Local businesses encouraged to bid for contract work with the city

A small business owner discusses ProcurePHX in Burton Barr Central Library Feb. 24. (Andy Wei/DD)

The City of Phoenix has implemented an online version of its database program, ProcurePHX, which allows small businesses to establish contract work relationships with the city.

City representatives presented the program to business owners Thursday evening at Burton Barr Central Library.

ProcurePHX started in May 2015. The program connects local businesses with city contracts to fulfill the needs of the city as well as promote the local economy. Contracted projects are categorized by value for businesses to place bids on before the posting expires, as part of the procurement system established by Phoenix City Code Chapter 43.

The program recently took to online and opened registration for local small business owners.

City contract work is big business, although many local small business owners feel left in the dust. Phoenix business owner Sarah Hope, who offers drug testing and background check services, has been successfully working with the city procurement team since its inception in 2015.

“You have to be involved,” Hope said of being awarded a contract. Because small businesses do not have the same level of reputation compared to big businesses, obtaining city contract work without the ProcurePHX system would be almost impossible for locals, Hope said.

“We have to let them know we’re here,” she said.

Local businesses not bidding for projects also allows big businesses to sweep the Arizona economy, said Kimber Lanning, founder of Local First Arizona.

“It’s not in our best interests to have them awarding contracts all around the world,” Lanning said. The local economy would be strengthened if the contracts were awarded locally, she said.

ProcurePHX allows small business owners to register with the city to receive email notification updates on contracts worth anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 and upwards. Smaller contracts sized under $5,000 are also available, but are treated as informal contracts with the least amount of paperwork.

Registering is simplified into four simple steps:

  1. Gather your business information- establish what good/service(s) do you provide
  2. Scan and submit your signed W-9
  3. Complete the online registration application here.
  4. Set up a user ID and password

Registering logs small businesses into the city database for local services that the city refers to when granting contract work. Each user picks commercial tags that accurately describe their business, and city employees email qualifying businesses about upcoming contracts.

ProcurePHX contracts are available to small businesses all across the Valley and can be viewed at any time online here. The online catalog features all currently solicited contracts, filtered by thousands of commercial tags and by department.

The city encourages all varieties of small business owners to register, from dog breeders to clothes embroiderers.

“We are looking for bomb-sniffing dogs like you wouldn’t believe,” joked Jim Campion, a Deputy Finance Director of the city. “We just bought two new dogs from a breeder.”

With thousands of commercial tags to filter contract work into, the city awards contracts for an incredible variety of trades, from linguists as translators and janitorial work to IT technicians, Campion said.

In addition to the City of Phoenix, the informational event was also hosted by local business organizations such as Local First Arizona, Arizona Small Business Association and the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Correction: February 26, 2017

Due to an editing oversight, an earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Kimber Lanning with the incorrect pronoun of “he.” It has been corrected.

An earlier version of this story’s photo caption also incorrectly identified the person pictured as a representative of the city. It has been corrected.

Contact the reporter at awwei@asu.edu.