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For small businesses, government contracts can be a lifesaver, especially in a struggling economy. What are the potential benefits and drawbacks, and how can business owners get a piece of the pie?
A wide range of government agencies -- local, state, and federal -- seek bids from private companies to handle a variety of tasks. These include construction projects, some administrative services, and the collection of fees like parking tickets.
On the "plus" side, government contracts can offer small business owners some advantages over "regular" customers. For example:
But there are a few potential drawbacks, mainly in the process of winning a government contract. The process "takes a lot of due diligence, it's an uphill battle, and it will cost you money," one government-contracting adviser told Bloomberg.
So how do you land a government contract? Here are some suggestions:
Whichever route you take, it may be wise to consult with an experienced local business attorney to make sure your small business' government contract is the best deal for you.