How Are You Finding Out About Bid Opportunities And Contracts?

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?


I an in Canada and use MERX which is the site for most public tenders and some private tenders. I also use BIDDINGO which has many local municipalities and private tenders listed.

Roman, MERX is a great one because it's really easy to use (and today I learned that the mounties are looking for a drone).

I've never used BIDDINGO. Can you tell a little bit about your expereinces with it? How user friendly is it? Have you bid on any projects using either?

As an integrator, I subscribed to FindRFP, and trolled FedBizOps on a daily basis. After a period of time, you get to learn the buying habits of certain agencies. Some agencies push big projects at certain times of year, while others string out work throughout the year. Some issue an RFP because they really need a cheap design, others only issue a buy after they have the design completed. Knowing these habits helps to plan work and weigh the 'winning viability' of opportunities.

For example, the US Social Security Administration released a series of buys over two years for what was essentially the same surveillance system for their regional offices. It was easy enough to follow potential buys just by keying on certain words in the description. Once you do the design work once, what better prospect than to potentially bid it several times?

On the 'new construction' side, we often hit up 'Dodge Reports' or 'iSQFt' filtered by CSI Division for surveillance work. It seemed like a lot of surveillance work was given in addenda or Division 28.