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BETTER BIDS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

What’s the best way to fine-tune your bidding skills? Just get out there and bid. It takes practice to develop the right process for your operation. Fortunately, there are plenty of online tools — both free and paid subscription sites — available to help you target your efforts and win more work. Here’s a quick look at five of them, three for commercial projects and two for government jobs.

BidClerk.com
A paid subscription to BidClerk.com gives you access to an online database of planned commercial construction activity, both public and private. It includes project details and contact information, as well as bidders lists, plans and specifications, project maps and site photos when available. The site adds about 400,000 new projects — from large commercial to industrial, institutional and multi-residential buildings — in the U.S. and Canada each year. Search functions allow you to apply multiple filters, save searches and set up email alerts to receive information about new projects.

ConstructionBidSource.com
Created all the way back in 1992 to provide contractors and suppliers with data on construction projects out to bid in California and other western states, ConstructionBidSource.com has grown and evolved over the years — today delivering up-to-date information for projects across the U.S. It’s free to search for projects by keyword or by state and county, or you can pay to access contact information and documents. You can also use the site to place Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) solicitations or request help with Good Faith Efforts required by local, city, state and federally funded projects.

ConstructionWire.com
You’ll find more than 420,000 mostly commercial construction projects — all with a total value of $500,000 or more — on ConstructionWire.com, including data on private initiatives that can be difficult to access. Several pricing options are available, including a regional portal that provides data for three states and a national portal that encompasses all 50 states. Once you choose your plan, you can access three types of reports: Project Reports offer leads on new projects in the planning, bidding and pre-construction stages. Company Reports include profiles of the organizations (owners, developers, tenants, architects, contractors and others) driving new projects. People Reports let you access detailed information about key decision makers.

FedBizOpps.gov
This free site lets you access more than 28,000 active projects posted by 134 different federal agencies. You can view the complete opportunities list, but since not every job here is for construction, it’s better to conduct an advanced search. There, you can filter your search by type of contract, along with posted date, location, posting agency, keyword, project code and more. You can also access a calendar of outreach and training events designed to help small businesses learn about and transact business with the federal government.

GovernmentBids.com
GovernmentBids.com tracks bids, RFPs, RFQs and other opportunities from thousands of federal, state, local and other purchasing entities on a daily basis. You can browse bids by region, by category (such as architectural and engineering, construction or facilities and equipment services) or by an alphabetical list of products and services regularly purchased by government agencies. To view the posting agency, project description and bid documents, however, a yearly subscription is required. All subscription packages include a daily bid notification — an email with all the bids that match your business.

Browsing these websites shouldn’t take you more than an hour — time well spent if one (or more) of them helps you improve your bid-hit ratio and your profitability.