Expert Advice

Use it or Lose it – Federal End of Fiscal Year

If you are new to federal government contracting, you may not know that the highest percentage of awards occur in the last quarter of the fiscal year, which runs from October 1st – September 30th. In 2023, the three-month period of July – September totaled 33% of the annual spending.  September alone accounts for 16% of the yearly expenditures for 2023. These spikes occur because agencies have remaining funds they must spend, leading to a massive spending spree. They do not want to return unused funds to the treasury as their budget may be reduced in the next budgetary year, hence the term—use it or lose it!

Source: USASpending

While the fiscal year is different for state agencies and local governments, the results are the same: they also wait until the last months of the budget cycle to spend whatever is left in their budget.  For example, California’s fiscal year is July 1st – June 30th. If your company already has a relationship with state agencies and local governments, reach out to learn when their fiscal year ends so you can prepare accordingly. California F$SCAL System contains the state’s spending data.

A majority of EOY spending goes to already established contracts such as Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA), or the General Services Administration (GSA) contract vehicles. Awarding to the above contract vehicles saves time in the acquisition process and allows expedited spending of the EOY funds. However, there will still be opportunities available for you to quote. Below are some tips to finish out this FY and continue using in the following FY.

Capture EOY Spending in 2024

Opportunities will be posted on SAM or FedConnect for FY24 that you can quote on. To ensure you receive opportunities, set up a saved search on SAM and check your keywords on Bid Match. Work with your APEX counselor to take care of these actions. Below are some other actions to do now for EOY FY24.

Data Mining for Agencies

Target agencies that acquire your goods and services in significant amounts, and you can concentrate your efforts instead of trying to contact every agency in the federal government. One of the best free sites for data mining is USASpending. Multiple search criteria on USASpending will help you narrow down the agencies to target. The best way to search is to select the last few fiscal years, add your NAICS, and a keyword that will narrow the search to your area within the NAICS. You’ll want to download the search results to Excel to perform additional data mining to get your list of preferred agencies. Make data mining a recurring process. This will keep you on top of the spending data and direct your future strategies.

Tailored Capabilities Statement and Contacting the Agencies Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and Prime Contractor Small Business Liaison Officers (SBLO)

Once you have your preferred agencies, you’ll want to prepare a tailored capability statement for each one. Review the agency’s website to understand its mission. Then, craft a narrative in your capability statement on how your product or services can enhance its mission or solve a problem they have. Check the Norcal APEX webinar and template if you need help building a capability statement.

The next step is to email your capability statement to the OSDBU of each agency and request an appointment to discuss the merits of your product or service with them. At the end of the conversation, ask them if they can refer you to other points of contact within the agency that would benefit from your product or service.  A list of OSDBU websites is located at

Another option is to contact a prime contractor’s SBLO to be considered for a subcontract if it is standard procedure in your industry to work as a sub or if you want to be a sub to build your business to be a prime. The GovCon Chamber of Commerce offers a free directory of SBLOs.

Update Sam.Gov Registration and Dynamic Small Business Search (DSBS)

Review your SAM registration and make sure it is in Active status and your renewal isn’t coming due within the next three months. Contracting Officers search the DSBS to conduct market research. This is especially true at the EOY. If they happen to have a requirement between $10K and $25K, they look for small businesses that can quote because these requirements are not required to be posted to SAM. Most of the data in DSBS comes from SAM, but you can add keywords, a short capability narrative, a link to your capability statement, and references. You can update your DSBS by requesting access in SBA Connect.

Prepare for 2025 and Beyond


Another way to build relationships with your preferred agencies is by networking. Some networking opportunities include attending Industry Days, Small Business Expos, or Conferences. Sign up for any chance to meet with the government and promote yourself. If they have one-on-one or match-making sessions, sign up for those too. You’ll want to tailor your capability statement for these events, too. Remember to tell the agency how your product or service can help them succeed with their mission. This is a prime opportunity to market yourself and build a network within the government. These meetings may be posted on or the agency website. Networking with prime contractors can also give you entrée to the government. Find out who the large primes are in your industry and look for subcontracting, mentor-protégée, or joint venture opportunities.

Find Expiring Contracts

Most recurring product or service contracts are awarded as multi-year contracts, which consist of a base year + four option years or a five-year contract. This eliminates having to solicit annually for the same supply or service that is continually needed. Based on federal acquisition regulations, the limit on these contracts is five years.

When considering your strategy for the fiscal year, you will want to find contracts expiring that year and even the next fiscal year. Once you find a contract expiring, you can contact that agency to determine if they plan to solicit and what quarter they plan to post the solicitation. To see the expiring contracts, you’ll want to run a report like the report you pulled from during data mining. Here is an example of a search on NAICS code 541620 – Environmental Consulting Services. Select FY2020, Contracts & IDVs, and NAICS code. You can also include a keyword for your business, as you did in the data mining search. The year 2020 should yield results for contracts that will expire in 2025.

Indefinite Delivery Vehicles (IDVs) are contracts for supplies or services when the delivery or quantity is unknown, also known as IDIQs. Once you have an IDIQ, the government can issue a delivery order directly to you for the known delivery date and the quantity without going through the solicitation process.

Search for IDIQ Solicitations

Speaking of IDIQs, you can also look for new IDIQ solicitations. Make sure you include an IDIQ search in your SAM saved search profile. Once you have your saved search set up, you’ll want to click on the “Notify” option in SAM. SAM will email you a notification if an opportunity matches your search criteria. If you’d like more information on IDIQs or need help setting up saved searches in SAM, contact your APEX counselor.

Determine if a GSA Schedule Contract is Right for You

As mentioned, GSA schedule contracts are established to streamline ordering without going through the solicitation process on SAM. GSA contracts are not for everyone, and obtaining one is a long process. You can review the process on GSA using their Roadmap to Get a MAS Contract. Your APEX counselor can also help you decide if a GSA contract is suitable for you.

Forecast of Opportunities

By October 1 of each fiscal year, federal agencies must post contract opportunities exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold, currently $250,000, which can or will be set aside for small businesses and socio-economic programs.  This allows small businesses to plan and prepare for upcoming solicitations. The posted opportunities are what an agency intends to acquire over that fiscal year. However, priorities and funding may change, which could cause the requirement to be canceled for that fiscal year.

Posted opportunities describe the requirement, the magnitude of the effort, the FY Quarter for solicitation release, the proposed set-aside, and points of contact. The posted opportunity should have enough detail to determine if it is a requirement a contractor should pursue. This is the time to reach out to the point of contact to learn more about the requirement and conduct market research to review the requirement history, incumbent contractor, and other details needed to prepare a winning proposal.  The forecast of contracting opportunities by the federal agency is available on

July is the start of the last quarter of the federal fiscal year and the perfect time to double your efforts in finding the agencies that buy what you sell and to start establishing a network of federal connections. Make sure you dust off your capability statement and ensure you have current information to send to your new contacts. It is also the perfect time to update SAM, Bid Match, and establish a SAM saved search with notifications. Moving into FY25 and beyond, continue to build your network and find those long-term contracts, IDIQs or GSA contracts to position yourself for a successful in future EOFY use it or lose it spending sprees.

If you are looking for help with government contracting or want no-cost help to find contracting opportunities, please contact your Norcal APEX Accelerator counselor for assistance or apply for services today!

If you have more questions, please contact us at or 707.267.7561

Authored by: Thomas Burns, Norcal APEX Accelerator Procurement Specialist