and alteration of properties services in Puerto Rico.
Neyssa has always been influenced by her father, Eng. xxx Varela, who used to have a successful construction firm for xx years. Being raised and educated by an active entrepreneur and engineer was crucial to define her career and passion. After spending xx years working and developing her career at the family business, when the economic crisis hit Puerto Rico, her father decided to cease operations. Shortly after, Neyssa decided to start her own firm to leverage her industry contacts, knowledge and managerial experience. Supported by her husband and business partner, she started her own business in xxx and dedicated herself to develop and grow the business. In 2016 Neyssa was named President of the Association of General Contractors, Puerto Rico Chapter, making her the first woman to lead this organization on the Island.
As an active industry stakeholder, Neyssa shortly became familiar and interested in the federal business opportunities. The Federal Contracting Center started working actively with the AGC providing training sessions and one-on-one counseling to general contractors. Neyssa, indeed, was one of them. Characterized for being a determined woman business owner and a strategic entrepreneur, she started working closely with Bárbara Rivera, FeCC/PTAC Counselor. From the beginning Bárbara Rivera assisted Neyssa in providing specialized counseling sessions about federal opportunities, SBA certifications, market trends & research, marketing efforts & strategies, teaming agreements, regulations, and worked on the business SAM/DSBS registrations, among many others. The FeCC/Counselor worked thoroughly with Neyssa to complete the EDWOSB self-certification and the 8(a) Business Development Program certification.
In March 2017, for its third consecutive year, the Federal Contracting Center/PTAC hosted the event Women in Contracting where Neyssa, along with other participants, had the opportunity to participate and meet with Contracting Officers from GSA, VA and the Puerto Rico ARMY National Guard (PRANG) to explore business opportunities and present their business capabilities. This event set the grounds to the Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) set aside Solicitation W912LR-17-B-0001 for Plant/Utilities Building Construction. FeCC/PTAC Counselor identified the opportunity and provided Neyssa with all the necessary information for her to present a competitive proposal. When the sealed bids were opened NV Services LLC resulted as the second lowest bidder. However, thanks to the FeCC/PTAC Counselor knowledge and expertise Neyssa was able to determine that the apparent winner was not a woman owned small business concern, therefore, it did not qualify for the award. Thus, in October 2017 NV Services LLC was awarded its first federal contract for the total amount of $1,479,820.00.
Also, on December 27, 2017 got certified as an SBA 8(a) Business Development Program Participant.
Martino Industrial Air, Inc. is a small disadvantaged business dedicated to provide air conditioning equipment, maintenance and repairs throughout Puerto Rico. The company was established in 2006 by Luis Martino, President and sole stockholder. Since its origins the business has served the financial, local government and pharmaceutical industry on the Island with excellent results which has led to successful business relationships and a high reputation. Thanks to FeCC’s close collaboration with the ARMY National Guard (PRANG) Contracting team, in July 2015 Sgt. Mariano Torres referred Luis Martino to us for specialized counseling and federal contracting assistance.
During their first face-to-face meeting with Barbara Rivera, Procurement Counselor, she explained and discussed federal procurement trends, socioeconomic categories & SBA certifications, assisted them with online registrations such as System for Award Management (SAM) and the Dynamic Small Business Search; taught them how to search for competitive solicitations, and supported the development of a company Capability Statement. Right from the beginning, Luis Martino expressed his interest in pursuing larger contracts with the PRANG and other federal agencies, since their federal experience has been limited due to lack of certifications and participation on competitive procurements. Since then, FeCC’s Counselor worked hands-on with the client to complete and submit their SBA 8(a) application.
In February 2016 Martino Industrial Air, Inc. was certified as a Participant of the 8(a) Business Development Program. FeCC’s Counselor continued supporting the client in developing a marketing strategy with targeted federal agencies; and during their first program year they received two 8(a) sole source contracts with the PRANG and GSA Public Building Service totaling $61,450. Also, the client quoted two additional contracts for the total amount of $223,000 that are still pending of award. As of today, they have received $145,822.00 in federal contracts.
