ND APEX Accelerator

A resource for assisting North Dakota businesses in obtaining federal, state, and local government contracts.

December 2022: On a hunt for government work? Does it feel like a Snipe Hunt?

Being on the hunt for government contracts can seem like a snipe hunt. Not familiar with a snipe hunt. As early as the 1840s in North America, a snipe hunt was duping an unsuspected person into hunting for a nonexistent animal called a snipe. Surprise, a snipe is real; it is a North American bird.  — Surprise again; hunting for government work that your company can bid on is also real.

Hunting for local opportunities? Local can mean city, county, township, schools, etc. Take advantage of online bidding sites created by cities and counties. Not all communities have an online bid site; if they do not, watch for local postings in a local newspaper or council meeting notes. Here is a list of online bidding sites from each state; Outreach Systems tracks each state and its local opportunity sites.

State solicitation hunting can be different for each state. North Dakota uses a Bidders List. The Office of Management and Budget manages this site; it lists recent open solicitations from around the state, including our universities. If your business is registered as a bidder and a commodity code matches your profile, you will automatically receive notice of a solicitation.

Our federal government has created different ways to hunt. The System for Award Management (SAM) contains solicitations estimated at 25,000 or more. You can search by place of performance, NAICS or PSC codes, date, agency, type of notice, or target by set aside. Plus, if you have an account in SAM, you can save your searches with notifications sent directly to your email.

Next, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS). DIBBS is a web-based application that enables the vendor community to search for, view, and submit secure quotes on Requests for Quotations (RFQs)as well as Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Invitations for Bid (IFB), Awards, and other procurement information. (source: DLA DIBBS Pocket Guide)

The e-commerce ordering system for the Department of Defense (DoD), Federal, State, and authorized local agencies to search for and acquire products from government reserves and commercial sources is called FedMall. Buyers will have access to tens of millions of individual items of supply, from centrally managed DoD and General Service Administration (GSA) assets to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. As a supplier, you will primarily access FedMall via the Supplier Portal— a dedicated website where you register, manage your catalog items, and view purchase orders.
(source: FedMall Quick Start Guide: Supplier Registration)

FedConnect® is a centrally managed portal maintained by Unison® Software, Inc. Unison provides enterprise software and services that automate mandated business rules for public sector organizations with authority to spend, grant, or move funds to improve performance, productivity, visibility, control, and transparency. Solutions from Unison® extend to government contractors executing FAR-based procurements on behalf of their clients. Registering as a vendor in FedConnect enables you to view opportunities and awards directed to your vendor and take full advantage of FedConnect’s message center capabilities. Once you register as a vendor, you should receive an email from FedConnect containing your initial user ID and password, which enable you to sign in to FedConnect. If you do not receive this email after registering, you can check your registration status. (source: FedConnect.net)

Now to the GSA Schedule. The GSA Schedule, also known as the Federal Supply Schedule and Multiple Award Schedule (MAS), is a long-term governmentwide contract with commercial companies that provides the government access to millions of commercial products and services at fair and reasonable prices. MAS makes buying easy and efficient using modern technology to connect government buyers and industry. (Source: GSA.gov)

Subtracting is contracting; thus, you can hunt for it. These can take a bit more time. You need to access the prime contractor’s website when reviewing these opportunities. Most require a potential subcontractor to register and provide company data.

  • SUBNet The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) SUB-Net serves as a public host for governmentwide subcontracting opportunities. The SUB-Net allows large businesses to post a description of the services required for a particular solicitation and their point of contact information for interested subcontractors. (Source: hub.gov)
  • SBA offers a list of prime contractors.
  • Department of Defense (DoD) prime contractors are targeting, or hunting, for small businesses. These contractors are required to set aside contracts for small businesses. Check out the

DoD’s prime contractors and small business contracting.

  • GSA lists prime contractors, meaning they hold a schedule or contract. Some of these companies are seeking businesses to partner with or subcontract.

Some companies offer pay-for-search systems called bid match. These services scrape online opportunities sites and send matches to review, to save you time. ND PTAC offers bid match services at no cost to our clients.

Like with all hunting, you need to prepare for your hunt AND know what you are hunting.

If you are unsure where to start or how to get organized, connect with the North Dakota Procurement Technical Assistance Center (ND PTAC). Our services are at no cost to businesses based in North Dakota. Register to schedule an appointment. Additionally, take advantage of the many other training opportunities and events listed on the ND PTAC website.

Not from North Dakota? Find your closest PTAC on the APTAC website, then click on your state.