Knock at County’s Door for Business Opportunities

What do cars, bath towels, fire damper inspections, coveralls and a log splitter have in common?  

They’re all products and services the County of San Diego had to buy in recent months. 

With 54 departments ranging from the Sheriff’s Department to the Registrar of Voters, the County spends more than $1.2 billion a year on a dizzying array of items to stay in operation and provide services to the public. In fact, the County maintains more than 3,600 active contracts worth more than $7 billion.   

Why is that important to you? If you own a business, large or small, the County is yet another opportunity to boost your bottom line.

For its part, the County welcomes all comers.

“It’s in our best interest to have the maximum number of suppliers,” said County Purchasing and Contracting Assistant Director Allen Hunsberger.  “The more competition, the better contracting results for our county departments.”

What does your company need to be considered? Your business must be a valid business with the ability to operate in California, reputable and you must comply with all applicable rules and regulations.  

“We are looking for qualified contractors, who do dependable work and do it well,” said Hunsberger.

Purchasing and Contracting tries to make it as easy as possible to do business with the County. The County hosts its own interactive procurement website called BuyNet. Businesses can register and use the system for free. Guests can also click on BuyNet and browse through the site.  

BuyNet shows what the County is looking for in the way of products and services plus allows you to register to receive automatic email notifications of County solicitations that match your business profile. You can also respond to requests for quotations, download and print requests for proposals and see who won an award and when.       

Additionally, the County hosts free workshops on “Doing Business with the County of San Diego” on a regular basis so you can learn more about the bid and proposal processes, terminology, and rules and regulations.

“There are a lot of opportunities here,” said Patricia Strauss, while attending a recent workshop. The CEO for a small Carlsbad business called Crystalline Resources, Strauss said the event had a welcoming atmosphere and no one was too intimidated to ask questions. Her company currently has a contract for safety training with the County’s General Services Department, and she is now hoping to land a larger contract.                                                            

Another local company represented at the workshop, Utopia Distributors, provides cabling, fiber optics, security systems and more. The owner is a veteran and her company is certified as a Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise. (See DVBE Policy

“We think we can provide a service as far as the DVBE goes,” said Utopia Sales Manager John Aldrich. “The County is an untapped resource for Utopia.”  

RELATED: Going Bigger to Buy Local

Think you have to own a big business to play with the County? Not necessarily. For some supplies and services, each department uses credit cards for lower priced items. If you accept credit cards, you may have opportunities to provide quick turnaround goods. Purchasing and Contracting recommends you view each department’s website to see whether the products and services you’re selling may meet the department’s needs. Subcontracting directly to other contractors who may be submitting bids or proposals to the County is another option, especially if you have no previous experience. 

RELATED: Regional Workshop

The County’s job is to get the best products and services at the best price for taxpayer dollars. Currently, the County works with 1,875 suppliers but the County is always looking for more competition.

“We are approachable and we’re always willing to explain the process in order to help you get started,” said Hunsberger.  

For more information about Purchasing and Contracting, visit the website.



Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact