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I have some limited experience (with training programs). Yes, the profit margin is lower, but it's offset by the fact that government entities generally pay very fast and the check is always good -- plus (because it can be a hassle for them to rebid) extensions are not uncommon -- so any resulting "additional" work doesn't involve the advertising or marketing costs it would take to win an equivalent amount of new work in the open market.
Yes, competition can be fierce, and I've only made a "short list" in instances where I could meet a mandatory that most competitors couldn't -- for example, having a security clearance and being up-to-date on government mandated safety and awareness programs is sometimes specified and helps me. Likewise, we once lost a bid that was perfect for my firm -- solely because I didn't specify a capability to conduct the course in (of all things) Creole, as well as in English.
Of course, that brings up another issue altogether -- that contract specs are sometimes "tailored" to fit one vendor that the agency really wants (it's not legal, but people are human and it happens). On major contracts, there's always a protest when something like that occurs, but on the small projects I deal with, submitting a protest would eat up all the potential profit -- plus I don't want a customer that was "forced" to hire me over whomever they really preferred. There's other work out there, after all.
Is that the kind of info/feedback you were looking for?
Yes, that is exactly the kind of response that I was looking for. I recently bid a a couple of jobs to provide some products to the government. I was told by my supplier that I have to be "very" competitive to even have a chance. We will see what happens.
The profit margin doesn't have to be low. It depends upon how many/what type of contracts your bid on. I know ours wasn't unsatisfactory.
There is very high amount of competition, though. One of the ways a contractor wins a bid is through presenting the proposal as clean as possible. You have to do a significant amount of research within your field and present that in the proposal so your bid looks the most appealing to the government. You don't have to have the lowest price, it really depends on how you present your company. Also, I've found that having certain certifications helps. We're a Small, Woman-Owned Business which increases the amount of contracts sectioned off for small businesses from 20% to 39%.
The City of Boston will be joining the SBOC at 2PM EST today. Perhaps you could ask your question there on how to bid on city projects? Give it a shot!
Event: Local resources to build your business
I was wondering the same thing...I was interested in getting started.
Also has anyone used the Set-A-Side program?
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I was just wondering if anybody had any experience with bidding on state or goverment level contract? I have never won any thing that I have bid on and it appears to me that you have to settle for very little profit in order to win the bid. Plus competition is very fierce!! I would like to know what some of your thoughts are on this. If you have ever won a bid please tell me about your experience.