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How To Land A Government Contract

How To Build Business

 Contrary to what you might believe, it's possible for a small business to be awarded a government contract. In fact, the Canadian federal government makes an effort to reward a third of its contracts to small businesses.

Applying for a government contract is a whole different ballgame from regular contract applications, however. This guide will show you the right steps to take and regulations to follow. Make the right moves, and you'll be on your way to a government contract of your own.

Do your homework before you start. Anyone who wants to do business with the Government of Canada must first register in the Supplier Registration Information (SRI) service before they will be considered for a contract. Register at

In the U.S. , registration is required with the Federal Government as well before businesses can bid on contracts. Go to to register.

Proposal, quote or bid? Read carefully to find exactly what the government is asking for. A Request For Proposal (or RFP), it means they expect full details on how the project should be run, including a budget. A Request For Quotation (RFQ) is similar, but is a preliminary move instead of a final proposal. In the case of a bid, (an ITT, or Invitation To Tender), the government has already decided exactly what it needs and is asking contractors to bid based on price.

If you're bidding on a government contract, make sure your bid is competitive. The government is looking for the most cost-effective solution and will likely reward the contract to the lowest bidder.

For more information on the different types of contract bids, visit The Bidding Process on the Contracts Canada website.

Follow the rules. Complete the government's proposal application process exactly as requested. Government regulations are set in stone and any deviation from them will keep you from being considered.

Be patient. Due to government protocol, it usually takes much longer for contracts to be awarded than in the business world. Expect to wait before you hear anything.

Consider provincial and municipal government contracts as well. They're often more accessible for small businesses, especially when you're just starting out, and have shorter wait times as well.

Focus on stability, not size. Include in your proposal how long your company has been around, previous jobs you've done, and how long employees have been with the business. This shows the government that you're well established and can do the job.

Online Resources For Finding Government Contracts
The internet has made it easy to search for open government contracts. There are websites and applications small business owners can use to find government contracts.

Some search applications are designed to search only for government contracts, and can find every open government contract in your area. By using your keywords and location (see Lead Generation For Your Small Business for more information) these applications can find all the open government contracts in your area that match your criteria.

You're Ready To Apply
Becoming a government contractor is within every small business owner's reach. Now that you know more about the extra steps it takes to bid on a government contract, you're ready to search for the right contract and to make the right moves to start doing business with the government.

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