LIMA — Federal contracts can be big business for small companies: Between 2013 and 2017, Ohio small businesses sold more than $10 billion worth of goods to federal agencies, according to the Northwest Ohio Procurement Technical Assistance Center, which helps companies filter and apply for federal, state and local contracts.
But how easy is it to win a bid?
Kent Kahn, coordinator for the northwest Ohio PTAC field office at Rhodes State Lima, said the process can be confusing and time consuming. But he’s still hoping more companies in the southern part of the region — particularly Allen, Van Wert, Putnam and Hancock counties — will bid on government contracts.
“There’s billions and billions of dollars going to local businesses across the country, we want to see some of those dollars coming to west central and northwest Ohio,” Kahn said. “It’s a great opportunity for companies to grow their business. It’s not the answer to everything because you can’t rely solely on government contracts. But its another tool in their toolbox.”
The PTAC northwest regional office moved from the Toledo area to the Rhodes State Lima campus in 2016.
Some local companies, like Northwest Ohio Security Systems in Lima and Duraline Medical Products in Leipsic, have benefited from the PTAC’s help in securing government contracts, according to a list shared by the agency.
The office offers basic mentoring for companies interested in applying for federal, state or local contracts. Kahn helps companies develop a profile and keywords to filter search bid contract engine results, which are emailed to clients on a daily basis. He also walks through the basics of the bid process and different contracting options to make it less intimidating.
Because of the time and financial commitments necessary to fill government orders, Kahn said the PTAC only works with companies that have been in business for at least two years with a minimum of $25,000 in gross sales each year.
“Government contracting is not easy,” he said. “It does take dedicated company to do the research and do the work to respond to the contract … It takes a financial commitment financial resources to be able to get into government contracting. You have to pay for the manufacturing the goods upfront, but the government is a good paying customer. You’re not going to have to call a collection agency to get your money from the federal government.”