Cooperative Procurement for Your Business An Orientation to Government Procurement Cooperative Procurement: What You Need to Know Get Started Selling Through Cooperative Contracts

How does government procurement work?

The way governments spend public dollars is highly regulated. Above a certain dollar threshold, governments must purchase from contracts created through a formal solicitation process - or seek a formal exemption for this process. These regulations are intended to make sure government business is open, competitive, and fair; unfortunately, in practice, regulations can favor those businesses that have the resources to navigate procurement complexities and respond to many solicitations.

Sooner or later, you’re going to need to win formally solicited contracts. While you may be able to sell under the formal solicitation threshold, as a reseller or distributor under another supplier’s contract, or by seeking a sole source exemption, many businesses increase sale volume by winning formally solicited contracts. This involves responding to a formal solicitation process, typically a Request for Proposal (RFP), Invitation to Bid (ITB), or other similar calls for submissions (collectively, “RFx”). Note that proposals are evaluated on a defined set of criteria, while bids are generally awarded with price as the determining factor.

The formal solicitation process is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Winning government business by responding to RFx’s is time-consuming and expensive. Responding to a solicitation can cost a business thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars and can take months of work. Cooperative procurement allows you to win a contract you can use to sell to many government entities at once, instead of applying to do business with each entity via an RFx.

Edited and reviewed by procurement professionals Kelly Mickelson, Karri Burgess, and Rita Parker

Who should I be selling to: end users, procurement professionals, or both?