How to Obtain Construction Bids and RFP Opportunities

Two workers on a construction project site reviewing building plans
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There are many possibilities and opportunities for builders and construction companies to be invited for new bids. The federal government is looking for all types of construction companies to bid on their construction projects. Many of the projects require having participation from small businesses, local contractors, minority contractors, and tribal firms, among others. But how do you get into that kind of business?

We will present some of the most common resources used in the construction industry to get bids, request for proposals, and request for qualification for several opportunities waiting for you. The majority of the projects go out to bids starting from June through September when the fiscal year comes to an end.

Initial Bidding Requirements

As a contractor, you must prepare a business plan containing the ideas on how you are going to sell your services, a complete list of offerings, financial data, and support documents that will complement your knowledge in the industry. Your local small business administration office can help you with the preparation of your business plan. Remember is not only your experience, but you also need some financial backup.

If you are starting a new company or haven’t done the IRS registration, you must enlist and get an employer identification number (EIN, Federal ID Number), this is a requirement if you want to bid on federal or government projects.

How to Subscribe and Appear on the Bidders List

Apply for a Dunn & Bradstreet number (also called D&B or Dunns). This register is necessary if you want to get listed in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) to the government. You control the accuracy of your business information, and it will be accessible to all Federal agencies with which you do business. You have access to update your information whenever necessary. Annual renewal is required to remain active. Many agencies will use this system for payment and contract formation purposes.

Furthermore, you might want to register with ORCA. ORCA is an e-Government initiative that was designed by the Integrated Acquisition Environment (IAE) to replace the paper-based Representations and Certifications (Reps and Certs) process.

Finally, you can also select your NAICS code. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS, pronounced Nakes) was developed as the standard for use by Federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the collection, analysis, and publication of statistical data related to the business economy of the U.S.

Bid Sources

Once you got all your initial requirements ready and filled out, then you must start looking for bidding opportunities and construction bids. Here is a list of common places where to find bids, proposals, and solicitation information.

  • FBO - This is a free service. You have a good bit of flexibility in setting up your firm's profile. They also have an automatic notification system that, given your parameters, will send an email with projects that fit your requirements and inform you of the bids and new construction going out.
  • PTA Centers- They provide a wealth of information and technical assistance. They are a local resource available at no or nominal cost that can provide assistance to business firms in marketing products and services to the Federal, state, and local governments.
  • Daily Journal of Commerce- The daily journal of commerce will list the local opportunities available for you to bid. The DJC provides news and public records for local business professionals in the industries of construction, architecture, engineering, commercial real estate, and law.

Other sites will require you a subscription sometimes for a small amount of money that will email you with the latest information depending on your requirements and parameters, such as:

  • Gov Directions - It is inexpensive and accurate.
  • ONVIA- This website tracks, analyzes, and reports the spending of more than 89,000 federal, state, and local government agencies, giving companies a single source for conducting open, intelligent, and efficient business with the government.
  • Finally, one last source is the input from friends, colleagues, and other professionals to get bids and solicitation announcements.