How Do You Win a Local Government Contract?
The government contracting industry is one of the most lucrative options for small businesses. Winning a local government contract could help you supercharge your firm’s income and secure its long-term survival. What’s more, you’re likely to attract more private customers when you can say that the government trusted you with one of their projects.
But the competition for such government contracts is fierce, and procurement officers usually receive many proposals for each project. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and land your first government contract? Today, we’ll explore some of the best tactics you can implement before, during, and after you submit your proposal.
How Can You Get a Local Government Contract?
Getting a government contract is one of the best ways of securing income for your business. But, just like anything else worth having, government contracts aren’t easy to get, and there is stiff competition. Fortunately, there are various ways small businesses can increase their chances of standing out and being selected. Before you even apply, you should position yourself as an expert in your field and get involved in your community.
That way, you will have an edge once the time comes to write your proposal. You should check the relevant websites regularly to find new opportunities, but only apply when you know you can deliver. Create a clear and concise proposal that is realistic, and research the price of past projects to make sure you’re not charging too little or too much.
Prove that You’re an Expert
Before you can get a government contract, you must be able to demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. It’s always advisable to specialize in a narrower area because this positions you as an authority. In contrast, those professionals who try to do everything at once are less likely to get a lucrative contract because they are considered generalists, not specialists.
Let’s consider an example in the legal field. If a procurement officer is looking for a construction litigation specialist, they won’t want to hire a general lawyer who accepts cases from several different areas of the law. You have the best chances of getting the contract if your website and marketing materials clearly reflect that you have gained significant experience in construction litigation and that you spend all day working on these kinds of cases.
Get Involved in Your Community
The more of a reputation you can build up, the more likely the government will take notice and choose to hire you. To get started, become active in your community. Participate in or organize local events, get involved with charitable organizations that benefit the disadvantaged members of the community, and build up an active social media profile that provides locals with important information.
When the time comes for the government to hire a small business, you will have an advantage over your competition. If the quality and price of your product or service is on par with the other options, your good reputation will help you win the contract. And even if it takes some time for you to get this desirable outcome, your local community will provide you with more business in the meantime.
Team Up with Other Businesses
Before hiring you, procurement officers must make sure that you will be able to deliver on your promises. If you’re only just starting out and you’re still very small, you might not be able to provide the large-scale service the government needs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin to work with them as you build your business. To get started, why not team up with a larger and more established business?
Many areas require a certain amount of the work to be completed by local subcontractors, so this could be a great solution for both you and the government. Even if you’re relatively unknown, don’t hesitate to approach bigger firms and ask about joint ventures. The worst they can say is no, and in the best-case scenario, you can land a government contract that helps you expand your business exponentially.
Don’t Miss Out on Any Bidding Opportunities
Most small businesses don’t get the first government contract they bid for. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Instead, you should check the websites of government-owned corporations and the contracting and procurement office on a regular basis to find out about new opportunities. Apply for everything you are eligible for, even if it’s slightly outside your comfort zone. You never know what the government is looking for.
However, you should never apply for a contract if you’re not confident that you can deliver. While it’s good to stretch yourself, you shouldn’t make false promises because they could ruin your business reputation and leave you worse off than before.
Read and Fulfil All the Requirements
Once you’ve found a project you believe you could work on, you must read the Request for Proposal very carefully. Double-check that your company has all the resources and expertise necessary to deliver the required service. If you’re still happy to go ahead with your proposal, make a note of everything you need to submit and compile the documents.
Remember, competition for local government contracts is usually fierce, so a missing document could get your proposal thrown out. To further increase your chances, you should also make sure that all your materials are formatted properly. Inconsistent formatting shows a lack of care, and it demonstrates to the procurement officer that you have trouble following directions. This can get you rejected instantly.
Specifically Address the Agency’s Needs
By the time you submit a proposal, you should have a plan and a clear strategy in place. Make your proposal as specific as possible, demonstrating exactly how you will address the needs or problems mentioned. While this takes a lot of work, it increases your chances of impressing the procurement officer and standing out from the crowd.
The keywords here are concise, clear, and actionable. From your documents, the officer should see how your plan can be implemented. The clearer the picture you paint, the more likely you will be selected.
Don’t Bid Too High or Too Low
The government’s resources are limited, so you shouldn’t make your bid too high. Usually, a project comes with a budget, and if your bid exceeds this, you won’t be considered.
However, going too low is also a problem because it shows that you don’t value your time. The officer might worry that your quality is inferior if you sell your services below the market rate. To find out what you should charge, look at similar contracts from the past and set your rate accordingly.
If you have any questions about the project, don’t hesitate to ask. Well-thought-out questions demonstrate that you aren’t just a casual applicant, and you have given your proposal a lot of thought. Questions also demonstrate that you are interested in aligning your interests with those of the local government and that you are open to input.
Remain Open and Friendly
As mentioned, most businesses don’t get the first local government contract they apply for. But that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged or even angry. It goes without saying that you must remain friendly at all times when communicating with government agents. Now that you’ve sent them your materials, you are on their radar, and you could be considered for future opportunities, but only if you demonstrate a high level of professionality.
Where Can I Get Help with My Proposal?
Because a government contract is such a good way of securing an income for your company, you shouldn’t hesitate to apply for one. But if you’ve never put together a proposal for the local government before, the prospect can be daunting. Luckily, there are organizations that can help you get started. Here at GovCon Giants, we offer various programs that can take you through the process one step at a time.
If you don’t have a massive budget, you could opt for our pre-made courses, which teach you everything you need to know about landing a contract. For example, you can access all our courses for a one-off fee of $1,500, or you can choose one that is most relevant. An even more comprehensive option is one-to-one coaching. Our experts have helped businesses get $30 million in government work, and we can help you sell your services to this market, too.
Get Security for Your Business
Winning a local government contract is a great milestone for any small business. To achieve it, you and your entire team will have to work hard to establish yourselves as leaders in your field, get involved in the community, and produce a high-quality proposal. Research other government contracts to make sure your bid is reasonable, tailor your approach to the project, and demonstrate that you have put a lot of thought into your proposal.
Because finding opportunities and writing a proposal can be extremely challenging for new or small businesses, it’s often best to work with experts. Get in touch with us at GovCon Giants to find out more about the courses, coaching, and certifications we offer. No matter your budget, there is an option for you to learn from our expertise and finally land that sought-after contract.