I recently was able to discuss the opportunity for janitorial and cleaning vendors to grow their business with the government on Mike Campion's 'Grow My Cleaning Company’ podcast. I was struck by the community of janitorial and cleaning company owners he has created. The ‘Cleaning Nation’, as Mike has dubbed listeners, is made up of some of the hardest working entrepreneurs in America, all striving to succeed in one of the most lucrative industries around - janitorial cleaning services.
I sat down with Mike and had a thorough discussion on government contracting in general, and how it specifically applies to cleaning. In our discussion we focused on the opportunity for these businesses to win business with the government. In fact, there were 4,150 contracts posted in the last year, with at least 83,000,000 dollars in revenue up for grabs.
In this blog we’ll discuss 4 main takeaways from our conversation. You can listen to the full podcast below:
Procurement Technical Assistance Center Services Available at No Cost to Small Businesses
There are a lot of free resources to help janitorial and cleaning vendors win their first contract, such as your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). In 1985, PTAC’s were mandated by the Defense Logistics Agency to expand the number of businesses trained to participate in the business-to-government (B2G) marketplace. There are over 300 PTAC offices across the country, helping thousands of local businesses each year win government contracts at no cost to the vendor. PTAC’s offer pro-bono consulting from the government to grow your business, and a return on your tax dollars. They are a great resource for companies who are just getting started.
In addition to PTAC’s, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has a plethora of resources for contractors. They offer procurement classes and webinars and the ‘Mentor-Protege’ program, which matches small businesses with large ones to guide them towards success. They also administer the 8(a) program, as well helping administer the HUBzone program.
To Win Government Contracts, Being a “Master Rule-Follower” is Key
In the discussion, Mike Campion reiterated several times is the importance of being a ‘master rule-follower’ to win government contracts. If your proposal does not address specific rules outlined in the contract, you will not win and the agency will simply move on to the next qualified bidder. Another misconception that many have about the government market is that all government buyers care about is the lowest bid. In fact, if a vendor proposal does not satisfy the basic requirements of the contract, it doesn’t matter if it’s the lowest, it will lose. Submitting a qualified bid is the first step to winning, even before price.
This ties into another point Mike made during the discussion - that uncovering and focusing on the need of the agency is the most essential part of winning a government contract. If you do not understand the government agency requesting the services your business provides, you may not win the contract. Successful janitorial and cleaning companies know that sometimes there may be requirements spelled out in a bid or RFP, such as asking the winning vendor to use a specific chemical or clean things in a specific order. It is important to understand that government purchasers have to abide by many specific rules and that you’ll increase your chances of winning if you provide exactly what they ask for. Mike advises janitorial and cleaning firms to focus on adding value first, and then to take advantage of any structural benefits your business may have under the law.
Janitorial and Cleaning Opportunities Exist Nationwide, at all Levels of Government
Government work, no matter how simple or complex, can be associated with the value of providing a civic good. It’s one of the many reasons businesses of all sizes consider the government a key part of their strategy, not only because it can add to their bottom-line, but because of the ability to serve their community. While many may associate Washington D.C. with government, the simple truth is that your local school district and police department are also government agencies that need to be cleaned.
Cities, towns, counties, school districts, fire stations, police departments and state government agencies are all issuing janitorial contract opportunities on a regular basis. Working with government is a great opportunity to put down roots in your community, and become a trusted advisor to local leaders while growing your overall revenue.
The Onvia Guide for Small Business, Your One-Stop Shop for Government Contracts in 3 States or Less
The Onvia Guide for Small Business seeks to help local businesses participate in the B2G marketplace by serving up relevant opportunities at a low cost. Registering is a simple, self-service process; you select your geography, tell the system what types of contracts you want to see, and you will receive an email each morning letting you know the latest available leads.
With the Onvia Guide for Small Business, janitorial and cleaning companies won’t have to spend their time scouring the web for leads. Click on the button below to register today. As Mike Campion of the “Grow My Cleaning Company Podcast” said, “It’s a no brainer.”