New Targeted Small Business Wins First Contract

A Cedar Rapids-based lawn care company was awarded a small initial contract that has since led to more than $100,000 in work after CIRAS helped prepare the business owner for the government contracting process.

Rupert Ellis, owner of Crew Cut Lawn Care, contacted Julie Fagle, a government contracting specialist with the CIRAS Procurement Technical Assistance Center, to learn how to leverage his recently earned Iowa Targeted Small Business (TSB) certification. As part of their work together, they reviewed past government procurements to help Ellis see which agencies have a need for the services he provides. Fagle also showed Ellis how to search for current work using the Bid Match program, a system that aggregates bid opportunities for city, county, state, and federal work. A subscription to the service, which updates daily, is available to all CIRAS clients.

“Through our Bid Match program, he found an opportunity with the National Guard,” Fagle said. “We worked with him on that proposal as well as his capability statement, which he can use to market his business to other government customers.”

Ellis was awarded the National Guard contract to do mowing at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Davenport. It was his first government contract.

The paperwork involved in a government bid is extensive, and Ellis admits he would have been lost in the shuffle without the help of CIRAS.

“You really need someone who knows the ropes to get you through the process,” he said. “Julie didn’t just show me what to do, she educated me on how to complete the paperwork, who to contact, and which websites contain useful information.”

Ellis also attended TSB events and a Meet the Buyers gathering, which he called “valuable networking opportunities.”

The assistance Ellis received has given him confidence to compete for larger projects.

“If I decide to move forward and go after larger projects, Julie will be my first call because working with CIRAS really makes a difference.”

For more information, contact Julie Fagle at or 319-310-8612.