Bidding on projects in the public sector can be a lucrative opportunity for contractors, but it also comes with its own set of challenges and requirements. If you’re new to bidding public work, you may be surprised at some things you face that differ from the private sector.

How is bidding public work different from the private sector?

In a nutshell, bidding for public work projects differs from the private sector in terms of transparency, regulations, and requirements.


Public work bidding processes are typically more transparent and open to the public, with strict guidelines on how contracts are awarded. This transparency is meant to ensure fairness and prevent favoritism or corruption.


Keep in mind that there will be many compliance regulations. You may also be surprised that you can’t really negotiate the terms.

Public work projects are subject to compliance with government laws, labor standards, and environmental regulations. Contractors must adhere to these regulations throughout the bidding process and project execution.


Public work contracts often come with specific requirements, such as the need for surety bonds, adherence to prevailing wage laws, and participation in disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) programs. Contractors must meet these requirements to be eligible for consideration.

3 Expert Tips to Help Your Public Bid Go Smoothly

1. Don’t delay getting started.

It may take longer than expected for you to complete your qualification application and for the contracting agency to review it. You may also face more bumps in the qualification process than in the private sector. 

By starting early, you’ll have more time to gather the necessary information, carefully read through the bid requirements and directions, assess the project’s feasibility, and develop a competitive bid. Time is of the essence when it comes to bidding for public work projects. The sooner you start, the better.

2. Get help from an expert.

We recommend getting help from an expert to understand the contract the first time. You may be unfamiliar with the language and how it’s organized.

An experienced consultant or advisor can help you navigate the compliance regulations and legal requirements associated with government contracts. They can also provide valuable insights into the bidding process, help you understand the documentation, and ensure that your bid meets all the necessary criteria.

Working with an expert can also help you avoid common pitfalls and mistakes that inexperienced contractors often encounter when bidding for public work. Their expertise and guidance can significantly increase your chances of submitting a successful bid and securing the contract.

3. Get the surety bonds you need.

Before submitting your bid, ensure you have the appropriate surety bonds to fulfill the project requirements. You’ll need surety bonds to protect the service recipient financially and to ensure the job is done as promised. Several contractor bonds may be required, including the following:

  • Bid bond: A bid bond ensures you can complete the job and will accept it if you are chosen as the lowest bidder.
  • Performance bond: A performance bond ensures you complete the job on time and under budget.
  • Payment bond: A payment bond ensures you pay whoever provides labor, supplies, or equipment.

Failure to obtain the necessary surety bonds can result in disqualification from the bidding process or even legal repercussions. So working with a reputable surety bond provider to secure the bonds you need before submitting your bid is essential. The surety will review your financial health and capabilities to determine your bonding capacity.

Partner with a Reputable Surety Bond Agency

You can easily apply for a bid, performance, or payment bond online at You can also email us or call (888) 435-4191 to work with an agent. We make getting bonds for public and private work as simple and fast as possible. We’re also a Preferred Partner with the Small Business Administration, so let us know if you want to apply for SBA assistance!

Get Your Bond