Should Distributors Apply for Government Aid?
Nominations are open for big rewards in government printing.
If there's a distributor out there who hasn't been negatively impacted by the recent downturn in the economy, raise your hand.
The fact is, there aren't too many of you. Perhaps, then, it's time to give that much-maligned market—the government printing market—a second look.
Though many distributors will disregard the government market when they're living high on the hog, those same distributors often run back to Uncle Sam to look for extra work when times get tough.
Why? Because government printing purchasers buy everything under the sun in large quantities, and they pay well and on time.
"With government agencies there's so much work available," said Stanley Newman, CEO, BidNet, Albany, N.Y. "They use so many different products; it's just gravy added on to whatever you were doing before."
The first thing to know about government agencies, he noted, is that they bid out all of their work. Whether it's printing work or scientific equipment, the bid system is how local, state and federal entities procure their goods and services.
In some states, in order to bid on jobs, prequalification is required. Fortunately, many states will accept certification granted by another state as an adequate credential. After a distributor has been certified, the state will include them on its bid list and notify the distributor of any upcoming jobs.
"Once you're certified you can work for any level of government within that state," said Sharon Beseke, president of American Minority Business Forms, Glenwood, Minn.
States that don't require prequalification usually publish their bid lists in a local public register.
After a distributorship determines the geographic area it can handle and locates all the agencies in that area, the next step is to acquire the bid specifications, or spec sheets, of recent jobs from those agencies. By reading over old spec sheets, distributors can familiarize themselves with the products and bid prices of the local market.