We are always looking for partners to tackle both short- and long-term projects and purchases. Starting a business relationship with the City does not need to be a daunting process.
Contracting with the City
There are many ways to work with the City. Learn more about how the bidding process works. We are always looking for the best partners, regardless of whether we have worked together in the past.
SEARCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES
Boston City Record is updated weekly whereas the Supplier Portal shows live bid opportunities.
The City often finds vendors through these certifications and contracts.
SIGN UP FOR NOTIFICATIONS
If you are new to the Supplier Portal, learn how to sign up as a sourcing bidder, select categories of interest, and get notifications based on your business interests. The bid events on the Supplier Portal do not appear in the non-electronic bids.
REACH OUT TO DEPARTMENTS
If you have a good or service that the City might be interested in, we want to hear from you. Contact departments at the City to pitch your business.
Using one application, a company may apply for multiple business certifications. There are opportunities to cross-certify with the state, too. The City’s directory of certified businesses is used by departments for outreach. All certified businesses receive copies of the City Record and notices of relevant events and workshops.
BIDS AND PROPOSALS
An Invitation for Bid (IFB) or Request for Proposal (RFP) outline our goals for the project or purchase, requirements, and estimated length of the evaluation period. In your response, tell us how you would meet the requirements and the associated costs. Once a final decision is made, all vendors will be notified.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SUBMITTING A BID
After a public bid opening, there is a quick award decision process. We select the responsive and responsible bidder with the lowest price. The waiting period varies and will be estimated in the bid.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL
The proposal evaluation process looks first at the technical merits of the proposal, and price is only revealed once that technical evaluation is complete. A committee will evaluate the proposal and in some cases, a demo/interview will be required.
MUST READ INFORMATION FOR RESPONDENTSMUST READ INFORMATION
BID AND RFP DIRECTIONS
Always follow the directions as outlined on the invitation for bid (IFB) or request for proposal (RFP). Some require a paper submission and some have other special requirements. For example, every IFB or RFP outlines both the specific City forms that are required for the work and the Massachusetts law that applies to the work and needs to be followed.
You will need a federal or personal tax ID number or social security number. We often ask for references. Sometimes there are requirements for deposits, bonds, insurance, and/or certifications. For example, most building construction projects require DCAMM Certification. If applicable, we may ask to inspect equipment or have a sample product sent.
HELP AND RESOURCES
Each invitation for bid or request for proposal will have a contact person assigned to answer questions. Some will have a conference call, walk-through, site visit, or Q&A period. If you need help submitting your bid or proposal on the Supplier Portal, read our how-to page.
Be informed about Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance
Service contracts valued at or above $25,000 with companies that employ at least 25 full-time employees are subject to the Boston Jobs and Living Wage Ordinance.
LOGISTICS FOR WORKING WITH THE CITY
If you are awarded a contract, there are several steps you need to take to ensure you are set up as a vendor with the City.
NEXT STEPS FOR CHOSEN PARTNERS
- Sign the City’s legal terms and conditions
- Furnish bonds and insurance (if applicable)
- Get a purchase order from your department
- Refine the scope of work (Request for Proposal only)
WHEN TO START WORK
You cannot start work until a contract has been executed and your company has received a purchase order from the City.
HOW TO RECEIVE PAYMENT
The City cannot pay for anything up front, only once the goods and services are delivered. You may have a payment schedule in your statement of work (SOW) if applicable. When you have a purchase order, the City has acknowledged receipt of the goods or services, and you have submitted an invoice, then payment will be issued. The City generally issues vendor payments on Fridays.
HOW TO SUBMIT AN INVOICE
Submit invoices to firstname.lastname@example.org. Confirm each item on the invoice matches up to each item on the purchase order (PO). Always put the correct PO number.
The City of Boston is continuously looking for ways to increase transparency for those who interact with us. Learn more about how City dollars are being spent through our Open Checkbook web application, which provides up-to-date financial information.
FAIR AND EQUITABLE OPPORTUNITIES
There is a City of Boston Executive Order to ensure that minority and women entrepreneurs are afforded fair and equitable opportunities when competing for City contracts. This Order sets spending goals for minority and women owned businesses competing for contracts in:
- architecture, and
- engineering and professional services.
There was also an Executive Order that created the Veteran-Owned Small Business Development Initiative. This initiative is aimed at increasing participation of veteran-owned small businesses in City contracting opportunities.