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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Making money selling to the government

Just read an AP article about the state of Illinois planning to leave behind a lot of roadkill this year because they spent more than double their $40 million budget clearing ice and snow from the streets due to the harsh weather and rising fuel costs. This leads me to the quote of the day:

“Dead animals in driving lanes and any deemed hazardous to motorists will be removed. But much of the rest will be left for scavengers. Kevin Gillespie of the Jackson County Health Department says the roadkill might be smelly and gruesome, but it shouldn't lead to any health risks.”

At the end of the article, there are of course a billion or so comments, my favorite, "looks like IDOT is missing an I. "

Not sure who the State of Illinois uses to clear roadkill, but this leads me to hit on an excellent business opportunity – selling goods to the government. Every state in the union and many city and county localities, as well as the Federal Government, offer tons of business opportunities your company can bid on. Often, the winning bid goes to the lowest bidder for any given commodity or service. Additionally, many locales offer preferential treatment to Women or Minority owned businesses. In overview, the process goes like this:

  1. You can register your business online via state purchasing websites to be eligible to bid.
  2. You submit what commodities you want to receive bid information for.
  3. States send you requests for quotations and bid opportunities via snail mail or email, those bids you have registered to receive.
  4. You submit your bids within the time frame they give you
  5. Within hours of the bid opening, you find out whether you won the business or they have selected another company. Often you also find out at what price the purchaser bought the products.

There’s an excellent book called "Win Government Contracts for Your Small Business (Business Owner's Toolkit series)" that gives further details on government opportunities.