Good help can be hard to find. Nobody knows that better than government procurement agents. Trying to staff a multitude of projects all with varying scope, government procurement agents must often sift through numerous bids to find the perfect contractor for each job. Occasionally, you might not be getting bids that are the right fit for either your budget or for your skillset/qualifications. That’s when it pays to be friendly with your neighbors! Government procurement agents might find success by looking to neighboring counties for their contractors.
Ask for a reference
It never hurts to ask! Try reaching out to neighboring counties to see if any other procurement agents can provide you with a vendor reference. At least you know the referral is from a trusted source that must meet the same criteria you have. It’s highly likely the vendor will be a good match as they’ve already done a similar job for another local government agency. Plus, having already worked for a neighboring county, the vendor will be familiar with what it takes to complete a government contract.
Do a little investigation
If you’re a government procurement agent, it’s highly likely you know about other projects happening near you, or you may recognize public sector work when you see it. You may even use a procurement site like DemandStar to search other bids by other local agencies. Make a note of projects and see how they turn out. If you think it’s quality work, reach out to the procurement agent for that county and get the vendor’s name and contact info. This is a great way to find local vendors that, even though may be out of your county, are still close to your area. You never know when you might need someone to do a similar project. This way you’ll have a good start on vendor lead before you even send out your RFP.
Flip the script
Maybe you’ve just worked with an incredible vendor and are impressed with their work. Reach out to your neighboring county procurement agents and offer the referral to them! You’ll be able to connect with other agents in your area and provide them with a resource for future projects. Then, if you happen to need to reach out for a referral, it won’t seem awkward or odd. You’ve already established that you’d like to share references by putting up a vendor of your own, so your ask won’t seem out of place.
Looking to your neighboring counties for contractors is a smart way to find vendors that are qualified and understand public sector work. By asking directly for a reference, investigating promising projects, or even volunteering a reference of your own, you can establish a good relationship with other procurement agents and get some much-needed help in your contractor search.
Are you a government procurement agent that has reached out to a neighboring county for a reference? Do you feel like you got a good vendor lead from the interaction?