Ask the Experts
Every level of government buys goods and services, and Florida currently ranks 7th among all U.S. states for procurement of government contracts. The market is there and the rewards can be substantial, but is government contracting the right choice for your business?
Selling to the U.S.
Landing a federal government contract takes time and effort. To have the best chance for success, pay attention to the following elements:
Evaluate Understand what, when and how much government agencies buy. Is your product/service in demand?
Plan Target government agencies and prime contractors that buy what you offer; develop a plan to reach them.
Register Complete the required/mandatory government database registrations including: System for Award Management and Dynamic Small Business Search.
Prepare Develop a corporate capability statement; create government-focused collateral and e-marketing resources; secure preferred small business certifications such as: 8(a), Woman-Owned Small Business, HUBZone, Veteran-Owned and applicable state and local certifications.
Pursue Be aggressive. Monitor computerized bid matching services (daily searches and email alerts). Identify opportunities through government bid boards, posting databases and networking. Obtain a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule contract, if applicable.
Achieve Develop a government-accepted accounting system and be ready to handle possible contract audits, reports and modifications.
Ask for help Procurement Specialists at the Florida PTAC can help small businesses pursue government contracting opportunities at all levels.
Selling to Florida
One avenue to expansion is as close as your computer. MyFloridaMarketPlace, a division of the Florida Department of Management Services, has nearly 15,000 registered buyers who issue, on average, 5,000 purchase orders each month at three levels:
1. Term Contracts
2. Informal Purchases Less than $35,000. No requirement for competitive bidding.
3. Formal Purchases Greater than $35,000; require competitive bidding.
Determine which level best matches your business abilities, then register online as a vendor.
For details, visit www.dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/state_purchasing/.
Kristy Casillas grows her business through government contacts. | Photo: Mark Wemple
I’ve heard that government contracting can be a lucrative way to grow a business, but I don’t know how to get started or where to find contracting opportunities. Can you help me?