Most small businesses that take advantage of contracting do so in the private sector. There are too few that take advantage of the revenue opportunities within their local and state government through federal contracts. The government posts contracts which are bid on by businesses, much like the private sector. There are billions of dollars that go into government contracting each year. The U.S. Government is determined to ensure that small businesses get some of those contracts in order to keep the market competitive.

However determined they are, the federal government’s contracts often run into the billions, making it hard for small business to compete with big corporations. But, going for local and state government contracts is a great way to earn revenue through the government and give back to the community. For example, if you’re a construction company, you can bid on a construction contract with the government to help erect new buildings in your town, pave new roads, etc., etc.

To get started, you’ll need to register your business with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the state procurement office. This office will ensure that you have the proper instructions and guidelines for the future business relationship with the state, along with a list of current contracts. You’ll also need to register for a D-U-N-S Number, and observe SBA size standards.

Once all of those steps are taken, local government agencies will be able to search the Systems for Award Management (SAM) that is run by the SBA to find business that can fulfill their contracting needs. There’s nothing better than being contacted for your services rather than having to offer them. But, you’ll still need to bid on plenty of contracts in order to stay ahead of the game.

To win a contract, you must bid the lowest amount of money while maintaining the proper standards and qualifications to complete the contract. So, if you’re a bus service, wanting to provide buses to the school district, you will need to offer to do the job for less money, but for the same services. Often, though, contracts can pass you by if you’re not paying attention, so it’s important to get some sort of bid notification service. It’s important to not get in over your head. Do not bid so low on a contract that you will end up losing money by doing the contract for so cheap. Winning contracts through outrageously low bidding has gotten some companies in a lot of trouble because the work conditions and standards they provided were sub-par and harmful.

Once you’ve won the contract, you’ve got to navigate through government policy. The contracts done through the government are often cumbersome because it’s the government. There are a ton of policies, procedures, and stipulations that wouldn’t normally be in a private sector contract. At the state and local level, though, the contractors that you’ll be working with are typically a lot more pleasant. And plus, you’ll be able to visit the government agency in person if you have any issues.Like the federal government, the state and local government has contracts that are set-aside for small businesses to take advantage of. They almost always don’t enough of their contracts away, so go and get them! They are there for the taking.

You’ll need to demonstrate your business’s value to the agency in which you are attempting to gain a contract. So, go in and talk to the people at the government agency, make sure they know your name and business’s name. That’s right, good old fashioned networking: attend events, pre-bid conferences, support community events, etc.As always, you’ll want to distinguish yourself from the competition. Show that your business not only offers services that rivals the competition, but your business’s services offer unique services that the other guys do not. Don’t be discouraged, though, if you’re competitor wins a bid over you. Don’t give up; that contract will expire and you’ll get another chance at it.

So, what are you waiting for? This is a great opportunity for your business! Not only will you make a profit, but you’ll be helping your local community become a better place through your services on a larger scale that encompasses both the private sector and the government.