Many government vendors rely on FedBizOpps as a source for federal contracting leads; the tool is free, the data is in a consistent format and users can easily set up “search agents” to deliver bid opportunities to them automatically via email.
For vendors who also have a focus on the roughly $3.2 trillion state and local government market, the challenge is fragmentation. While vendors can typically sign up for municipality, school district or state agency contracting opportunities for free via agency websites, each agency site often has their own signup process, their own notification process and their own search engine for finding bidding opportunities. For vendors who work state-wide, regionally or on a national basis, dedicating resources to sign up for bids via agency websites becomes un-scalable; there are thousands of agencies per state and tens of thousands of agencies across the country
Onvia offers the solution to fragmentation for vendors who do business in the state and local market. Onvia clients can sign up once for the Onvia platform, customize their searches and have all matching state and local opportunities delivered to their inbox daily in a consistent and reliable format. Onvia’s solution has all of the basic features available in FedBizOpps, but with many more powerful tools and intelligence on government entities across the country including city government, state government, parks departments, K-12 and higher education, public healthcare institutions, law enforcement, correctional facilities, public utilities and special districts.
Aside from just aggregating state and local bids and RFPs into one single package, Onvia offers a host of additional features that save time for state and local government vendors including:
A Next Generation Search Experience
Instead of using complicated combinations of keywords and NAICS codes to customize a search, Onvia offers clients a unique and extremely powerful search layer that utilizes tags to ensure they never miss an opportunity. Keywords only work if a vendor knows the exact language the agency is using to describe their product or service. Onvia’s search engine leverages millions of records from tens of thousands of government agencies to identify the many ways that agencies describe products and services. Onvia clients can set up a simple search using one term, and the Onvia platform will automatically find the opportunities for all variations of that term as well as synonyms and agency misspellings.
Future Bidding Opportunities – Today
While FedBizOpps primarily focuses on current federal bidding opportunities, many state and local government vendors need more time to research and respond to bids than the typical 21-30 day response window. For future projects, FedBizOpps publishes presolicitation notices 1-2 weeks before the bid notice and occasionally publishes presolicitations notices for projects months in advance. With Onvia’s Term Contract Center and Spending Forecast Center, clients are notified of future bidding opportunities months or even years ahead of the project coming up for bid. How? Onvia collects and analyzes data from agency term contracts, budgets and capital improvement plans. For example, if a client specializes in reflective striping for roadways, Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center will alert the client when an agency in their region is budgeting for a new roadway or repair of an existing roadway. Since state and local agencies often budget for major projects years in advance, Onvia clients have the opportunity to reach out to agencies and introduce their product long before their competitors ever learn about the projects.
Powerful Analytics on Competitors, Agencies and Pricing
Unlike the private sector where competitive intelligence is incredibly hard to come by, government vendors can have access to a wealth of information if they are willing to do the research. Onvia provides three key types of analytics to greatly simplify this research and help vendors increase their government sales:
For competitive intelligence, FedBizOpps publishes award notices that list the awarded vendor name, award amount, vendor address and occasionally a vendor DUNS number of the awardee to help with duplicate entries. Vendors can see who is winning if they keep track of awards, but it is hard to pull quantifiable data from that type of analysis as they’d have to collect every award over time and move it into a spreadsheet or CRM. Simply put, FedBizOpps does provide vendor award data that can be used for competitive analytics, but it is difficult to act on. Onvia’s Vendor Center lets clients view comprehensive profiles on government vendors doing business in the federal, state and local market. With Vendor Center, clients can easily review company firmographics, top agency relationships, recent awards, active term contracts and planholder and bid result activity. Onvia clients can use vendor profiles to analyze competitors or partners to determine how to increase their share of the government market.
FedBizOpps offers basic agency profile pages, allowing vendors to view past procurement activity for a given federal agency. The challenge for state and local vendors is that there are over 30,000 distinct state, local and education agencies across the country and over 90,000 procuring entities once those agencies are broken down into distinct entities with purchasing authority. Vendors need a way to quickly search, identify and connect with top buyers in the state and local market and Onvia’s Agency Center provides that valuable insight. Onvia clients can search for top agencies purchasing a given product or service, then access deep profiles on those agencies including their procurement history, active term contracts and project previews for major projects budgeted over the next 1-5 years. The profiles also provide agency spending patterns to identify when an agency is most likely to buy, top vendors that the agency works with (so clients can identify top competitors and new potential partners) and comprehensive contact lists with name, role, address, phone and email address for agency decision makers and buyers for export into a CRM or marketing automation platform.
To gather pricing intelligence on FedBizOpps, vendors can search for awards, write down award amounts and try to estimate cost per unit or cost per hour for the project based on total award value, but it would be challenging to have confidence in that type of analysis to price an offering correctly. Onvia offers two key tools for pricing intelligence:
- The first is line item bid results available in Onvia’s Project Center which identify the vendors who submit bids on government projects and how much they bid for those projects.
- The second is Onvia’s Purchase Order Analytics which tracks the actual spending (and per unit pricing) that agencies spend on goods and services based on government purchase order activity.
With Purchase Order Analytics, Onvia clients can even access pricing activity on under-threshold purchases or those made under an active IDIQ contract – the projects that never come up for public bid due to being purchased under a term contract or because they are under the purchasing threshold required for the agency to open the bid up to the public. With pricing analytics, Onvia clients gain intelligence on how to best price their products and services in the government market so they can remain competitive while protecting their margins.
FedBizOpps is an incredible resource for federal contractors looking for basic information on government bidding opportunities, but it falls short in serving the more advanced needs of a vendor who is looking to strategically approach the state and local government market. With tens of thousands of state, local and education entities purchasing trillions of dollars of products and services annually from vendors, savvy vendors rely on Onvia’s tools to quickly discover, track, research and respond to bidding opportunities.