Now is the time of year when many state and local agencies are bracing for winter. For vendors and contractors looking for opportunities to sell snow plows, roadway de-icers, tire chains, snowplowing services and other winter products and services to government agencies, it is useful to understand when these types of products are typically purchased by agencies so you can time your agency sales outreach and marketing campaigns appropriately. Using Onvia’s Project Center, we quantified when requests typically go out to bid for a number of winter-related products and services.  We looked at nearly 9,000 opportunities across the winter products and services market to build the procurement pattern charts outlined below – broken out by type of product or service.  

Snow Removal Service Opportunities

Searching in Onvia’s database for projects tagged with snow removal services uncovered some useful insights for contractors in this space. In 2013, 34% of all snow removal service contracts went up for bid between July and September, with 43% in October through December. If you own a business that offers snow removal services it is critical to understand that if you haven’t started building relationships with targeted agencies by July, you are likely already a step behind the competition. Here’s a look at the total breakdown of when snow removal service contracts went up for bid in 2013:

2013 Snow Removal Service Opportunities

Roadway De-icer Supply Opportunities

A key fixture in the winter management plans for most local governments is the use of roadway de-icer pellets and fluids. As with snow removal services, the publication dates of requests for roadway de-icers are concentrated in the summer to early fall. In 2013, 35% of all roadway de-icer requests went up for bid July-September and 30% in October-December. Here’s a look at the breakdown of requests for roadway de-icers in 2013:

2013 Roadway De-icer Supply Opportunities

Pothole Filling Opportunities

According to a Washington Post article written earlier this year by Ashley Halsey III, “a relentless winter this year [2013-2014 winter season] has produced a record pox of potholes across the Washington [D.C.] region.” Post-winter pothole repair is an issue most cold-weather cities have to deal with year after year in the late winter to early spring. As ice forms, it causes existing roadway cracks to expand; the end result is a pothole and that has to be repaired following the winter season. For roadway construction and maintenance companies, understanding when opportunities for these pothole filling contracts typically go out to bid can be a goldmine. Onvia’s data shows that in 2013, the April-June time period were the hottest months for pothole filling contract publishing, with 36% of all opportunities going out to bid at that time. Here’s a look at the breakdown of pothole filling opportunities in 2013:

2013 Pothole Filling Opportunities

Snow Plow Supply Opportunities

The data for projects tagged for the supply of snowplows (including full snow plow vehicles and snow plow attachments) also appears to have a heavy published bid concentration beginning in the early summer. The leading period for snow plow supply opportunities in 2013 was July through September, with 32% of all snowplow projects publishing during that time frame. Here is a look at the breakdown for snow plow opportunities publishing in 2013:

2013 Snow Plow Supply Opportunities

Tire Chain Supply Opportunities

Searching for projects tagged for the procurement of tire chains in 2013 showed a little bit of variation from other snow maintenance/snow supply type opportunities in that tire chains appear to be more heavily procured in the early winter rather than months before the cold season begins. In 2013, 39% of all tire chain opportunities were put out to bid during the October-December time period. Here is a look at the breakdown of tire chain opportunities in 2013:

2013 Tire Chain Supply Opportunities

Snow Fencing Supply and Installation Opportunities

Snow fencing is popular in regions that get a lot of wind during the winter season. This type of fencing allows for blown snow to accumulate in a predictable location. The 2013 distribution for snow fencing supply and installation opportunities is relatively even across the board with only a slight leading concentration of published projects in the October-December time period at 31%. Here’s a look at the distribution of snow fencing opportunities in 2013:

2013 Snow Fencing Opportunities

Snow Vehicle Supply Opportunities

The final area of snow service/supply opportunities that we examined were opportunities tagged for the supply of snow vehicles. These are defined as specialty snow service vehicles ranging from large snow cats to groomers and snowmobiles. The distribution for procurement opportunities for these types of vehicles is skewed to the second half of the year with 66% of all opportunities for 2013 going out for bid in July-December. Here’s a look at the publishing distribution of snow vehicle opportunities in 2013:

2013 Snow Vehicle Opportunities

Why Understanding Opportunity Publishing Dates is Important for Government Vendors and Contractors

The data provided in this article should prove useful for government vendors and contractors in the snow services and supply space. Those who understand when relevant opportunities are typically published can use that knowledge to plan for the right time to build relationships with targeted agencies, study budgets to prepare for heavy procurement periods, and influence project specifications for their particular product or service by launching sales and marketing efforts well before the agency normally puts those types of projects up for bid. Companies who provide winter season products and services to the government market can learn more about Onvia’s solutions for government market intelligence by requesting a demo on our website.  All of the data for this post was pulled directly from Onvia Project Center.