There are hundreds of RFPs released and government contracts issued every year, which can be great for a company looking to take advantage of some government money -- but the reality is that only a small fraction of those relate to security and surveillance. When you hear about it on the news, it's because someone already has the contract.
Here are some ways (other than word of mouth) to find opportunities:
There are a number of subscription sites that aggregate from various databases. Many have free trials.
- FindRFP.com is a good site for getting to know what kind of documents are out there. For example, a search for the word “surveillance” produces more than 400 entries since September 2012. But the search results are about as far as you can get without paying. A regional plan is $19.99 monthly. A national plan is $29.95.
- RFPBids.com is similar to FindRPF.com. It's $19.95 a month for unlimited searches and will include daily notifications related to your interests.
- There are services that focus on niche areas like this security page from BidNet or RFPSchoolWatch.
- The UK’s Contracts Finder is straightforward and easy to search. And free to sign up.
OR you can go directly to the sites these aggregators are pulling from and use Google Reader/Alerts to monitor them for postings.
- FedBizOpps is a repository for federal RFPs, contracts, and contract awards. In cases where the full contract isn’t online, information for a point of contact at the agency is usually provided at the bottom of the listing.
TIP: FedBizOpps is free. Use FINDRFP to search for what docs are there. Then, search the name of the document on FBO to find it.
- Grants.gov is an online database of grant opportunities. You can search for the details past grants or apply for existing ones.
- Local government agencies often have dedicated space where they announce both RFPs and contracts. In your local area, look for sites like this one from Milwaukee Public Schools or this from the Minnesota Department of Human Services or Iowa’s Homeland Security RFP page. After you find the page, subscribe to it with Google Reader or set a Google Alert to send you a notification when new content is posted.
- It's also useful to call local agencies to find out if they have a listserv for RFPs and award announcements that you can be added to.
Want to know more information about projects you've found?
When the U.S. government audits projects it's funded, you can search the results of those audits at the Federal Audit Clearinghouse.
The Federal Procurement Data System is a database of transaction-by-transaction records of federal awards for every state.
And there’s also the System for Award Management (SAM) which combines several different databases into one, including the Excluded Parties List System, a list of agencies barred from receiving federal contracts.
What are some of your resources for getting information on contracts or RFPs you're interested in? Do you use any of these services?