Adding government contracts is one way that portable restroom operators increase revenue. Although finding and bidding on municipal jobs takes extra time, the stability of payment and opportunities for reputation-building make your efforts worth it.
Each year, local governments, like city and county agencies, along with federal departments, such as those for military bases, put many projects out to bid in the first quarter of the year. Figure out if the time investment could increase your portable restroom profits directly or indirectly by carefully considering the pros and cons of government contract work.
For portable restroom operators who survived the downturn of the construction industry, the idea of stable work and paying customers is enticing. Carefully chosen government projects enable your business to run more efficient routes and fill in revenue gaps.
Steady income. With long government contracts, often running three to five years, portable restroom operators can protect their income stream regardless of the economy. Plus, government agencies are a reliable income stream, because the government doesn’t go out of business.
Extra support. Government agencies don’t want to go out to bid if they don’t have too. This is why administrators are readily available to answer your questions and help you maintain their standards and fulfill the contract expectations.
Local promotion. From state fairs to events in the park, your portable restroom business benefits from increased exposure. Members of your local community will recognize your branded units, and this social proof builds your reputation.
The joke has long been that government jobs always go to the lowest bidder. While there’s some truth to this idea, taking on a government contract requires a substantial time investment and an eye for detail.
Extensive paperwork. You’ll find lots of fine print and specific instructions. It’s imperative that you follow the RFP process precisely. Double-check your documents and ensure you’ve filled out the forms correctly or it’ll be considered invalid.
New terminology to learn. The information contained on the procurement and bid forms may differ from what you’ve used before, so there’s a learning curve.
Significant initial time investment. Not only must you complete many forms and follow the bid process, but you also need to provide information on your company. This may include specific forms detailing your business structure, insurance, and licensing information.
Strict requirements. For security reasons, many military and federal contracts require specific insurance. Government contracts may specify rules for how and when you’ll service the portable toilets, and agencies may even request units of a particular color.
Like many aspects of the portable sanitation industry, getting started with government contracts requires a significant time investment. However, it’s potentially a lucrative payout not only from steady contracts but from the connections you make while delivering your units. Over time, you’ll become more familiar with the terminology and expectations. Sure, you need to reapply with no guarantee of receiving the bid, but you’ll spend less time doing so once you’ve gone through the process once. For PROs looking to branch off into more detailed but consistent revenue streams, the pros of government contracts outweigh the cons.
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