Government Work Fills A Printer's Idle Capacity
By Douglas P. Harbach
WASHINGTON, DC—Many printers are creating a new revenue steam by tapping into the plentiful amount of printing work offered by the government. This can include local governments, state agencies and all the way up to the federal government.
Work from state and local governments, along with colleges and universities, is plentiful. Qualified printers are asked to bid and the low bidder is normally considered for the award.
Using the Internet
Nowadays, access to bidding invitations can be found on the Web, though you may have to look through a myriad of sites frequently. If you are serious about expanding your business into this market, you may want to look for a service that finds printing job invitations and makes them available at a single site.
Be aware that there is frequently no requirement to award to the low bidder in the state and local governments, so some "politics" can be involved. Also, each adheres to its own set of procurement regulations and you must register with each public sector entity to qualify.
In almost every case, regulations are not written specifically for printing, but for the less complicated procurement of non-customized goods and services.
This may result in frequently communicating with someone who does not have a very deep printing knowledge. Of course, you can use this to your advantage by assisting in how the job will be specified in final form, thereby accumulating some additional value-added dollars for that service.
Government Printing Office
The other government option is the Government Printing Office (GPO). Printers will find the GPO market far more structured, hampered with very few geographic restrictions and serviced by professionals who generally have a deep printing background.
Becoming A GPO Vendor
A potential vendor completes a brief application that qualifies them for work bid out of any of the 21 GPO procurement sites. Unlike requirements from many states and local governments, there is no need to be bonded and GPO asks only that a company be an equal opportunity employer.