The stereotype about the government purchasing process is that it's long and painstaking. But when it comes to the actual window of time vendors have to bid on a request for proposals, it's a different story.

The average amount of time an RFP is "on the street," or open to bids, is only 21 days according to the Center for Digital Government*.

In aggregate, that number hasn't moved much in recent years. However, by breaking down the differences between state, county and city RFPs, the center found some variation. RFPs tend to be on the street for longer the higher up the chain they go — that is, state RFPs are open for longer than county RFPs, and county RFPs are open longer than city RFPs.

Here are the numbers.

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Editor's note: The Center for Digital Government is part of e.Republic, Government Technology's parent company.