The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) already finds contract opportunities daily for our registered clients through our electronic bid match service. But what if you want to look for yourself?
Now, GTPAC offers Georgia businesses an electronic tool that allows you to tap into as many as six months’ worth of government bid solicitations — all related to your business — in 1,200 government databases at the federal, state and local levels. Go ahead and say “Wow!”
The tool GTPAC provides is called “iSearch.”
Here’s how “iSearch” works and how you can use it to search for government contracting opportunities.
Go to http://www.outreachsystems.com/isearch/ (see image below).
In the Mailbox and Password boxes type in the same thing: ssguest.
After entering your mailbox and password, you’ll see a search engine that allows you to look for government contract solicitations by setting various parameters (see next screen shot below).
This search engine allows you to “look inside” hundreds and hundreds of government databases to search for contracting opportunities. You can search the entire U.S., or one state at a time.
In addition to looking for open solicitations, you also can use the iSearch tool to identify government agencies which have advertised contracts as far back as six months. What insight can you gain from this historical information? Consider this: Agencies which purchased particular products or services six months ago will be the ones most likely to advertise for the same kind of contract work in the future. This knowledge can be invaluable to your marketing efforts. You should experiment with iSearch until you get the results that are most relevant to you.
Here is a description of the criteria which you can set before conducting a search:
- Database: Use the dropdown menu to select from different elements of the total database. Basically, you can use this item to narrow down your search from the default of “All.” If you want an explanation of each of the elements of the database, consult http://www.outreachsystems.com/isearch/help.
- State: Select any of the 50 states or the default “All.”
- Start Date: You can search beginning with any date as early as six months ago.
- End Date: Always defaults to today’s date, but you can change it.
- Key Words: Use a word or a word combination that you think a government buyer will use to specify the type of service you provide. Use this search parameter to discover what government agencies “call” your product or service.
- Agency: If you want to search by a particular government agency, you can type it in here.
- Solicitation #: If you know about a particular government solicitation, type its number in here.
- FSGs: Use the hyperlink to look-up and enter a particular Federal Supply Group.
- SICs: Use the hyperlink to look-up and enter a particular Standard Industrial Code. (Remember, SIC codes are rarely used by contracting agencies anymore so this parameter may be unnecessary to use.)
- NAICSs: Use the hyperlink to look-up and enter a particular NAICS code. (NAICS codes have replaced SIC codes in the government sector.)
Keep in mind that you don’t have to make entries in all of these fields in order to do a search. In fact, it’s better to start out broadly, selecting “All” for the first two fields, going back six months, and then simply entering a key word or phrase. As you begin to review and learn from the resulting matches, you can use their contents to refine your subsequent searches. For example, if by conducting a word search, you find an opportunity that’s relevant to your interest, it will contain a FSG code and a NAICS code. You then can use these codes to conduct further searches to find additional relevant matches.
Don’t hesitate to contact your GTPAC Counselor if you have questions or need help with this process.