- Look locally. Contact your city and county public works departments to find out how they publish bid opportunities.
- For state and national bid opportunities, get your business certified.
- Self-certifications: The federal government recognizes small businesses (SBE), women-owned (WBE), and disadvantaged (i.e. minority) businesses (SDB). The SBA has established two widely used size standards for small business:
- Fewer than 500 employees for most manufacturing and mining industries, and
- Less than $7 million in average annual receipts for most nonmanufacturing industries.
- HUBZone businesses. If your business is located in a low-median income or high unemployment area, you may be eligible for preferential bidding on federal projects. Go to http://www.sba.gov/content/applying-hubzone-program to see if you are in a HUBZone.
- SBA 8(a) program for minority businesses. The SBA 8(a) program provides direct help in obtaining federal contracts. Participants must have been in business at least 2 years and have non-businesss and non-home assets less than $250,000. For more information, visit http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development. To apply, visit https://sba8a.symplicity.com/applicants/guide.
- US Department of Transportation recognizes veteran-owned small businesses. For more information, visit http://osdbu.dot.gov/about/customers.cfm#VOSB.
- California has two certifications: Small Business Enterprise (SBE) and Disabled Veterans (DVBE). Both are eligible for 5% bid preference and contract set-asides. Go to http://www.pd.dgs.ca.gov/smbus/default.htm for requirements and to apply online.
- CalTrans uses the state certification for state-funded projects and a separate certification (DBE) for federally funded projects. For DBE certification, go to http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/bep/business_forms.htm .
California’s bid opportunities can be found at http://www.eprocure.dgs.ca.gov/
For sub-contracting opportunities for CalTrans projects, look for companies which have been awarded contracts at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/esc/oe/planholders/
In California, contracts under $100,000 can avoid the bid process if the agency solicits at least two certified SBE (small business) or DVBE (disabled veteran) firms and awards the bid to one of them.
- In the right panel, you will find additional resources, including: