How do vendors learn about contracting opportunities?
For small-scale contracts, the Purchasing Department will typically contact vendors directly for the purpose of obtaining quotes. For larger contracts, RFP or bid announcements are usually posted in local print publications, relevant trade publications, and on the agency's website. Many Purchasing Departments offer online registration that sends email alerts to vendors when RFPs or bid announcements are issued.
Do Purchasing Departments always select the vendor with the lowest priced bid or proposal?
For commodities and other items that are procured using a formal bid process, the lowest priced proposal generally must be awarded the contract. However, a bid must comply with all specifications in the bid documents as well as all insurance and other requirements. Vendors with performance issues on prior contracts may also be disqualified. For RFPs and RFQs, pricing is only one consideration among many in awarding a contract.
May vendors and contractors from other jurisdictions do business with the Purchasing Department?
Purchasing Departments generally accept proposals from outside their jurisdiction's boundaries. In some counties and local governments, the Charter may allow for some preference to local businesses.