Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona and the sixth-most populous city in the United States, with a population of 1.56 million people. Phoenix is also the only state capital with more than one million residents, making it the most populous capital in the U.S.
Phoenix annual gross domestic product is over $215 billion. The top five industries in the city are real estate, finance and insurance, manufacturing, retail trade and health care. If the municipal government of Phoenix was a private entity, it would rank third among the top five industries, with a net worth of $18.9 billion and accounting for 10.5 percent of the government sector workforce. Phoenix operates more than 300 public schools in 30 districts, which collectively administer an enrollment of 27,000 students. The Phoenix Union High School district is one of the largest high school districts in the United States, encompassing sixteen schools. One of the nation’s largest universities is also in Phoenix: Arizona State University, which is attended by more than 72,000 students.
Doing Business with the City of Phoenix
If you’re a vendor looking to do business with the city of Phoenix you must first apply through the city’s vendor self registration process, where you can submit an application and a signed W-9 tax form to have your business placed on the city’s bidders list. The city will approve a vendor’s application based on taxing jurisdiction, eligibility for the small business programs and verifying the submission of the vendors signed W-9.
Suppliers/vendors can use the Arizona Department of Revenue site to determine which jurisdiction they are in. Once approved, the vendor will receive two emails that they can use to register with the City’s ProcurePHX vendor portal. The portal provides access to open solicitations and vendors will also receive email notifications for open bids, based on the category codes they choose that match their business service offers.
Vendors who submit a proposal must do so by sending the bid in a sealed envelope by the date and time recorded in the bid documents. The envelope must clearly state the company’s name and address, the bid number as well as the bid opening date and time. Submissions are not accepted by email or fax.
Vendors can find open solicitations within the following areas on the ProcurePHX portal:
Small Business Enterprise Program
Through the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program, Phoenix aims to promote the economic growth of local businesses. The program provides certification, open contract opportunities, construction subcontracting, small business management and technical assistance, educational services and networking opportunities to eligible businesses. Small businesses can get certified via the SBE portal, and certification is free.
The program offers quarterly workshops to help small business obtain their certification and also administers the Reserve Contract Program, which is essentially a Set-Aside for small businesses. These contract opportunities are reserved strictly for small businesses and give them a fair chance of winning a public sector contract. The SBE also offers management and technical assistance to small businesses, while the Community and Economic Development department helps businesses to create and retain jobs through consulting services, helping them with planning, marketing, accounting, financing, loan packaging, organization development, human resource management and IT. The program also helps with workforce development and gives tax incentives to businesses located within specific incentive areas.
(Source: City of Phoenix –Contracting with the City. How to Become a Vendor. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016)
As with any government agency, small business should take advantage of the programs and resources the agency or department offers. Being able to get certified directly from the city’s procurement portal is a great benefit to small business that otherwise wouldn’t know about the advantages of being certified or how to go about getting certified. The program not only helps businesses grow within the private sector, but helps to ensure that small businesses have a chance to be successful in government contracting.
Having access to a city’s open solicitations is very helpful for researching contract opportunities, whether your business is already working with the city or you are just now preparing to offer your services. Even if you’re unsure about bidding on city contracts, it’s worth the effort to have your business placed on Phoenix’s vendor list to gain an idea of what kinds of bids are available and what the requirements are to do business with the city. Ultimately, the more resources and tools you have access to, the more success you’ll have at working in the public sector.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com