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8 Sources for Commercial Real Estate RFPs

The RFP is a business tool that companies use to formally request bids from other businesses, typically service-oriented businesses, but it can also be used in the procurement of goods and supplies. In commercial real estate, a request for proposal can be used for any number of purposes.


What does RFP stand for? RFP stands for request for proposal, a business-to-business prospecting tactic. 


What does RFP mean in real estate? It means one real-estate related business has a need for another type of business. One of the most common uses of RFPs in commercial real estate is when a large company is looking for space to lease. They will issue an RFP to property managers, collect bids, and negotiate the best prices and operating expenses.  


Other CRE uses include: 

  • Developers looking for construction companies, builders, and contractors

  • Contractors and construction companies looking for subcontractors

  • Government agencies looking for builders, architectural, engineering, and development firms

  • Property managers looking for CRE maintenance contractors (HVAC, landscaping, and groundskeeping, for example)

  • Large CRE brokers soliciting proptech bids or website development


There are many more examples that we could list, but in short: CRE companies and government entities use RFPs to solicit bids for services, materials and supplies.


Why Do Companies Issue RFPs?

Government agencies and companies in the public sector (utility companies, for example) are held to different standards than private companies. They are required to use RFPs to ensure fair competition and to comply with open records and other regulations. Public organizations that are funded by tax dollars (public universities, veterans' organizations, city governments, etc.) must be transparent with their finances. 

 

Private companies use RFPs for complicated and large-scale operations, as well as for procuring ongoing services. The reason they use RFPs is not only to try to get the best prices but also to get a feel for the quality of service the bidding companies might offer. These organizations might use the RFP process to encourage competition among vendors.


What Is Included In An RFP?

Requests for proposal typically include these five sections:

  • Project overview: This is typically a brief company or organization background and description of the project.

  • Project goals: This is the reason the project exists, including what it hopes to achieve.

  • Project scope: A project scope describes what they are asking for in terms of what bidding companies will be expected to do within a certain time and budget. They might also include potential challenges, which applicants may be asked to address.

  • Requirements: Here, the company lists its evaluation criteria, such as experience, education, skill sets, location, and other factors that will weigh on their selection process.

  • Submission guidelines: This includes the timeframe that bidding is open, as well as the format and submission process (i.e., online submissions vs registered mail).


Anyone can request to see RFP responses from any government or public agency, including school districts, public utilities, and federal, state and local governments. If you are new to the government RFP process, this is the best way to learn what a winning RFP response looks like. Get in touch with the government office, ask to see previous RFPs and their responses, including winning and non-winning bids. Because governments are bound by public records laws and are accountable to taxpayers, their RFPs are public record in most cases. One exception is during the RFP process. Responses to open RFPs are closed (to prevent later bidders from gaining an unfair advantage over early bidders), until the selection process is closed and a vendor has been selected. 


Where to Find RFPs in Real Estate

Other than searching "construction rfp," and sifting through Google's 27.6 million results, where do you go to find RFPs in the commercial building industry? Here are a few sites that you might find useful*:


Find government RFPs

Finding government RFPs is much easier than finding private-sector requests because government entities are required to follow stricter public disclosure rules. Therefore, there are many websites that aggregate government RFPs, including these: 

  • BidPrime: BidPrime is a B2G platform that serves up government RFPs across the U.S. and Canada. They offer a 30-day free trial to their subscription-based model.  

  • FindRFP: This is a private site that helps you find RFPs for government projects, starting at $19.95 a month for up to four states and $29.95 a month for national plans.

  • GovSpend: GovSpend is another B2G website that connects government agencies looking for bids from the public. It uses a combination of data harvesting, outreach and direct-to-platform techniques to build its database. GovSpend charges an annual subscription rate, which you can get by scheduling a demo.

  • MyGovWatch: Formerly RFPDB, this site collects RFP information for government agencies. It offers free and fee-based subscriptions, but beware: To get the free version, you have to sign up for a 14-day free version of a paid version.


Find private-sector RFPs

Finding private-sector RFPs is a little trickier because non-governmental organizations aren't bound by public records disclosure laws. You can reach out to companies directly, or try these tools:

  • Biscred: This prospecting tool is an excellent alternative to RFP aggregators. It is specifically built for CRE-adjacent businesses to connect with one another. Use the robust search filters to find companies and reach out to them directly about upcoming projects. 

  • Bid Banana: This search engine purports to contain more than 35,000 bid requests from more than 4,000 companies in all 50 states. It even includes opportunities for small businesses. Subscriptions start at $49.99 per month.

  • Construct Connect: This fee-based RFP service connects project owners with subcontractors. A starter subscription is $129 per month and includes one user license and access to information in one market.

  • LinkedIn: Log into your account, search for "rfp + [industry]", toggle the first drop-down menu to select Posts, toggle the second drop-down to Latest, and then review the results. We wouldn't rely solely on LinkedIn, but it's another tool to add to your RFP-finding tool chest.


*Inclusion in these lists doesn't equate to a recommendation or endorsement, aside from our own tool, Biscred. Always read the fine print and user reviews before agreeing to the terms of any online business or lead-generation tool. 


Alternative to RFPs

For companies that issue RFPs: If you're a CRE-related company looking to create and distribute an RFP, you might be interested in seeing Biscred's commercial building prospecting tool. It helps you connect with service providers and vendors who match your projects' parameters (location, size, and asset type, for example), and you can send your RFP invitations directly to the right people at these organizations.


For companies looking for RFPs: If you are a construction company, architecture firm, maintenance company or other type of commercial real estate adjacent company, and you are looking to grow your business by finding RFPs, why not skip the red tape and connect directly with those businesses? Learn more about how B2B companies have used Biscred to grow their businesses.


 

Source List

The Bid Lab, Public RFPs vs. Private RFPs: What's the Difference? 2018 July 6, accessed 2024 April 29.

HubSpot, RFP: How to Write a Strong Request for Proposal [Example & Template], 2023 December 6, accessed 2024 April 29.

InsideTrack, What is an RFP (Request for Proposal)? 2023 September 8, accessed 2024 April 29.

Investopedia, RFP: What a Request for Proposal Is, Requirements, and a Sample, 2024 January 27, accessed 2024 April 29.

Photo 195944953 | Zolak Zolak | Dreamstime.com

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