The US government offers small businesses the opportunity to bid on billions of dollars worth of state and federal jobs. The General Services Administration, or GSA, is the department of the US government that connects businesses with federal agencies to fulfill government contracts. You can find the official list of government contract opportunities at FedBizOpps.gov. This list is up-to-date and offers thousands of jobs to bid.
Sign up for the Central Contractor Registration at bpn.gov/ccr. The CCR keeps track of all bidding information for the US government. Registration will take three to five business days if you already have an employer identification number (EIN), but may take up to two weeks without one.
Market your business to the appropriate agencies. Similar to other customers, state and federal agencies need to be sold on the value of your good or service. Marketing your business is part of the process before you make your bid. Imagine how the product or service will be used by the government. Give the appropriate agency a demo or trial of your product to show them how you can help. Make a case for the uniqueness of your business in fulfilling the government's needs.
Determine any special attributes of your business that might receive favorable treatment in the bidding process. For instance, the SBA states that 5 percent of prime and subcontracts have been specifically designated for woman-owned businesses.
Consider the scale of the project. Many government jobs are large and cannot be fulfilled by small businesses because of high start-up costs and time constraints. Before bidding on any jobs, make sure your business is able to handle the workload and get the job done in time.
Schedule a face-to-face interview with somebody from the agency for which you are bidding. Just call the agency to set up an appointment to discuss your ability to complete one of their projects. Sell them on the merits of your business offering and not on the political needs of the agency. Also you must find out the necessary paperwork and the application process for placing your bid.
Submit a bid. Be competitive as there are many other businesses bidding for these contracts. The best policy is to bid for lower profit margins so you can get the job. After you have done some work for the government and developed your reputation for quality and timeliness, you can get a stream of steady work from the government that will more than make up for your lower profit margins in the beginning.