Here is an introduction to doing business with the 50 state governments and hundreds of local governments.
Put together, the 50 state governments and hundreds of local governments spend over US$400 billion in goods and services each year. Despite some state procurement preferences, many contracts offer significant opportunities, a shorter buying cycle, and lower costs to win contracts.
U.S. federal experience can be an advantage at the state level:
- Large prime contractors often invite their federal bid partners to join them on state bids.
- Some states use the same terms and conditions as the federal General Services Administration schedules; others have set up similar systems of their own.
State and many local governments post contracting opportunities online. All states participate at USA.gov where you will find links to the home page of every state. Each website has specific information and/or contacts for contractors, as well as links to city and county government web sites.
Many states have joined purchasing alliances wherein one state negotiates a master agreement with one or more contractors for specific products or services (e.g. office furniture) and all states may order from the agreements. For more information go to the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance website.
Some of the keys to sucess are:
- Identify the state’s central procurement office.
- Obtain a copy of the state’s vendor guide, if available.
- Get on the bidders’ mailing list.
- Market – call, e-mail and visit your prospects to introduce your product or service and get to know the buyers.
- Find out and follow the rules for competition procedures and local preferences, laws or regulations.
Note: Some of the information in this section derived from a Canada International web site.