Whether you love him or hate him, President Obama has helped create an opportunity for Americans that may not come again in our lifetime. As we well know, federal spending is up and continues to increase. In fact, InformationWeek reported that, in 2010, the 20 biggest government contracts awarded will exceed $180 billion—that's a 50 percent increase over 2009's $120 billion. And that's just the "biggest" contracts. There are plenty of "not-so-big" contracts out there. If you haven't already done so, now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity.
The economic stimulus package, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009. The ARRA provides for stimulus spending initiatives for federal fiscal years (Oct. 1 through Sept. 30) 2009 through 2019. As estimated by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the economic stimulus spending will occur in fiscal year 2010. According to The Federal Times, for 2009 alone, the ARRA has resulted in a 13 percent increase in federal contract spending. However, even without the ARRA, the federal government wants and needs printers.
The Government Printing Office (GPO) is the world's largest information processing, printing and distribution facility. However, what you may not know is approximately 70 percent of the GPO's work is procured from outside print-related commercial vendors. For fiscal year 2009, the GPO awarded $425 million in contracts to printers.
The GPO not only has needs for traditional print production methods (such as offset, screen printing, letterpress and digital), but it also seeks vendors to provide graphic design work (such as editorial design, brand design, book and information design, illustration and production layout). The GPO procures products, which include books, business stationery, pamphlets and brochures, forms, promotional merchandise, CDs and DVDs, direct mail, graphic design and order fulfillment. The GPO procures these products and services through a competitive bidding process.
While the process of obtaining a government contract can be daunting, given all the rules, regulations and red tape, these lucrative contracts are within your reach and can be yours. Here's how:
• Register your business. If you are interested in supplying products or services to the GPO, you must register your business online at GPO's "Contractor Connection" website at www.contractorconnect.gpo.gov. This site provides all the necessary forms for registration.
• Do your homework. It is imperative that you understand the bidding process. In a nutshell, the GPO solicits bids for procurements in three ways: first, by solicitations (or requests for bids) sent directly to qualified contractors; second, through websites, including www.fedbizopps.gov; and third, by posting solicitations at the GPO central and regional procurement offices.
Prospective bidders will receive a copy of the GPO contract terms, which should be read very carefully. The government is a stickler for contracts. Then, your bid can be submitted.
Be mindful that contracts are not always awarded to the lowest bidder. Rather, in addition to considering cost, the government considers other factors such as quality and on-time delivery. Don't be afraid that your bid may be too high. For example, some jobs command higher prices because of unique design or timing. Contractors must also conform to the terms and conditions of the contract. Thus, without a record of good quality, on-time delivery and compliance with the contract, your bid could be rejected even if it is the lowest bid.
Whether it is a multimillion dollar or a few thousand dollar deal, obtaining a contract from the GPO—if done the right way—can be profitable for your company. So, now is the time to take advantage of government spending and let Uncle Sam put some money in your company's pocket.