How to Bid

Read the Bid Package Carefully

When it comes to bid packages, the devil is in the details. Be sure to carefully read the bid in its entirety, making certain you understand exactly what you need to submit.

As you read the package, be honest with yourself about whether you are able to do the work in a way that is fair to the City and profitable for your business. If you aren’t confident in your ability to deliver, you should pass.

Bids often require insurance, references and bonding. If you cannot submit the required documentation for these elements before you bid, your application will likely be rejected. Be aware of these requirements before you prepare a proposal.

Know the Evaluation Criteria

While it’s tempting to assume that City contracts are simply awarded to the lowest bidder, price is just one of many factors the City considers when evaluating bids.

In certain cases, the City may assign more points to a bid’s technical approach than its price. In this case, showcasing a strong technical approach over a lower price would work in your favor.

Every bid is different. It’s important to know the rules of the competition before you submit a bid.

Stick to the Schedule

Each bid has a specific timeline, and you’ll want to follow it carefully. Dates listed in the timeline may include a release date, bid meeting date, and question and answer period.

The most important date is the deadline. Make sure to budget enough time to deliver the bid by this date; some bids, for example, require that you physically deliver the proposal to the agency. Factor any necessary printing, mailing or delivery times into your bidding process.

Utilize the Question and Answer Period

The Question and Answer period is an important part of the bidding process. Agencies use it to clarify issues related to timeline, bid requirements and the nature of the work.

The City expects and welcomes queries about the process, so use the Question and Answer period to your advantage. If a careful rereading of the bid package does not answer your questions, this period is the time to ask. Human error happens, and sometimes the City can miss a word or deadline. Be certain of the requirements in order to put your business in the best position to win the bid.

The Question and Answer period is usually a fixed window of time. Be sure to submit all questions before the deadline, and only submit to the contact listed on the bid package. Other agency representatives are usually not permitted to talk to potential vendors, and doing so could disqualify you.