State purchasing in Texas is among the largest in the U.S., with purchasing teams awarding and managing hundreds of contracts on behalf of over 200 state agencies and 1900 local government CO-OP members. The state of Texas is actively seeking for new business and encourages all vendors to become suppliers to the state, providing excellent avenues to businesses of all sizes to take advantage of the abundant contracting opportunities and billions of dollars in annual purchases made by the various Texas state agencies.
Registration Requirements to Work with Texas Government Agencies
The first place you should visit to sell to Texas government agencies is the Texas Comptroller of Public Account (CPA) website in order to get on the Centralized Master Bidders List (CMBL). There is a small annual registration fee as well as few questions to answer about your business (contact information, tax information, company business structure, certifications, and services codes), but getting on the CMBL allows agencies to identify your business as a qualified seller to receive bids based on product or service needs.
In addition, you should take the time to pick up whatever information or resources offered through the Texas Comptroller of Public Account website since it is the primary office that helps businesses with education, opportunity matches, HUB certification and compliance, and serves government agencies with training, planning and implementing outreach efforts.
Choosing the Right Business Opportunity
Like many other states, Texas has several programs which cater to certain purchasing needs as well as specific types of businesses as a way to facilitate the procurement process, increase competition, and receive much needed products and services at reduced or preferential pricing.
- Set-Aside Awards: Much like federal, and many state, set-aside awards, state statutes and CPA rules require state agencies at several levels to purchase approved products and services from designated and certified businesses, including minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses, and HUBZone-certified businesses. Besides benefiting from receiving a preferred consideration from awarding agencies, being certified from any one or more of the above designations also increases business exposure to the general public and any customers or entities searching for underrepresented businesses.
- TXMAS Program: The Texas Multiple Award Schedule contracts program is a great way to sell to the state of Texas if you have been previously awarded a multiple award contract from a federal or other state agency. Existing multiple award schedules are used as a basis for negotiating similar or lower rates and can be an easier way for you to expand your customer base utilizing the same resources you already have.
- TXSmartBuy Contracts: Winning a Texas Smart Buy Contract is a great way to sell a wide variety of products and services to not just one but to several state and local agencies at reduced prices for several years without needing to go through the cumbersome process that usually follows individual purchases made through traditional competitive acquisition methods. Previously negotiated rates allows agencies to purchase with confidence and greatly increases vendors’ individual sales per year.
- “Green” Items Term Contracts: If you have been familiar with changes in the purchasing processes and preferences from federal, state and local agencies in the last few years, then you’ll know that many are making the shift to buying goods and services from vendors that provide recycled, remanufactured or environmentally sensitive products. The list of products is wide and expanding each year, so it’s best for you to conduct a thorough analysis of your product to find any advantage.
What Contracting Managers Look For From Prospective Vendors
The following are just some key traits you should keep in mind when researching, writing and submitting your bids for government business with Texas. Doing so can greatly increase your chances of standing apart from your competition.
- Provide detailed quotes complete with shipping and handling charges, as well as any charges that aren’t included in the product or service cost;
- Submit bids or quotes by the posted scheduled deadlines;
- Contact contracting officers and program managers regularly to have any questions answered or concerns addressed;
- Provide samples or literature with bid response, if necessary;
- And demonstrate a history of on-time and reliable delivery.
These are just a handful of tips aimed to improve your chances of winning government contracts.
Lastly, historic data is now available to provide knowledge of past pricing and sales is of utmost importance, do not go into a bid unprepared.
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