Home to more than 800,000 residents, Jacksonville, Florida is the 12th most populous city in the United States. Jacksonville is a consolidated city/county government integrated with Duval County; as a result, Jacksonville is technically the largest city by area in the U.S. at 874.3 square miles and boasts a metropolitan population of 1,573,606, the fourth largest in Florida after Miami, Tampa and Orlando.
Jacksonville is ranked the tenth-fastest growing city in the U.S. and the local economy driven primarily by product distribution, financial services, biomedical technology, information services, manufacturing, consumer goods and the insurance sector. The city is home to the largest deepwater port in the southern U.S. and the second largest port on the East coast, which receives imported automobiles and coffee and exports lumber, phosphate, paper cigars and wood pulp, among other products. Jacksonville is considered the leading transportation and distribution hub in Florida.
Doing Business with the City of Jacksonville
Jacksonville’s procurement division is in charge of everything the city buys, rents or leases, including supplies, equipment, various services, printing, warehousing, insurance and surety bonds. Vendors who would like to be placed on the Jacksonville bidders’ list must first register with the JaxPro procurement system. Contract opportunities for the City of Jacksonville are posted for all formal and informal bids, as well as quotes and proposals for any goods or services exceeding $2,500.
Informal bidding: The city requests quotes for goods or services valued at less than $65,000. In these cases, at least three vendors will be contacted before a winner is selected and a Purchase Order will be issued to the winning vendor.
Formal Bidding: A formal bid process is required for any product or services valued at or more than $65,000, or in the case of professional design services, more than $35,000.
Note: Vendors interested in bidding on public works projects will be required to pay a fee for copies of plans and specifications
Capital Improvement Projects: Capital improvement projects worth more than $100,000 are required to be submitted with a capital improvement verification form and will be publicly advertised for a minimum of ten calendar days.
Professional Design Bids: Bids relating to architectural, engineering, actuarial, banking, insurance, promotional, bond counsel, medical consulting and other professional services that are worth more than $65,000 will be issued by the Professional Services Evaluation Committee.
Legal Related Services: Vendors looking to bid on legal and related services must first be listed on the approved ‘legal related’ services list.
Jacksonville contract opportunities are advertised weekly in the Financial News and Daily Record newspapers. According to regulations, advertisements must be posted in the newspapers at least twenty-one days prior to the bid opening. Open bids can also be found on the Department of IntraGovernmental Services and Procurement Division website. The city also operates a bid hotline that vendors can call to hear a list of open opportunities.
(Source: City of Jacksonville – Procurement: Doing Business with the City. 2016. Web. 11 Oct. 2016)
Small and Emerging Businesses
The goal of Jacksonville’s Small and Emerging Business program is to maximize procurement opportunities for small businesses in the city, helping to develop business relationships between the private sector and local government in order to spur economic growth. Through the program, small businesses can receive technical and educational assistance, benefit from networking opportunities and learn how to ensure vendor compliance during city projects.
Businesses that are interested in becoming certified as a Jacksonville Small Emerging Business must complete the certification application. The requirements to be approved as a small emerging business are as follows:
- The majority business owner must have resided in Duval, St. John, Nassau, Baker or Clay County for at least one year and must have had their business headquartered in Jacksonville for at least three years at the time of application;
- The personal net worth of the majority owner must be $605,000 or less (excluding personal residence);
- The business must have a three-year gross annual income equal to or less than $6 million;
- The majority owner must control fifty-one percent of the business;
- The business must be a for-profit enterprise.
(Source: City of Jacksonville: Jacksonville Small & Emerging Business. 2016. Web. 12 Oct. 2016)
If you work in the Jacksonville area and want to do business with the local government, there are plenty of opportunity types to choose from. Like many cities, Jacksonville aims to help small businesses succeed by awarding twenty percent of the city’s contracts to SMBs. Jacksonville also helps small businesses navigate the certification process and learn how to do business with the government, which is a big help for vendors who are new to government contracting.
As a small business, it’s to your benefit to take advantage of all the resources and tools at your disposal in Jacksonville. It also helps to pay close attention to what’s going on in your area and the different types of opportunities that are being posted by the local government; this can give you a leg up on the competition. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t win the first contract you bid on - remember that there are many bids to pursue every year. Keep submitting proposals and eventually your hard work and dedication to bidding will pay off!
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com