By Steve Engelhardt, Certified SCORE Mentor
In our 1/15/2014, we published Part I of Competitive Bidding. We are adding some additional information in this article, and the series will end with Part III coming soon.
Getting on bidding lists and the important subject of getting paid.
Bids can come from the federal government, state, county and municipal governments, public utilities, and anywhere “public money” is being spent and possibly even private business. The question you may have is “how do I get on the bidders list?” That question is best answered this simple way, call the purchasing department, ask them two questions: 1. Do you maintain a bidders list and 2. What do I have to do to get on it? A mornings worth of calls may bring many dollars of potential business to your desk.
The bidding agency will usually send you a package that contains the registration materials. It is pretty basic, and all they care about is who you are, where to find you, and what you sell. Nearly every product you can imagine has an individual number known as SIC or NAICS codes. They are industry classification codes that identify specific products or classes of products. The purchaser may provide a listing of them, or you may get them in any library and online. If you sell office products, for example, you can check that general large category, or if you only sell copiers you can put in that specific subcategory number. It is important to list the correct specific numbers because you will save time looking at bids that don’t apply. Now for a big word of caution, if you don’t want to bid be sure to return the bid as a “no bid”. If you are sent bids and do not reply at all, they bidding agency will eventually drop you off of its bidders list.
Therefore, figure out who you want to sell to (based on requirements like service areas, etc) and get on the bidding lists.
Finally, consider carefully the payment and delivery requirements. Analyze the payment and delivery terms to make sure you calculate those issues into you pricing. In a bid where you only have to order from your supplier and drop ship straight to the buyer, without ever taking possession of the product, you to want to price that product differently than one you have to order and warehouse prior to delivery. Careful thinking is the key to good bidding.
Part III will address a huge issue, minority or woman-owned business or set-asides.
Steve Engelhardt has had an extensive career in high-tech sales of computers, software and related equipment and systems and very skilled at government and competitive bidding. His client list has included Boeing, Bank of America, Best Buy and other Fortune 500 and Fortune 50 companies. It has also included government, non-profit and mom and pop businesses.