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Have you ever considered doing business with the State?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Operational Services Division (OSD) establishes and manages Statewide Contracts for goods and services used by Executive Departments and many other public purchasing entities. With more than 100 contracts and hundreds of thousands of items across a wide spectrum of categories, there is ample opportunity for businesses to profit. There are many reasons to pursue Statewide Contracting and many resources to help you succeed. Statewide Contracting, however, also requires time, has defined reporting obligations, and may require you to work with a partner to meet a Supplier Diversity Program plan. Read on for some considerations if your company is contemplating becoming a Statewide Contractor.

Part 2

Points of Consideration

Time

Be prepared to commit adequate resources, mainly in the form of time, over the life of the contract on the basic maintenance of your agreement in addition to the time it takes to fulfill your contract. When it comes time to bid on a contract, you will need to dedicate time to produce price lists, contact lists, review the Commonwealth’s contract terms, including the Terms and Conditions, Standard Contract Form, RFR terms, and more.

Being awarded a Statewide Contract does not guarantee that you will receive business on that contract; rather, you have completed the first step in doing business with the State. Generally speaking, you now must compete with other awarded contractors on the contract and market your business to buyers. We recommend attending the Selling to the State training course to learn tips on how best to connect with eligible buyers.

Reporting

Depending on the contract, Statewide Contractors may be required to submit periodic reports, which may include:

  • Administration Fee Report: a 1% charge of the payments received from Statewide Contract business each quarter;
  • Contract Sales; and
  • Supplier Diversity Program Report; as examples.

Tech-savviness

As mentioned previously, the first step in contracting with the State is to register your business in COMMBUYS. While you are able to view all open bids without a COMMBUYS account, your business must be registered in COMMBUYS to respond to bids of interest.

Supplier Diversity Plan (SDP) commitments

When bidding on a Statewide Contract, prospective contractors must indicate the percent of sales they commit to spending with Commonwealth-certified, diverse (Woman-owned, Minority-owned, Veteran-owned, etc.) companies. Even if the contractor itself is a certified business, it may not reference its own sales as qualifying SDP spend.

Please be aware that the goods and services purchased toward the SDP commitment do not have to be related to the services you provide to the Commonwealth, rather it may be goods and services that your business purchases on a regular basis from outside vendors. Some examples include:

  • Landscaping and grounds maintenance;
  • Vehicle and equipment maintenance;
  • Florists;
  • Printing – business cards, stationery, folders, etc.;
  • Promotional materials such as pens, giveaway items, name badges, etc.;
  • Cleaning, cleaning equipment, and cleaning equipment maintenance;
  • Catering and food service disposable items such as paper plates, napkins, containers, etc.;
  • Electrical, plumbing, and building services;
  • Waste disposal, recycling, and shredding;
  • Clothing, uniforms, footwear, and accessories;
  • Security equipment and supplies; or
  • Information Technology services or supplies.

It takes time to find these companies and build these relationships. The Supplier Diversity Office maintains a database of certified diverse and small businesses on its website, mass.gov/sdo. Use this database to find potential partners or subcontractors and start building those relationships early on, so that there’s no last-minute scramble to meet the SDP requirements at the end of the fiscal year.

Prevailing wage requirements

Some service categories, including Tradespersons, , moving, and cleaning companies, must adhere to the prevailing wage requirements established by the Division of Labor Standards (DLS), which would be provided by the buyer in advance of starting work from the contract.

Staff resources

Personnel must be available to manage all aspects of the contract, including sales tracking and reporting, to remain in compliance with statewide contract terms.

Part 3 next week!

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