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Montana small businesses can learn about government contracts

Posted at 10:53 AM, Feb 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 16:21:16-05

GREAT FALLS — If you own a small business in Montana, you could be in contention for a slice of the metaphorical government contract pie.

In the past 12 months, an estimated $9.2 billion in government contracts were awarded in Montana, and that’s not including state and local contracts.

According to the Great Falls Development Authority, government agencies buy everything from nuts and bolts to dirt.

“There was a business up north that was asked by one of the federal agencies to provide housing for a bunch of horses that were loose and needed an emergency place to stay, and so here, a guy, an outfitter, was able to rent out his corrals to put some horses in there,” said Great Falls Development Authority Vice President Lillian Sunwall. “ There was another government agency that was looking for clean dirt, it’s amazing what they will buy. They’re looking for places to repair their vehicles, so maybe an auto-mechanic shop. They can bid on a contract. It isn’t necessarily they have to bid on a contract. If it’s a smaller job, they can put out, ask for three bids, and you can work with them that way and they can pay you with a government credit card. There’s a lot of options out there.”

The Development Authority is hosting a three hour session for small business owners who are interested in learning more about government contracting. They will guide people through everything from signing up for opportunities at government contracts to bidding on them. You can learn more about the class and sign up by clicking here.

There are even opportunities for people to start off as subcontractors and work their way up to bigger contracts and bigger paydays.

“They can be a subcontractor under, say, a big construction company,” explained Sunwall. “If they’re a plumbing company, an electrical company, they can work underneath them and get their feet wet in government contracting, and that’s a way to start. We have a subcontractor who started out doing that, and now he’s doing the prime contracts, and he’s done very, very well. He’s been able to grow his business, hire more people, and that’s what every business wants, to help grow the economy.”

Sunwall also stressed that this class and government contracting as a whole isn’t for everyone. She recommends that newer businesses who are just starting out wait a few years to gain experience int he commercial world. Once they’ve firmly planted their feet in the business and commerce world, the Great Falls Development Authority is once resource that they can utilize to learn more about the process. They can assist business owners with everything from registering, reviewing contracts and submitting bids.