Government cleaning contracts can be a lucrative business, but first, you need to beat the competition.

Jobs with the federal government can be a great source of income for your cleaning business. But government cleaning contracts aren’t easy to come by. While the federal government does reserve some twenty-three percent of their contractor funds for small businesses, many small companies are competing for that money. Not only that, but there are extra steps you have to take when bidding on government contracts, and if you miss any of them, you may jeopardize your chances of winning the bid.

The good news is that government cleaning contracts can also come at the state and local level, which usually requires a little less paperwork and are just as profitable. Whether you choose to go with the federal, state, or local level, it’s important to know how government bids differ from the private sector bids, and what you need to do to win those contracts.

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Your 5-part guide to bidding on – & winning – government cleaning contracts

1. Obtain the credentials you need

Before you can bid on government cleaning contracts, you need to obtain credentials. The first is something called a D-U-N-S, or Dun and Bradstreet number. This is a nine-digit number that governments use to determine your credibility and financial stability. The number is a frequent requirement for any government contract bids, but you can apply online through the Dunn and Bradstreet website.

The next thing you’ll need to do is to register with the System for Award Management (SAM). You’ll need this to work with the government. Like the D-U-N-S number, you can apply online for your SAM registration, and since it’s a government website, you can use the site for free to register, renew, or check the status of your application.

Finally, you’ll need to know your North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. For most janitorial services, the code is 561720. However, there are some exceptions for specialized services, such as carpet cleaning. To make sure you’re using the right code, check out their website and look up your code for free.

2. Find the right jobs

Now you’re ready to bid on government cleaning contracts! But where do you find them? Fortunately, there are a few websites where you can look up and bid on government contracts. Sites like GovernmentBids.com, GovGB.com, and FBO.gov are all great resources for federal contracts. There’s also the U.S. General Servies Administration which helps small businesses win government contracts.

For state and local bids, check with your state Department of Labor or your local Chamber of Commerce to find requests that fit the services you offer. You can also do a Google search for non-federal contracts, but make sure to search specifically in the location(s) where you’re looking to do business.

3. Obtain an RFP and place your bid

Government cleaning contracts will start with a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is a document that outlines exactly what the cleaning job will entail. It’s essential to read through these carefully to make sure your cleaning company offers all of the services necessary to fulfill the job requirements. If you do, you’re ready to write and submit your proposal.

Proposals for government jobs need to be extremely detailed and thorough. Remember, you’re up against a lot of competition for the same job, so you need to stand out from the crowd. What makes your business better than someone else’s? What can you offer that they can’t? This is also where you’ll detail your costs, which may include cleaning services, employee wages, supplies, and profit margin. Cost can be a critical component to winning government cleaning contracts, so make sure you do your market research and provide the lowest competitive bid possible to make your proposal look more attractive. (Just be sure your bid will still leave you with a profit.)

4. Why government contracts?

If this seems like a lot of work, you may be wondering what the benefit of government contracts is in the first place? What makes them better than other contracts?

One of the biggest benefits of government contracts is that they have the potential to be long-term. While some bids are “spot bids,” which means they expire at the end of the job, others are for long stretches, which can guarantee you business for a long time as long as you continue to do a good job.

Another benefit is money. Government cleaning contracts tend to pay very well, with millions of dollars spent each year on cleaning businesses. That can translate to handsome profits for you if you’re savvy enough to win the bid.

5. There’s more than one type of government cleaning job

Cleaning government buildings isn’t limited to federal and state office buildings. There are plenty of other interesting, unique government cleaning jobs. You might bid on cleaning public schools or state universities, city hall, libraries, firehouses, police stations, and more. Sometimes these jobs can be more interesting than a standard office cleaning job, and they can frequently net you a lot more money. Just be aware of any specific certifications you may need to clean buildings like hospitals.

Whichever types of jobs you end up taking on, it’s a good idea to use tools that can help you manage your appointments and stay organized. Software like Janitorial Manager can help you with writing bid proposals, managing projects, staying in touch with clients, keeping track of inventory, and more. For government jobs especially, janitorial management software can be incredibly useful since many of the government cleaning contracts contain specific, nuanced details that may get overlooked if they aren’t tracked from the beginning. Additionally, the ability to communicate with the client in real-time significantly increases the likelihood of customer satisfaction.

With all this knowledge and these tools, you’re ready to start bidding on the coveted government cleaning contracts. Good luck!

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