1. If you would like to provide a good or service to a certain government entity, register as a vendor with that entity. The process is usually pretty simple and can be done online. By registering as a vendor you will receive notification of solicitations that might interest you.
2. Get your firm certified. Your company doesn’t need to be certified as Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Disadvantage Business Enterprise (MBE), SBA 8a, Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), etc. to win a government contract. However, if you company qualifies for one of the many designations you have a distinct advantage over similarly-situated companies that aren’t certified.
3. Make a habit of regularly checking newspapers and trade publications for notifications. No newspaper will have every solicitation every time, but there is usually a local newspaper that government entities in your area will use to publish their notifications.
4. Sign up for an internet-based service that will notify you of solicitations in your area. These services do a pretty good job of locating solicitations of interest to you and providing them in one easily accessible place. The costs for these services can be as little as $20 a month.
5. Get to know your purchasing department. Many government entities host workshops for small businesses. These workshops are designed to inform businesses of contracting opportunities. You can gain valuable insight on upcoming solicitations and their requirements by attending these events.
6. When responding to a bid, read the document carefully. Don’t get tripped up by silly mistakes. Forgetting a simple document, like a resume, business tax receipt or other document can render your bid non-responsive. Failing to attend a mandatory pre-bid meeting will likewise make you ineligible to bid on the solicitation.
7. Review past solicitations and responses. Almost every document in the possession of a government entity is available to the public. That includes past solicitations and the responses to those solicitations. Make a public records request and review those documents. You will undoubtedly gain valuable insight on what the government entity considers a winning proposal.
8. Make sure you turn in your proposal on time. There is nothing worse than showing up a minute late and being told that the government entity cannot accept your proposal.
9. If you have a unique product, a way of saving a government entity money or a method for providing a service, go talk to a purchasing officer of that entity. If the service or product is unique enough you may be awarded a sole-source contract. At a minimum, you may be able to convince the government entity to go out to bid for the good or service you provide.
10. Attend public meetings of city and county governments. You can gain valuable insight on upcoming projects, which elected officials support those projects and the requirements. The information presented at meetings of city and county commission meetings often ends up as requirements in solicitation documents.
11. Identify potential partners early. As a small business you may not have the resources to perform every contract that becomes available. By teaming up with larger companies you may be able to win portions of larger contracts as a subcontractor. Oftentimes, government entities will set aside certain percentages of larger contracts for smaller businesses. In those cases, larger companies are forced to seek out smaller companies with which to contract. Develop those relationships early before the need arises.
12. If don’t have the time, inclination or experience to do any of the above, retain a knowledgeable professional who can help you. The cost of hiring a professional compared to the potential benefit of winning a government contract is often very reasonable.
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The Government Contract Attorneys at Kleiner & Cazeau are experienced and available to help you with your government contract issues.
Call us at (305)517-1392 Ext: 102