RFPs are the first request for companies like yours to bid on potentially lucrative contracts. If you've ever wondered where to find RFPs, this is the article for you.

The request for proposal (RFP) is one of the first stages of procurement in business. It is a formal invitation to buyers to begin the bidding process through proposal submission for a clearly defined product or service. If you want to find lucrative contracts your chances increase greatly when you get in on the ground floor. Knowing where to find RFPs for your business will help your firm to be one of the first to put in bids.

General RFP Websites

People use it for finding apartments, cars and partners. The internet is also one of your best resources for finding RFPs for your business. Poking around websites specifically designed for RFPs is the easiest place to begin your search. Some popular RFP websites include:

  • FindRFP.com allows you to search nationally and locally for RFPs. The site is available for a fee, however your first month of use is on the house.
  • FedOpps.com is another service that allows you to search for RFPs. The focus on FedOpps is for contracts from the federal government.
  • RFPDB.com includes RFPs from every part of the economy -- public and private. While registration is required to use the website, it is entirely free.
  • Onvia.com is another fee-based RFP-finding service that has one of the best reputations in the industry. Areas covered by Onvia include government contracts, commerce from the private sector and residential construction.

Professional Organization Websites

A number of professional organizations provide websites with RFPs listed. These may be the better option than more generalist RFP websites. This is because the websites are targeted directly to your industry, which will save you a great deal of time picking through irrelevant RFPs. Think of trade or industry organizations that are relevant to your business. Now see if their websites offer a place for you to peruse RFPs.

Local and State Government Websites

While some local and state governments list their RFPs on national websites, many do not. Another place to look for RFPs for your business is on the websites of these state and local governments and affiliated agencies. This is perhaps the most difficult option for a national or international business. For the local business owner, however, it can be the way to find RFPs in nooks and crannies that your competition is missing. Search around government websites for terms like “RFP,” “RFQ,” “procurement opportunities” and “bid listings.” Don’t forget to check agencies affiliated with state and local government, such as the local department of parks and recreation.

Search Engine Alerts

You can set up alerts with high-profile search engines like Google and Yahoo! to send you alerts when new pages are indexed. The problem with this method is that there is often a time delay between when a website goes up and when a search engine indexes it. Still, if you are trying to cast the broadest net possible, you should not leave out getting alerts from all major search engines.

Getting RFPs

Getting a look at an RFP first can mean the different between a thriving business and one that just barely survives. Make looking for RFPs for your business a regular part of your time budget. This will ensure that nailing down new clients and lucrative contracts through RFPs is a priority.