The Pros and Cons of Federal Work and the Public Sector

With the election of President Donald Trump, and the announcement of his $1 trillion construction spending plan, many contractors prepared to flock to the public sector.  The massive investment by the government in the public construction sector led many contractors to switch their resources from the private sector to the public sector. However, before switching completely to the public sector, contractors should be aware of the glaring contrasts that the new field contains.

Benefits of the Public Sector

One key fear that contractors face in private sector construction is not being able to find a job. In the public sector, this problem is virtually nonexistent, with the amount of federal jobs being nearly endless. With President Trump’s initiative to invest more into construction, the public sector job opportunities do not seem to be at risk. This job security can be incredibly profitable and vital in sustaining a long-term business by taking on federal work.

Public Construction for United States
Image source: fred.stlouisfed.org

Limitations of the Public Sector

There are significant differences when contractors move from the private sector to public sector.  They are often amazed at how many new protocols they have to follow.  This is because in a public sector job, a contractor is receiving taxpayer money.  This adds extra scrutiny to make sure the job completes correctly.  Dave Butler, vice president of New South Construction, pointed out that “You have to be very careful that you are hitting every one of [the government’s] criteria.”  The reason for Butler’s comments is because if a company doesn’t complete the government’s contract in the proper manner, then the company could receive fines and/or lose profit.  For example, even slightly overstating the progress of a project can result in the contractor receiving a fine or termination.

Overall, there is less flexibility when working in the public sector. If the contractor needs additional funds he/she has to painstakingly submit an extensive request for funds.  These obstacles can significantly slow down the ease of working on contracts.  This is because a contractor is having to adhere to every minute policy and procedure of the government. Many times, the government’s requirements for contractors is longer than if a contractor was working for a private party.

The Viability of Federal Work

Despite all of the setbacks, the proposition of federal work can be incredibly profitable. Dave Butler continued his interview by saying “They [private sector contractors] know the regulations inside and out, and they excel because they know how to provide exactly what the federal government is asking them for.” Once a contractor has acclaimed themselves to the demanding regulations required by the government, a fortune is there to be made. With the potential guarantee of federal work, contractors would be wise to enter the field and reap the benefits.

Original source: ConstructionDive