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Each state has a central procurement office, but they tend to do things differently. Some centralize procurement rules (using that word broadly) in statutes while others do so in administrative codes. Some rules are spread throughout the codes of individual agencies, such as departments of transportation. While general principles can be found throughout all jurisdictions, there is not much standardization. For example, only 18 states thus far have adopted the so-called Model Procurement Code.
State and local agencies establish dollar ranges from zero to big dollar procurements. Buyers are required to use a particular procurement method within a given dollar range. A typical agency's ranges and corresponding procurement methods might be as follows:
The procurement thresholds for the 50 states and the 50 largest counties and cities are summarized in fedmarket.com's eBook entitled "Doing Business with Government," http://www.fedmarket.com/productTour/eBook/eBookSecondLevel.php.
Some of the similarities and differences among the rules of these 150 jurisdictions are:
Agency regulations in general and threshold amounts in particular usually can be found at an agency's website. If not, call the purchasing director and obtain a copy of the law and/or regulations.
What does all of this mean in terms of sales? Sales people should understand:
Knowing the rules will have an effect on how you sell and how you structure your pricing. For example, the rules might point you toward a strategy of selling a small contract at first to make the purchase easy for the end-user or buyer (i.e., the "foot in the door" strategy).
In short, understand the purchasing rules of the state and local agencies you are selling to. Without this understanding, you will be bumbling around in the dark in terms of how to sell to end-users and buyers. Perhaps worse, they will know you are bumbling in the dark and think that you shouldn't be playing in the government market.
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