3 Things to consider before pursuing business with the State of Florida

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The State of Florida

State of Florida agencies use an electronic procurement system fora vast majority of their purchases. That’s where we are going to focus.

Before an agency can enter into a contract with a business, the business has to register with MyFloridaMarketPlace (MFMP).

During registration in MyFloridaMarketPlace businesses select commodity codes to let the agencies know what products the business provides.

The commodity codes are based on the UNSPSC codes.

MyFloridaMarketPlace has a list of all the currently active codes posted on their website.

The commodity codes will dictate what opportunites are presented to the business.

Once the business is registered, you’ll sit back and wait on the business to roll in.

Maybe pick out your new Tesla while your waiting, right?

Wrong.

Number 1

You need to research what agencies you want to pursue business with. You may ask, “Eric, shouldn’t I go after all of them?”

Great question.

The answer is No.

Even if you have products every agency can use, I still recommend picking two or three agencies to focus on.

I’ll go into how every agency’s purchasing practices are a little different in another post.

Not every agency has statutory authority to purchase all goods and services.

That’s a bureaucratic way of saying there a some things some agencies can’t buy.

Here’s an example why this knowledge is helpful.

At a small business trade show, I  was representing the state.

A sales rep. for a coffee service sat down at my table.

After exchanging plesantries, she jumped in to how her company could save the state on service and equipment.

She was going over industry numbers and how they could really help.

I didn’t want to interrupt her.

After she finished, I thanked her for her time and then explained the state cannot purchase that type of service.

No authority to provide the service.

She had driven from two states away to come to this event.

Paid her registration for the trade show all to find out the state can’t buy what she sells.

Businesses need to understand what agencies they can work with.

Number 2

Understand how the state agencies buys goods/services.

I can spend hours on this topic, but I won’t.

Let’s keep it simple for now.

Agencies make purchases in 3 ways:

  • discretionary- anything less than $2,500 can be bought without quotes (though some agencies require a number of quotes based on internal policy)
  • Informal bids – anything less than $35k only requires the agency makes an effort to get 3 quotes for the product
  • formal bids – everything over $35k has to be competitively bid unless the product is available on a state contract
    • This would be the Request for Proposal (RFP), Invitation to Bid (ITB) and Invitation to Negotiate (ITN)

You need to know where you and your business fall into this scenario.

How you approach agencies will depend on this.

Is your business ready to support a multi-year, multi- million dollar contract?

Everyone wants to say yes, but think hard about that. If your business is well-established, I’d say go for it.

 

Number 3

Let’s talk about the real numbers.

This is the part I couldn’t always say out loud when I worked for the program.

Here’s a little not-so-secret.

The message from the powers that be is the state wants to increase competition.

This makes sense, more competition=lower prices.

It sounds great from a leadership perspective but in reality this isn’t what happens.

  • There are around 100k businesses registered to do business in MFMP.
  • About 50% are actively seeking business opportunities.
  • Only about 30k +/-  receive business from the state on an annual basis.

Does this mean there isn’t any reason to pursue business with the state?

No, it means businesses need to be strategic with how they approach state agencies.

 

I’ll cover different aspects of pursuing business with State of Florida agencies.

What topics would you like to hear about from an insider perspective?

Tell me in the comments.

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