Every year more than $6.6 billion are spent on government goods and services in BC – and in support of the BC Small Business Accord – the government is taking action to raise awareness of procurement opportunities and reduce barriers to doing business with the B.C. Government.
Think of any product or service and there is a good chance that the government has purchased it – from picnic tables to IT consulting services. Businesses and individuals of all types are eligible to do business with the government and are encouraged to explore the many opportunities that that are available to them.
This can be done through BC Bid, an easy-to-use online service where you can quickly browse government opportunities. Anyone can access BC Bid and there is no cost to search the site. In addition to the provincial ministries, more than 600 other public sector organizations use the site to source suppliers and gather information.
How to Use BC Bid
There are many different ways to browse through BC Bid. You can search all open opportunities, you can view them by product grouping; goods, services and construction or you can search by organization. Another great feature of BC Bid is the e-Notification subscription service, where for $100 per year, BC Bid will notify you whenever an opportunity is posted that matches the profile that you created. This service can save you a lot of time and helps to ensure you don’t miss out on a potential business opportunity.
Responding to Opportunities
Once you identify an opportunity that interests you, it’s important to read through all of the supplier attachments and check back regularly for any updates or amendments. Each opportunity will specify the closing date and time, the method for accepting submissions and official government contact person. Questions about the opportunity need to be submitted to the named government contact in writing before closing, and submissions must be sent according to the directions provided.
In order to make it easier for small businesses to sell to government, the BC Government introduced the new Short-form Request for Proposal (SRFP) in April 2014.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
It’s hard to say what the specific characteristics of a successful submission are because each opportunity is different, but there are some commonly made mistakes of unsuccessful submissions that you’ll want to avoid.
- Failure to fulfil a mandatory requirement. All submissions must meet a set of mandatory requirements and failure to do so means that the government won’t consider it. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Submissions that arrive late (even one minute late), no matter what happened, even if it wasn’t your fault
- Not signing your submission
- Forgetting to include the legal name of your company or the individual
- Numerical errors. A requirement of many proposals will be to include pricing, it’s very important to ensure that your quote is accurate. You won’t have the option to change the price after closing, even if you notice the error before results are announced.
- Lack of detail in your submission. The government can only consider what is included in your submission, and many very qualified vendors don’t address everything asked for in the opportunity because they assume that their past experience or reputation will be considered.
If you’re interested in learning more about provincial procurement and how to do business with the Government of BC you can register now for one of our free seminars How to do Business with the BC Government or you can access information and resources through the Procurement Services and Supply Service website.