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There are thousands of infrastructure-related projects put up for bid by governments across North America every month.

While it is true that larger contractors tend to win bids for many high-value government contracts, it is worth noting that many states, cities, counties and other municipalities are aggressively updating their policies or introducing new programs to encourage supplier diversity and promote inclusive procurements across all categories, including large infrastructure projects.

In the end, agencies are going to award infrastructure-related contracts to the bidder based on three primary factors: cost savings, schedule and simplicity.

If you are capable of delivering a quality product on time, on budget and without issue, then it is very possible to be a contender no matter the size of your company. There are a few steps prime contractors and subcontractors should be taking now to set themselves up for success.

  1. Embrace technology to ensure you get notified of every relevant government bid. There have been many occasions when businesses missed out on winnable government bid opportunities simply because they were searching a limited number of sites or relying on a limited number of keywords to identify current postings. Given the breadth and depth of government contracting’s “infrastructure” and “construction” categories, it is important to utilize technology tools that can fill your business development pipeline with more qualified opportunities in a timely fashion so that you aren’t wasting time searching for leads or scrambling to prepare bids at the last minute. The new BidSync app uses AI and machine learning technology to learn from your behavior. The search engine keeps track of what you open, what you bid on, what you don’t …and more. The result? You get the most relevant bids for your business and discover new *winnable* bid opportunities for infrastructure projects and beyond that simple keyword matching would miss.
  2. Talk to project influencers. A committee of stakeholders ranging from procurement officials and politicians to subject matter experts and customers will likely convene months in advance of a solicitation to define their scope of work, set budgets and timelines, and start to source information from contractors to ensure their expectations are feasible. These long planning periods present two opportunities. First, you have the opportunity to get in front of decision-makers. You will be able to participate in open briefings, public information sessions, industry days and advertised RFIs. Educate them about your skills, resources and expertise. Let them know if you have “green” solutions that they may in short supply elsewhere for environmentally preferred product (EPP) solicitations. Make them aware of your specialized capabilities or products, or your low prices. In addition, you have the opportunity to evaluate whether the solicitation is a good fit for your business. Before you bid on any project, you need to ensure that you have access to the people, funds and materials needed to see it through to completion.
  3. Talk to public sector procurement professionals and third-party organizations. It is just as critical to understand agencies’ bigger-picture small business and disadvantaged business contracting goals as it is to understand their award criteria for any one potential project. It is not always clear in a solicitation how preference points will be assigned to local, SMB or MWDVBE bidders. Make sure you talk to each agency individually to understand their procurement practices and policies. And don’t be afraid to ask the contracting officer questions about the award process, proposal evaluation factors or requirements that may be unclear in the RFP. Also, tap into national, regional and local organizations such as the Small Business Association or Procurement Technical Assistance Centers for assistance obtaining certifications; securing the necessary insurance, bonds or credit lines; or increasing the marketability of your business.
  4. Talk to potential collaborators. Teamwork makes the government contracting dream work for many companies, especially when it comes to multi-million-dollar and multi-billion-dollar construction and infrastructure project bids. Teaming agreements also serve to benefit those who band together to win more government contracts. In some cases, competitors may even choose to team up to supplement a single capability that would ensure their piece of the pie on a multi-faceted government project. That is why teaming agreements may be one of the easiest ways to create a more collaborative and, more importantly, inclusive contracting environment. If you are a prime contractor, think about how you can diversify your subcontractor pool. Utilizing local businesses, small businesses or MWDVBEs may give you a more favorable position on bids while giving typically disadvantaged businesses a fair and equal chance to access new revenue streams from local infrastructure projects. If you are interested in becoming a subcontractor, be proactive in contacting primes to ensure they’re aware of your skills, resources and expertise—just as you did when networking with buyers and project leaders.

The takeaway: Infrastructure project contracts are not exclusively awarded to enterprise-sized contractors, and it is very possible to make such large-scale initiatives more inclusive. There already are several opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses to secure a piece of the more than $250 billion that state and local governments spend each year on the construction of roads, schools and other public infrastructure, whether as prime or subprime contractors.

Learn How to Get Government Construction Bids

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