Frequently Asked Questions

  1. I am new to government contracting. Where can I learn the basics about doing business with the Air Force?
  2. How can the Air Force Small Business Program help me connect with business opportunities, and what can I do to increase the chances of my business winning contracts with the Air Force?
  3. What types of programs are supported by the Air Force Small Business Program, and how can targeted small business programs (e.g. women-owned, veteran-owned and other special categories, such as businesses located in HUBZones) help my business?
  4. How do I certify my business through the 8(a) Business Development Program?
  5. Are there any special resources available for veterans and service-disabled veterans?
  6. What is a GSA Schedule, and how can it help my business?
  7. What resources are available to help me learn about the government acquisition process?
  8. How can a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) help my business, and where can I locate a PTAC in my area?
  9. How can a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) help my business, and where can I locate a SBDC in my area?
  10. How can I market my business directly to specific Air Force Bases?
  11. How do I find out about business opportunities with the Air Force?
  12. How can I find out about subcontracting opportunities available with prime contractors?


1. I am new to government contracting. Where can I learn the basics about doing business with the Air Force?
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There are several important guidelines that will help your small business in learning the basics of doing business with the Air Force:

  1. Find out how your product or service is typically purchased. Determine if you will provide services to support local or Air Force-wide purchases. Use the Long Range Acquisition Estimate (LRAE) database to review the types of products and services the Air Force currently uses.
  2. Work with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and local Small Business Specialist. Both can assist your small business in obtaining the appropriate credentials in order to locate procurement opportunities. To locate a Small Business Specialist, click here. To obtain information about the Small Business Administration, click here.
  3. Demonstrate your capabilities. Ask your Small Business Specialist what to include in a capability package and give a product demonstration or presentation, if requested.
  4. Keep your information fresh. Keep your Small Business Specialist informed about changes in your business and ask about new or projected requirements.


2. How can the Air Force Small Business Program help me connect with business opportunities, and what can I do to increase the chances of my business winning contracts with the Air Force?
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The Air Force Small Business Program can help small businesses connect with prospective government clients with the support of its dedicated Small Business Specialist community. Team members are located throughout the U.S. and have direct relationships with Major Commands and bases to determine available procurement opportunities within the Air Force. There are several ways for small businesses to increase opportunities to obtain Air Force contracts:

  1. Participate in a Support Program. These programs encourage technological advancement and the development of relationships with large businesses that have defense contracting experience in order to help build potential relationships with government clients.
  2. Locate a Small Business Specialist. These individuals work directly for the Air Force, and their expertise will assist your small business in appropriately responding to contracting opportunities with the Air Force. Contact us to find the closest one near you.


3. What types of programs are supported by the Air Force Small Business Program, and how can targeted small business programs (e.g. women-owned, veteran-owned and other special categories, such as businesses located in HUBZones) help my business?
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The following small business programs are accredited and recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration and supported by the Air Force Small Business Program:


Federal government regulations require small business participation in the acquisition process for many reasons. Small businesses bring great value to the Air Force every day by being innovative and flexible in ways to provide new solutions and technologies that cannot be matched or otherwise available by large enterprises. The Air Force Small Business Program works to champion solutions for Airmen that cannot be realized through any other means in the marketplace. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration website to obtain information on how to access credentials to be recognized for government procurement opportunities.


4. How do I certify my business through the 8(a) Business Development Program?
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Information on certification through the 8(a) Business Development Program is available on the U.S. Small Business Administration website.

5. Are there any special resources available for veterans and service-disabled veterans?
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Resource information for veterans and service-disabled veterans is available by visiting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website. Additional information is available on the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Veterans Business Development website.

6. What is a GSA Schedule, and how can it help my business?
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The GSA Schedule Program is managed by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to help connect federal purchasers with cost-effective and high-quality products and services provided by small businesses. Obtaining a GSA Schedule can help your company do business with the Air Force and other federal government agencies. For more information, please see "Getting on Schedule" at the GSA website.

To obtain any government contract, including a GSA Schedule, businesses must complete several registration requirements, which also are described on the GSA website. In addition, GSA recommends that before submitting an offer to obtain a GSA Schedule contract, companies should complete Pathway to Success, an education seminar designed to assist your small business in making decisions regarding whether obtaining a GSA Schedule contract is a fit for your small business. The Pathway to Success training seminar may be accessed from the GSA Vendor Support Center (VSC) under the "Education" tab.

7. What resources are available to help me learn about the government acquisition process?
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Small businesses can gain insight on the acquisition process through effective training tools provided in a Mock Source Selection Training, developed by Small Business Specialist Alice O’Neal. The training provides an in-depth overview of various steps within the acquisition selection process, including requirements, market research, risk analysis, acquisition strategy, Request for Proposal (RFP), proposal receipt and the final source selection.

In addition, a mock-up solicitation and Request for Proposal (RFP) are provided within the Mock Source toolbox to assist your small business in learning how to appropriately respond to RFPs. When competing for government contracts, it is vital to precisely respond to RFPs with the specific requirements that are outlined within the solicitation.

If you are unsure of the process or have specific questions, be sure to Contact a Small Business Specialist to assist your small business in successfully landing contracts to support the Air Force.

8. How can a Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) help my business, and where can I locate a PTAC in my area?
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Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) provide training and counseling on marketing, financial and contracting issues at minimal or no cost. These centers can help your small business identify the types of procurement opportunities that are best suited for the services that your small business can provide to potential government clients. In addition, these centers are located in most states and are partially funded by the DoD to provide small businesses with information on how to do business with the Federal Government. Find a PTAC in your area.

9. How can a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) help my business, and where can I locate a SBDC in my area?
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A Small Business Development Center provides resources to assist your small business in identifying and developing key characteristics such as operations, management, financing and marketing, which are essential functions in order to run a successful business. To locate a SBDC, click here.

10. How can I market my business directly to specific Air Force Bases?
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Small Business Specialists serve as an effective gateway to directly introduce products and services to local bases. In addition, Small Business specialists provide information and guidance on defense procurement procedures, provide placement on solicitation mailing lists and identify prime contract and subcontract opportunities.

11. How do I find out about business opportunities with the Air Force?
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Small businesses can utilize the Long Range Acquisition Estimate (LRAE) database to search for contracting opportunities within the Air Force Bases and directly market services by entering information provided in designated categories to include procurement type, NAICS Code, keyword searches, location, contract value, solicitation type, etc.

12. How can I find out about subcontracting opportunities available with prime contractors?
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Small businesses can investigate potential subcontracting opportunities and explore teaming options with major prime contractors that provide products and services to DoD. For the Small Business Administration subcontracting opportunities directory, click here.