One of America’s famed music capitals, home of Soul, the Blues and Rock n’ Roll, Memphis is the youngest of Tennessee’s major cities. But with a population of over 650,000, it’s actually the largest city in the state and the third-largest in the Southeastern U.S. Memphis’ unique energy isn’t only found in the city’s music venues, however: vendors that are looking to find work with the City of Memphis can also find many contract opportunities, suited to businesses both large and small.
Doing Business with the City of Memphis
Vendors who would like to do business with the city of Memphis must first complete the Online Suppliers Registration Form and include a W-9 tax form. Once a vendor is registered, they will receive access to the Memphis eProcurement System. Vendors who do not register for the online portal are not eligible to bid on city contracts.
The Purchasing Service Center is responsible for procuring goods and services and issuing awards. Vendors on the City of Memphis bidders list will receive notice of open bids for any contracts worth $5,000 to $50,000 either by phone or mail. For contracts worth more than $50,000, only written bids are accepted and the opportunity will be advertised in the Daily News. If the contract is for a construction project, a $25 fee will be required to receive the plans and specifications related to the contract. Awards for contracts that are worth up to $5,000 will be based on “discretion of division”.[i]
Any bids worth more than $50,000 (or $10,000 for construction projects) must be advertised for 2 days in local newspapers the Daily News and The Commercial Appeal the week preceding the due date. Contract advertisements may also be posted in engineering, public works or financial journals, or any other similar periodicals; they may also be posted to the City website.
How Memphis Procures Goods and Services
The Purchasing Division can award contracts by issuing a small purchase order; anything up to $5,000 can be negotiated directly with a vendor but the vendor must supply the full amount of goods and services and cannot split, or subcontract, the contract. Most bids are awarded on a competitive basis for products and services exceeding $5,000. Contracts worth more than $50,000 require a written, sealed bid. All construction projects are procured by a competitive bid process.
Professional Service Contracts
Vendors interested in professional services contracts are not required to go through a competitive bid process. Contracts for these services are awarded based on an evaluation of competence and integrity. However, vendors may be required to be interviewed by the division in order to determine their capabilities.
The City gives preference to local businesses within Memphis city limits for any contract valued at $10,000 or more. Eligibility for local preference is determined as follows:
- Vendor must have a Memphis/Shelby County domestic business license;
- The license must have been issued at least one year prior to the bid;
- The license must authorize the business to provide the products, services or construction services to be purchased;
- The business must be located in a location zoned for the conduct of such a business;
- The majority of the operation and performance of the business on a day to day basis must take place at the location;
- 100% of the necessary functions to maintain or fulfill the contract must occur within the city limits.
In the case that the lowest bid received for a contract is not from a local business, all bids received from local businesses will be decreased by five percent in order to improve the chance that a local business will win the contract. If a local business then becomes the winner, they are awarded a contract for the original amount they had submitted, disregarding the five percent decrease.
For contracts that exceed $2 million, if no local-preference businesses qualify for the contract, businesses with a strong local presence will be considered. This means that any business that employs a large number of employees within Shelby County. These business must be able to prove, at the time of the bid, that at least twenty-five of their employees are located within the county.
Requirements of Award
The Purchasing Division can require that bids be accompanied with a surety bond, bid bond, performance bond or payment bond in order to guarantee that the vendor will comply with and fulfill the contract terms.
(Source: The City of Memphis. Purchasing Policies and Procedures. May 2016. Web. 9 Nov. 2016)
Bidding on Memphis Contracts Offers Great Opportunities
Bidding on city contracts provides great opportunities for businesses large and small to work with the government, especially for those that are new to working with the public sector. The City of Memphis can offer an ideal first step into government bidding since local businesses have a better chance of winning a contract. This policy not only contributes to business growth but supports the city’s economy– a win-win for private sector businesses and the public as well.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com
[i] N.p. The City of Memphis. Doing Business with the City. 2016. Web. 9 Nov. 2016