19 Jun Selling to the federal government
The United States Federal Government is the largest buyer of goods and services in the world. Last year, the federal government spent at a rate of $16,422 per second for the entire year. How well did Wisconsin businesses compete for those federal procurement dollars? Over $4 billion dollars were spent with Wisconsin firms out of over $517 billion in total, which is about 0.8% of the total. Wisconsin ranks 29 among the states for winning government work.
Many often think of military tanks and equipment when they think of federal contracting. Wisconsin products and services sold to the federal government range from medical transcription services to catering services; from construction to research; from aircraft components to office supplies. However, the top products sold to the federal government were trucks, vehicles, tractors, X-ray equipment and supplies, ammunition and health care services.
In Wisconsin the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest purchaser of goods and services. However, we see the impact of federal spending every day, whether we are driving on a federal highway, visiting a national park or traveling in an airport.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed into law by President Obama in February of 2009 may mean additional opportunities for businesses interested in providing goods and services to the federal government. With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Wisconsin will gain some of those federally funded projects, mainly in the areas of public building construction plus the building and repairing of roads and bridges. Other opportunities exist for environmental resource protection, water infrastructure projects and Green Energy projects.
How can a Wisconsin business tap into the federal market? The first step is to identify the market. To do this you must address some questions; for example is the business constrained to a particular geographical location or does it have a unique niche market? To determine the market potential, there is a mandatory posting site, “Federal Business Opportunities” at www.fbo.gov, which posts all federal solicitations valued over $25,000 which are purchased with appropriated funds. Search this site to gather the specific agency and contact information.
The second step after determining the potential market is to decide whether pursuing federal contracts is a good business decision. Some questions to ask are: will this impact my other sales; do I have the necessary resources; and is pursuing a government contract part of my overall strategic plan?
Once the market is identified and you decide that a government contract is a good businesses decision, the next step is to register your firm in the mandatory vendor database. The “Central Contractor Registration” (CCR) is required before your business can receive a federal government contract. Visit http://www.ccr.gov/ for more information.
Pursuing a federal contract is often challenging, especially understanding the contract compliance and requirements. However, given our current economic conditions and the Economic Stimulus opportunities, knowing how to compete for federal contracts can add to your firm’s bottom-line.
Businesses interested in finding out more on the opportunities available as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act should visit the Recovery Web site at http://www.recovery.gov . Specific information about Wisconsin is located at http://www.recovery.wisconsin.gov/.
If your firm needs assistance with government contracting, there are two resources within the State that provide free technical and marketing assistance to Wisconsin firms. They offer one-on-one business assistance and a wide variety of training sessions throughout the State. Both organizations (listed below) are funded under a competitive grant with the Department of Defense.
Madison Area Technical College
Business Procurement Assistance Center
3513 Anderson Street, Suite 108
Madison, WI 53704-2607
Moraine Park Technical College
2151 North Main Street
West Bend, WI 53090
Point of Contact: Denise Reimer
Wisconsin Procurement Institute, Inc.
756 N. Milwaukee Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Point of Contact: Joseph Endres
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.