A & M Exterminating Services, Inc. provides integrated pest management. janitorial and handyman services. In June of 2009 Mr. Alfredo Volckers and his wife Ms. Marcela Polera started the firm with the simple concept of providing a remarkable service at competitive prices. Since its inception, they have worked to preserve and grow a loyal customer base through both, prosperous and difficult economic times.
On October 2014, the firm came to the Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC) a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), interested in pursuing federal contract opportunities. The firm’s discipline and commitment to succeed was evidenced by their perseverance through difficult times. After the initial counseling sessions, trainings and completion of the basic registrations, FeCC staff helped them applied for the 8a Business Development Program, HUBZone Certification and the Veteran Owned Small Business verification. The firm was verified as a VOSB in July 2015, received the 8(a) certification in September 2016 and the HUBZone certification in October 2016.
A & M has been following the roadmap develop by FeCC. They have been formally trained in how to do business with the Federal Government and have been in continuous contact with FeCC counselors for technical assistance. As a result, they have won $97,464.00 in federal contracts since September 2016 and have created two additional jobs.
Overall Contractors Group, Inc is a dynamic, rapidly growing company established in 2007. The company has a constant commitment to customer’s satisfaction and the business experience and infrastructure necessary to carry out that commitment. Maintaining relationships with customers after construction, designing and implementing maintenance programs that will extend the life of a roof and cut down on expensive repairs later is part of the key to success.
Rafael Tirado, president, has been devoted to the principles of quality roof sealing and painting for more than 14 years. He brings an extensive experience in the coatings industry before opening his own company. He has passed that sense of devotion to the employees of the family-owned business. Every member of the Overall Contractors Group, Inc. team understands his or her role in maintaining excellent reputation for quality work that is guaranteed. Overall employees bring knowledge, quality, and professionalism to each job. Some of customers includes: Partners Business Services, Centro de Bellas Artes de Caguas, Amgen Manufacturing, McNeil Pharmaceuticals, Coca Cola Puerto Rico Bottles, Carmela Century Packing...and many more.
Mr. Rafael Tirado, president, and Mrs. Carmen Cruz, administrator, visited the Federal Contracting Center (FeCC) seeking for federal opportunities. The counselor guided them to obtain the basic requirements as being registered in System for Award Management (SAM). They were also interested in verifying the company’s eligibility for socioeconomic programs. After the assessment, FeCC counselor identified that they were eligible for 8a Business Development program and HUBZone program. We worked together in the process, and nowadays Overall Contractor is certified in both Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.
Proactive marketing strategies distinguish the Overall management, their continuous participation in seminars and matchmaking events have resulted in positioning the company with federal key players. In 2016, four federal contracts were awarded for the total amount of $288,900, servicing the Puerto Rico Puerto Rico Air National Guard (PRANG) and the Forest Service.
“The support, availability and commitment to achieve our goals have had a tremendous impact for our company growth. As of today, we are a federal contract awardee; FeCC’s continuous support is key for the management of those contracts as invoicing, labor laws, and other related topics at no cost. Honestly, I believe that FeCC is the program with major and direct impact to the economic development for small businesses.” Carmen Cruz
The Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities. The federal government has a goal of awarding 3 percent of all dollars for federal prime contracts to HUBZone-certified small business concerns.
Program benefits for HUBZone-certified companies include: Competitive and sole source contracting and 10 percent price evaluation preference in full and open contract competitions, as well as subcontracting opportunities
The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act of 1999 established an annual government-wide goal of awarding not less than 3 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans.
Also, on December 16, 2003, the Veterans Benefits Act of 2003 established a procurement program for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns (SDVOSBCs). This procurement program provides that federal contracting officers may restrict competition to SDVOSBCs and award a sole source or set-aside contract where certain criteria are met.
To be eligible for the SDVOSBC, you and your business must meet the following criteria: The Veteran must have a service-connected disability, the business must be small under the NAICS code assigned to the procurement, the Veteran must unconditionally own 51 percent of the business and have full control, the Veteran must hold the highest officer position in the business and must manage and control daily business operations.
The Government has an annual government-wide goal of awarding not less than 5 percent of the total value of all prime contract and subcontract awards to small business concerns owned and controlled by WOSB.
To qualify the firm must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women, the women must be U.S. citizens, the firm must be “small” in its primary industry in accordance with SBA’s size standards for that industry.
