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Government Contracting in Florida

The state of Florida has numerous industries from a booming hospitality market to busy ports. Like most industries they have suffered in the recent economic downturn, but you can always count on the availability of government jobs. Consequently, it still remains profitable to do business with the state of Florida. Specifically, the state of Florida has a 1 billion dollar annual budget for state contracts and you need to grab one for your own business. The following article will outline key information that is necessary to grasp before trying to meld your business with Florida’s governmental needs.

Becoming a Vendor

First things first, you are required to become a registered vendor with the state of Florida before you are able to begin bidding. Florida’s system for bidding is called MyFloridaMarketplace and provides the vendor with great benefits from direct payments to less paperwork when completing bids. (FYI: It can take up to 2 days to have your account activated, so do not plan to wait until the last minute to signup). The registration process is not too arduous and can be completed online. Please visit the website for a full listing of required documentation.  You are not required to pay a fee to become a registered vendor.  However, when you are paid through government contracts, they institute a 1% transaction charge. 

Once you are registered, you will be able to attend a number of training sessions conducted by state procurement officials and resources available on their website. There are quick reference guides, power points, and other information at your disposable to get you up to speed. Additionally, Florida conducts vendor meeting through teleconferencing where you are able to ask questions after an informative presentation. Recent topics have included “Solicitation” and “Vendor Information Portal”.


Florida State Procurement Process

Before delving into the bidding process there are few terms and phrases that it will be important to know: 

Alternate Contract Sources

PRIDE – These are commodities are already priced in the system and all state agencies and political subdivisions are allowed to purchase them without competitive bidding. They are produced through prison labor. 

RESPECT- These are services or commodities that help to employ Florida residents with disabilities. The RESPECT program works with non-profit organizations across the state. 

RFI – Request for Information

RFQ – Request for Quote 

RFP – Request for Proposal 

ITB – Invitation to Bid 

DBPR- Department of Business and Professional Regulation

Certain businesses are required to be licensed by this governmental body including interior designers, real estate agents, architects, and mappers. 

CBE – Certified Business Enterprise 

These are reserved for companies that are certified to be minority, women-owned and service disabled veteran small businesses.  It is the “premier stamp of approval” from the State of Florida and there are many bids set-aside or have preferential treatment for companies that fall into this category. If you are interested in more information about this topic, visit of the Office Supplier Diversity website. 


Solicitation – the process wherein buyer (the government agencies) decide who they would like to purchase their services through by looking at price quotes, quantities available and the contractual terms. You may see this referred to as “Sourcing” or “Formal Bidding” and the bids must be $25,000 or greater. 

The EQuote system is a new innovation with the adoption of My Florida Marketplace and allows price quotes under $25,000 from State of Florida agencies. Florida Procurement explains:

Step One: Florida buyers specify the products they want to purchase and the vendors that they want to receive quotes from
  Step Two: MyFloridaMarketPlace notifies selected vendors via email, and delivers the eQuote directly to each vendor's eQuote inbox
  Step Three: Vendors electronically respond to the eQuote, and have the ability to offer product substitutions or specify other decision-making information to the buyer
Step Four: The buying agency selects a vendor and issues a purchase order

Florida uses Ariba Sourcing to accept bids for solicitations over $25,000.

 Most of our customers will be using the Vendor Bid System or (VBS) to process their bidding forms. Agencies use this portal to post solicitations and bid decisions. In terms of the bidding process, you complete the required documentation through the online portal. Please make sure you have filled out all the required fields and asked procurement officers about any necessary questions. 


Bid Decision

 The most difficult part about government bidding is waiting to find out your fate. State of Florida agencies do not have a particular timeline of when they are required to make a decision, but typically it is rather timely. You will be notified through the MyFloridaMarketplace about the outcome of the bid. Florida takes transparency in government bidding very seriously. If you do not win your proposed bid, you can easily locate the selected bidder on SPURSview. Also, you are able to check Transparency Florida to locate how much the state paid for particular good and services. 

 You can find additional information about the State of Florida Procurement process on their website. There are an exhaustive listing of training tools, information guides, and power points that will be beneficial to look through before beginning to bid.