By Noah Robins, SBTDC/PTAC Counselor at Western Carolina University
A frequent refrain for businesses attempting to sell to the government is the difficulty and time consumed searching for bid opportunities. Depending on which level of government a company is trying to sell to (Federal, state or local), there are many options to help short-cut the process to locate bid opportunities, often including auto-generated emails or digests. For businesses interested in selling to the state of North Carolina and local cities, towns and agencies in the state, VendorLink offers a convenient one-stop location to register your business and sign up to receive bid opportunities automatically delivered to your inbox. VendorLink taps into the statewide Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) to compile and deliver bid opportunities that are appropriate to your business. [See a complete list of the agencies using IPS]
Registration on VendorLink entails creating a user ID and password and sharing some basic information about your business, including the business location and whether the business is HUB-certified [Learn more on HUB]. VendorLink registration is the business owner’s responsibility, and a business registration can be edited or updated at any time. The front page of VendorLink offers an excellent overview of the registration process, including helpful, step-by-step explanations for each section of the registration system.
To enable auto-receipt of bid opportunity emails, it is crucial that you locate the commodity code that describes the product or service that your business sells. A search tool within VendorLink allows for quick searching of appropriate codes, and the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract also has a good description of commodity codes, class codes, and several finding aids on their website.Your business can have one or multiple codes; the key is to select codes that appropriately describe your offerings. Once you have located appropriate codes, add them to your VendorLink profile and be sure to select that you want to receive emails.