Lesson 3: Finding Public Sector RFPs to grow your business
Because of transparency and non-collusion regulations, organizations in the public sector generally post opportunities online. Options for locating public sector opportunities online include:
• Web search
• Aggregator subscriptions
• Public agency websites
A Simple Web Search
One of the easiest ways to find RFPs is through a web search. Google, Bing, and Microsoft Edge take your keyword searches and find the most relevant information. The trick to using search engines to find relevant RFPs lies within your search specificity. Use clear search terms that are most relevant to your business.
The top Google results for “RFP City of Chicago 2020” was the Current Bid Opportunities page on the City of Chicago website, which lists all RFPs by department. By looking at the City’s website, I was quickly able to find the relevant RFPs without having to muddle through each branch’s page looking for a bid opportunity.
The case is the same searching “RFP Detroit.” The first three hits on the page are “Development RFQs & RFPs | City of Detroit,” “Posted RFQ/RFPs | City of Detroit” under the Detroit Building Authority, and “Open Bids for the City of Detroit.” However, this search does not take you to the RFPs themselves, but to web pages directing you to an aggregator: BidSync.
A web search can aid in narrowing down your focus and discovering the best avenue for finding RFPs. To respond to an RFP for the City of Chicago, you must use the City’s internal application process, whereas, with the City of Detroit, you would respond through BidSync.
Aggregators are programs or websites that use algorithms to segment and categorize bid opportunities worldwide automatically. These services are another way to find bid opportunities in the public sector. As we saw above, the City of Detroit uses an aggregator, BidSync, to post RFPs and receive proposals. By signing up for BidSync, you can receive automatic alerts about newly published RFPs from the City of Detroit and respond quickly and directly through the same service.
Another perk of using aggregators is that they streamline your search significantly, especially if you are looking for RFPs from clients in specific industries and for your products and services. Aggregators can save you time, versus slogging through dozens of irrelevant RFPs during a web search.
Websites like BidNet, Bidsync, My Gov Watch, and CODAWorx are all valuable tools for staying up to date with government needs in your area. The free versions of these websites can make for a slower process because they offer limited access. Aggregators paid subscriptions are available at different levels to meet your company’s budget and needs.
Free services are a great place to start, especially if you’re looking to gauge opportunities in your area. Paid subscriptions may be more useful in focusing on your particular market or region.
Public Agency Websites
Another option is to go directly to the prospective client’s website to find bid opportunities. For this example, we are going to use the City of Chicago as our public sector potential client. Typing the keyword “RFP” into the search bar on the City of Chicago’s website brings up several pages of bid opportunities. However, the site does not categorize the RFPs and does not indicate deadlines in the search results.
Be creative when thinking about who may need your company’s services. Public Sector organizations tend to be very segmented. Different departments and agencies need services of all kinds, whether or not the department itself delivers products or services specifically related to yours.
Can we help you?
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