In order for a WOSB to be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” its owners must demonstrate economic disadvantage in accordance with the SBA eligibility requirements.
The largest government-wide contracts are procured through the General Services Administration (GSA). Businesses list their available goods and services, which procurement officers can access. Instead of issuing an RFQ or RFP, a procurement officer simply can order goods and services directly from you. The GSA Schedule is like a catalog from which procurement officers can order for goods and services up to a certain value.
SubNet is a database of subcontracting opportunities posted by large contractors looking for small businesses to serve as subcontractors.
The SBA maintains a directory of federal government prime contractors with subcontracting plans.
The GSA publishes a subcontracting directory for small businesses that are looking for subcontracting opportunities with prime contractors. The directory lists large business prime contractors that are required to establish plans and goals for subcontracting with small businesses.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) maintains a similar directory of large prime contractors that small businesses can use to find subcontracting opportunities.
You may want to market your small business directly to a government agency or prime contractor. You can do that by learning what agencies or prime contractors need, and then showing them how your business can fulfill that need.
Federal Procurement Data System
Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation is the repository of all federal contracting data for contracts over $25,000. With this system, you can see which agencies have contracts and with whom they have contracts, what agencies buy, and which contractors have contracts.
USASpending.gov tracks government spending through contracts awarded. This searchable database contains information for each federal contract. You can use this information to help identify procurement trends within the government and potential opportunities
Many federal agencies have what’s called an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) or an Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). These offices work to identify opportunities to contract with small businesses. You can find a list of the offices in the OSDBU Council Directory.
Each agency releases a procurement forecast that includes contracting opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses. Once you’ve reviewed an agency forecast and used systems like the Federal Procurement Data System and USASpending.gov to identify opportunities at a specific agency, you can contact that agency’s small business office. Also, each office hosts training and networking events to help small businesses identify contract opportunities.
Yes, To help provide a level playing field for small businesses, the government limits competition for certain contracts to small businesses. Those contracts are called “small business set-asides,” and they help small businesses compete for and win federal contracts. There are two kinds of set-aside contracts: competitive set-asides and sole-source set-asides.
Competitive set-aside contracts
When at least two small businesses could perform the work or provide the products being purchased, the government sets aside the contract exclusively for small businesses. With few exceptions, this happens automatically for all government contracts under $150,000.
Some set-asides are open to any small business, but some are open only to small businesses who participate in SBA contracting assistance programs.
Sole-source set-aside contracts
Most contracts are competitive, but sometimes there are exceptions to this rule. Sole-source contracts are a kind of contract that can be issued without a competitive bidding process. This usually happens in situations where only a single business can fulfill the requirements of a contract.
Some set-asides are for small businesses in certain socio-economic categories. You can bid on these set-aside contracts by participating in any of the SBA's contracting assistance programs.
Yes, under set-aside award conditions, small business prime contractors may need to subcontract part but not all of the work. There are limitations to the amount of work that you can subcontract. These limitations ensure that otherwise ineligible businesses don’t use small or disadvantaged businesses merely as vehicles to access set-aside contracts.
The limitations apply to contract set-asides for small businesses when the contract amount exceeds $150,000 (soon be increased to $250,000), and all other set-aside contracts under the 8(a), HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned, or women-owned small business programs.
The prime contractor's limitations on subcontracting are explained in detail in 13 CFR 125.6.
The non-manufacturer rule is an exception to the usual requirement that contractors supplying goods to the government perform at least 50 percent of the cost of manufacturing the items. Simply put, it allows a small business to supply products it did not manufacture — as long as those products come from another small business.
The SBA can waive the non-manufacturer rule requirement. To do this, the contracting officer must apply for a non-manufacturer rule waiver.
The regulations that govern the non-manufacturer rule are outlined in 13 CFR 121.406.
The Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency.
The Puerto Rico Federal Contracting Center (FeCC), a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. The content of any written materials or verbal communications of the FeCC does not necessarily reflect the official views of or imply endorsement by DoD or DLA.
Federal Contracting Center
Fomento Building - Office 107
355 F.D. Roosevelt Ave. Hato Rey, PR 00918
787-758-4747 Ext. 3181