Selling to government: Procurement technical assistance centers are a useful resource (with related video)
Editor’s note: Here is another in GPN’s series of write-ups on the government market and selling to government. There are over 300 local procurement technical assistance centers in the U.S. The centers offer training, information and other tools to businesses and individuals that want to sell to all levels of government. The centers work to expand the number of businesses capable of participating in the government marketplace.
Chuck Schadl of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) outlines some of the ways that GTPAC helps businesses in the government market. Schadl is Group Manager, Government Contracting Services at GTPAC. Here are Chuck Schadl’s views.
Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTACs) help businesses identify, compete for, and win government contracts at the federal, state and local levels. In Georgia, for instance, our PTAC (the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center — GTPAC) we provide no-cost services to Georgia businesses in the following ways:
1. We provide an electronic bid match service that scans federal/state/and local government databases daily to identify contracting opportunities that are then matched to each of our clients, based on their interests.
Geographically, we search based on the desires of each client. In other words, if a client wants to look only for opportunities in the state of Georgia, we limit our search that way; if, on the other hand, a client says they want to look for bid opportunities spanning 5 states or all 50 states, we execute our search based on those parameters. Our database contains virtually all federal opportunities.
In Georgia, we are able to link to all of the cities, counties, state agencies, and public authorities that maintain electronic databases. This includes almost all of the 159 counties and at least a couple hundred cities in Georgia.
2. We provide regularly scheduled training classes to help businesses understand how to do business within the government sector. You can see our list of upcoming classes, statewide, at this site.
On the list of currently scheduled classes, you’ll see that we are presenting our online “Selling to State and Local Governments” class on Oct. 14. If you’ve ever wondered how State agencies, cities, counties, school boards, and authorities buy their goods and services, then this is the class for you. You will learn how to register as a vendor, who to contact, where to find opportunities, what the requirements are for bidding, and how to get paid. Specific attention will be given to doing business with the state of Georgia.
3. We have resources on our website that are specific to state and local government. Our newsfeed on that topic can be found at this link. We also have a section of our site devoted to links to state and local government contracting; see this site and then scroll down to Section 7 that is devoted exclusively to state and local government.
4. For the businesses that register with us, we also offer one-on-one counseling on how to navigate virtually any aspect of government contracting at the federal, state and local levels.
5. Here is some information on events or workshops to help businesses. Many local governments, as well as state government, hold annual briefings on upcoming contract work and provide an opportunity for vendors to meet buyers. We participate in many of these events through the year, at locations around the state; typically, we conduct training sessions at these events to help vendors understand procurement practices, register as a vendor, prepare a bid, etc.
Virtually all PTACs offer services similar to those listed above. Companies anywhere in the country, plus Guam and Puerto Rico, can find the PTAC nearest them by going to our APTAC association website and clicking on the map that appears there.
Editor’s note: One more information source in addition to those listed above: Govalytics is an information source that provides local government budget and capital planning intelligence that helps prospective contractors effectively engage with the governments that fit them best.
In this video, Iowa PTAC Program Manager Pam Russenberger tells what businesses need to do after they have won their first government contract. Russenberger offers several tips.