Did You Know?… How PTAC Helps with Bidding

Written by Samantha Ferm, CIRAS PTAC government contracting specialist

Besides helping you with your government vendor registrations and figuring out tricky interpretations of contract clauses or requirements, PTAC counselors also can help small businesses during the bidding process! But how?

Of the many ways I love helping my clients with the bidding process, the first is the initial question of whether or not they should go forward with the quote or bid. Sometimes I’ll help a client review an RFQ/RFP and make sure some of the smaller details/requirements are made as clear as possible. This saves the business owner time by helping clarify for them if it’s indeed the right business move to say “Yes!” to moving forward on the bidding process, or if it’s not a good fit, and they should say “No!” as quickly as possible. In the world of small business, your time is money, so if PTAC counselors are happy if we can help you save some of that time.

The second way I love to help clients with the bidding process is doing research on past purchases and your competitors. Let’s say, for example, you are a lawn care service provider. You’ve identified an opportunity to start helping out at your local parks, but you’re not sure how much to bid for it or who your competition might be in the area. Your PTAC counselor can research past purchases on the local, state, or federal level for you. If that information has been published, we can provide many of those details to you. Oftentimes, that research can include the actual purchase order number so you can follow up with an open records request to that agency for as many details as you can find on a specific contract. It’s just a little bit of a leg-up for you to know your prior competition, if any, and walk into the bidding process as fully prepared as possible.

The third way I love to help clients is by being a “second set of eyes” on the proposal or quote review if a business has decided to bid on an opportunity with an agency. It’s always good to have a trusted outside observer look at something with a fresh perspective and catch any misspellings or major errors before submitting a response to an agency.

Our entire goal with the PTAC program is to help our small businesses in Iowa navigate the world of government contracting. From locating opportunities to navigating the solicitation process, we’re an excellent sounding board for you and look forward to helping you.

For more information, contact Samantha Ferm at siferm@iastate.edu or 319-333-9558.