The outbreak of COVID-19 is a human tragedy of terrible magnitude, devastating the health and finances of millions upon millions in the U.S. and around the world.
Yet, despite the awful toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the economy here and abroad, the public sector in North America is still actively soliciting and purchasing goods, services, and solutions as before. The difference now is that a growing volume of those solicitations expressly pertain to slowing or stopping the spread of the contagion and/or providing care and relief to its victims.
We here at BidPrime will be staying in full operation throughout this time of massive disruption so that we can fulfill our mission of facilitating the communication of needs from the public sector to the private.
To help with the response, we have developed and released a new hub aimed at expedited mass-sharing of federal, state, and municipal solicitations related to COVID-19 response. For more information on the hub, PRNewswire published this press release.
In this post, we’ll share with you insights we believe necessary to help you nimbly respond to the public sector’s stepped-up and fast-shifting virus-related purchasing activity.
It is our hope that this report will illuminate your pathway to receiving, reviewing, and potentially acting upon requests, related to the coronavirus outbreak, from all levels of government.
Recognize first and foremost, regardless of whether you are currently doing business with governments, that there are suddenly now more opportunities in the public sector. Our analysts have studied the trends and strongly recommend you as a business leader gear up immediately to pursue these opportunities.
The reason we encourage you to right away make ready to respond to these solicitations is that the allotted time between publication and award for many of them has been quite short.
Also, the intelligence information we are reporting is based on our analysis of data obtained from the more than 110,000 federal, military, state, province, city, county, school, and special district sources we continuously monitor across the U.S. and Canada.
Lastly and as an important aside, please know that—as BidPrime’s COO Stephen Hetzel so eloquently conveyed in his March 16 message—our hearts go out to all who have in one way or another been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
Bid / RFP Activity Related to COVID-19 Response
How to Respond to COVID-19 Bids / RFPs
Time is of the essence here, so the sooner you begin the better. Start by visiting the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA can offer you guidance concerning how to pursue federal, state, and local opportunities. Your Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is another invaluable resource.
Next, you should consider registering as a federal contractor and certify your business. Follow these steps to register and become certified:
> Obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) identifier.
This is a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business.
> Register your business with the System of Award Management (SAM) program.
This is also known as “self-certifying” your small business. Once you register, your business will be assigned a Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code and become listed in the database of vendors doing business with the federal government. SAM allows agencies and contractors to search for your company.
> Find the NAICS Code(s) for Your Company.
The code (or codes) classifies your businesses by:
- Economic sector
> Receive the U.S. General Services Administration’s Contracts Schedule.
> Get Past Performance Evaluation from Open Ratings Inc.
You can submit an online request directly to Open Ratings. The evaluation they’ll conduct includes an audit of customer references. Ultimately, you’ll receive a rating based on statistical analysis of everything Open Ratings looks at.
So, to sum up, you’ll need to obtain:
- DUNS identifier
- CAGE code
- NAICS code or codes
- GSA schedule
- Open Ratings evaluation
You’ll also need (if you haven’t already procured them):
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN or EIN)
- Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes
- Product Service codes
- Federal Supply Classification codes
Be sure to note on the various forms you’ll be completing and submitting whether your business qualifies for a special designation. The bids you eventually submit will be entitled to special consideration if you can show that your business is majority owned by a woman, a military veteran, a member of a racial minority, or if your company is located within an SBA-designated “historically underutilized business zone”—HUBZone for short. The SBA or PTAC can tell you more, as can local-level small-business assistance agencies in your area.
Soliciting entities insist you complete all these steps because that affords a way to make sure you meet their standards and requirements for doing business. What’s more, your successful completion of those steps indicates to the soliciting entities that you’re at least minimally capable of fulfilling the needs spelled out in their bid requests.
Consequently, it’s imperative that the applications you submit to DUNS, SAM, etc., and to all the others be truthful, complete, and error-free. The same for your responses to the solicitations that interest you—not only must those be honest, accurate, and fully filled out, they also must be comprehensive in addressing the stated needs of the soliciting entities.
Of course, if you’re a regular follower of our blog, you’ve read that message many times over. Apologies if we seem excessively repetitive, but we just can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you get these matters exactly right in order to give yourself the best shot at earning government contracts—especially now in this time of national and global crisis caused by COVID-19, the coronavirus.
Our engineers, analysts, and client-support staff are here to help you succeed. If you have questions, please visit us at BidPrime or call 888.808.5356.