Within the United States, both the individual states and the federal government are engaged in thousands of construction projects each year. State and federal laws require that most government construction contracts be announced to the public to allow companies to bid on the contract. Bidding on government construction contracts can be a lengthy process that starts with locating an upcoming project. The actual bidding process often requires a visit to the site before a bid may be submitted. The steps that follow submission of the bid will differ depending on the type of bid, whether the contract is federal or state, and what agency is soliciting the bids.
For federal government construction contracts in the United States, a prospective bidder may look to the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website for upcoming projects. The website allows bidders to search by state, type of job, or type of business for all projects currently accepting bids or that are planning to accept bids in the near future. In order to fully utilize the website, a vendor must register first. Registration is simple, but does require the vendor to have a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number, which may be obtained through the Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) website.
Once an opportunity has been located, a potential vendor must read the instructions carefully for the project. In many cases, government construction contracts require all potential bidders to visit the site or to attend an information meeting prior to submitting a bid. Failure to attend the meeting or tour the site may prevent submission of a bid. Aside from any required visits, additional information regarding how to submit the bid, what information must be included, and the deadline for submitting bids can be found on the FBO website.
For state or municipal government construction contracts, the process is much the same; however, locating the jobs is somewhat more complicated. Each state has an agency that is responsible for advertising and accepting bids. The Small Business Administration (SBA) website provides a link to each state's certifying agency where information on upcoming projects may be located. In most states, the agency is the Office of Procurement or Purchasing. Smaller cities, counties, or municipalities may also offer government construction contracts that vendors may bid on.
Once a bid has been submitted at either the federal, state, or municipal level, it will be reviewed for completeness and to determine if it meets the basic qualifications. In some cases, certain vendors will be given preference based on minority, disabled, or veteran standing. In most cases, the winning bid will be the lowest; however, a higher bid may be selected if the vendor is in one of the previously mentioned special classes.