So major issue I"m having is when trying to bid on state contracts I see many of the are in need of at least 3 references. I'm into IT application development etc. I've been looking on Craigslist and I've started looking on "upwork". Issue is since these are state contracts I need to have references that have a company name, contact information and "type of work". I concerned that "fly-by-night" type of jobs will look weak?

I'm a new company. Need to get my feet wet. I have 10+ years IT experience myself (app dev, database etc).

Anybody knows the best way to get references in this type of situation.