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Ask Ed | How do I Find Public Works Projects to Bid On?

One of the most common complaints we hear from small construction companies is: “I just don’t know where to find any public works projects to bid on.”  It is a valid concern but one that can be addressed.

This issue is one that the more experienced contractors solved long ago in that they tapped into networks of owners and/or primes which kept them in the loop. However, with the advent of the internet, finding projects has become much simpler because every public agency now has a website.

On that website there will be a tab that says “Public Works” or something similar. Drilling down on that tab will eventually reveal if that agency has any upcoming projects for bid.  Following that process is much better than finding out about a project at the last minute, thereby making your bidding process more difficult.

Whether you are a general contractor bidding as prime, or a subcontractor bidding to multiple primes, the process is less stressful if you establish a bid calendar. If set up properly and updated weekly, it organizes your estimating department with efficiency and enables you to meet bid deadlines.

Additionally, you can also find projects that are out to bid from industry newsletter services or from Builders Exchanges. Such services are not free, but in most cases the cost is well worthwhile.  If you are a small subcontractor construction company, you should not depend on getting email invitations from primes who might be doing their outreach in hopes of meeting SBE/DBE/WBE goals that are required in the Notice to Contractors.

Those emails often come at the last minute and may or may not identify a project that is suitable for your company’s capabilities. That is why establishing your own bid calendar that lists projects you have reviewed is a great way to bid on public works.

For a sample bid calendar, contact Norcal PTAC Construction & Public Works Specialist, Ed Duarte at


Written by: Ed Duarte

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