Sub Contractor of a Prime Contractor on a Federal Contract. My Sad Story.

Before I share my story, I will share my advice on being a Sub Contractor for a Prime Contractor on a Federal Contract.  Assume that you will not get paid without a FIGHT.  So make sure that you take steps to insure you get paid even if the Prime Contractor hops a plane to Cameroon with the money.  A payment bond or the government pays into an Escrow account that the payments are distribute from and that the Prime Can’t empty by himself. Bottom line, you can not rely on the Federal Government ensuring that you will get paid.

Toward the end of December 2012 we were approached by a Federal contract holder, 8a Certified,  needing help with a scanning project in Atlanta.  This was a ongoing project lasting several years.  We started in December, submitted an invoice at the end of month and at the end of January 2013 we got paid as stated in the contract.  This should have been a good sign that they where going to up hold their end of the contract.  We continued the work and the Prime brought in another scanning company to take over his employees and to work along side us.  After he did that we slowed down our plans to scale up production.  We billed him at the end of January as did the other scanning company.  We continued through February 2013 at the end of February we submitted our invoice and waited for payment for January, so that we could scale up production. Payment did not happen.  We attempted to contact the Prime contractor, no response.  We then inquired with the contracting officer for the Government and found out he got paid just after the 15th of February. At the beginning of the second week of March we sent an extremely aggressively worded email to the Prime which got a response that they would be sending payment Friday.  Needless to say that payment never arrived.  We filed a complaint with the government but it was too late to stop the payment directly to him for the February invoice.  We ceased operations on the project until our contact could be reached.  Two weeks went by with no response from him.  We got word that the other company can not reach him nor have they been paid for January or February.  So at the beginning of April we went to the site to remove our equipment and to turn in our security badges.  At that time we where informed that the Prime had not submitted an invoice for March and that they would be cancelling his contract. Unless the Prime submits an invoice we would not be getting paid for March since we don’t have a contract with the Government. 

In the Months since we still can not reach the Prime Contractor.  All letters have been sent back as “Moved no forwarding address”, phone numbers have been disconnected.  We went as far as sending a demand letter to the registered agent listed on their corporate filings for the state of Virginia.  

How it stands now, the contract has been canceled and the president of the company we where a subcontractor for is gone as well as his employees.  It goes without saying that I didn’t get paid. All it seems to remain of the Prime contractor and it’s owner is a web site and a trail of short sold residences of the owner. However, The contracting officer would like to give us a positive review but we where not the Prime contractor.  


About wmatl

I graduated from Southern Poly in Marietta in 1989 with a Bachelors in Electrical Engineering. I worked repairing industrial electronics and control systems for over 15 years. Started a document scanning company with a friend in 2006. With the continuing struggling economy my involvement ended with the closing of the Marietta location in 2013. Now I am back to repairing industrial drives.
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