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Blog | 05.11.22

A Beginner’s Guide to Government Bidding

You might be thinking that doing business with the government is a very daunting task. But working in the public sector can be both attainable and simple to find business opportunities - plus, it is a great opportunity for your business to grow financially. One of the many advantages of working with the public sector is that governments everywhere need goods and services, as well as completing construction related projects. By becoming a supplier in the public sector, you can potentially expand your business to other territories and make stronger connections with procurement professionals. 

In this guide, you will find 5 helpful steps to help you with the necessary documentation and tools to begin bidding on government contracts.

#1: Register and Get Your D-U-N-S Number for Your Business

Part of the basic requirements to start bidding on government contracts is to get proper documentations and ID numbers. If you have not done this yet, the first requirement is to register your business name with the state your business is primarily located in, and also with the IRS to receive your Employer Identification Number or Tax Identification Number. These steps would help government buyers identify the legitimacy of your business.

The second requirement you will want to do is to register for a D-U-N-S number. The D-U-N-S number is a nine-digit unique identifier for your business, it stands for Data Universal Numbering System. It allows both the government and other businesses to easily identify your business across the globe and provide access to pertinent information about your company. Many local governments will require you to have a D-U-N-S number in addition to your tax ID/EIN.

#2: When Applicable, Get Your Business Certified 

If you happen to be a small business, MWBE or disadvantaged business, you will want to get your business certified as such within your state or any state that you are looking to do business. There are certain requirements needed to get certified. The best resources to help you get certified can be found on the Small Business Administration (SBA) website. Eligibility requirements are listed, and they can help assist you in getting your business certified.

You can also check out your state’s procurement website to see if they have certain programs for certified businesses. Many state agencies also have programs for small businesses and MWBEs that can provide your business with assistance.  

The importance of being certified if you are eligible, is that you can have an advantage to specific contracts government agencies are looking to award. There is a certain threshold for awarding small businesses contracts that federal agencies and some other local governments have to meet each year, so they have what is known as set-aside contracts exclusively for certified small businesses. 

#3: Determine Your Category Codes

The government uses product and service category codes to help businesses determine which opportunities are suitable to bid on. The NIGP Code catalog is the most commonly used coding system local governments use for commodities and services. It is helpful to know which codes relate to your line of business, one because it’s a requirement to register your business, but two because it can help you when searching for and determining which bid opportunities to go after. 

#4: Explore the Different Levels of Government Agencies You Want to Do Business with

The government issues bids at the local, state and federal level, across the entire nation. Before you begin bidding, you will want to determine at which level you want to find bids for. We encourage you to explore all the levels of government to see which would be more appropriate for your business. However, if you want to start out small and get your feet wet, then finding bids at the local level might be the best start, especially if you are a new small business and do not have a lot of resources to give to this endeavor.

Don’t be afraid though, to go to the state level as the government issues all sort of bids for various products and services. They can range from smaller contracts such as providing a one-time purchase of pencils to more lucrative contracts asking for services such as on-call electrical work that can last for a term of 5 years, with an option to extend. If you are confident in your company’s ability to fulfill the terms of any contract and can complete a larger project, then take a chance at bidding on opportunities at all levels of government.

You can also decide to bid on federal contracts; these contracts tend to be more lucrative and therefore, may require different rules and regulations than your state and local contracts.

Whether you decide to do business with the federal, state or local levels, it is important to check every agency’s procurement website to determine if there are additional actions required to start bidding. Some state and local agencies require vendors to apply for their official bidder’s list in order to do business with them. 

#5: Start Finding Opportunities on Bidding Platforms

One of the most efficient ways to help you find targeted bid opportunities that are perfect for your business is to subscribe to a bidding platform, like Periscope S2G. Periscope S2G provides you with the tools you need to receive maximum bid opportunities. Subscribers will receive automatic bid matching notifications from thousands of government agencies, at the local, state, and federal level. Our saved searches and AI tools make it easier and quicker for your business to find and bid on opportunities within the public sector. Periscope S2G also provides bid opportunities from our exclusive agency network of buyers who post bids straight to our platform, giving you an advantage over your competitors to learn about certain opportunities first.

Doing business with the government doesn’t need to be overwhelming or consume a substantial portion of your business’s resources if you have the right partners in place to help you along the way. Following these steps can help your business begin your journey into the public sector sphere and allow you to be successful at winning as many government contracts as your business can handle! 

Also, you can read our important tips on your first journey to government bidding!