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It's Not Always Lonely at the Top: Why New York City is the Place to Bid on Government Contracts


It's Not Always Lonely at the Top: Why New York City is the Place to Bid on Government Contracts

New York City is the largest city in the U.S. With 8.5 million people residing inside the city’s limits, NYC accounts for 40% of the population of the entire state of New York! New York City is considered to be the financial capital of the world; it beat out London, England to be ranked number one on the Global Economic Power index. NYC is also home to the largest public school system, largest health and hospital corporation, largest police force, and the largest municipal fire department (the FDNY is the 2nd largest fire dept. in the world); it also has the largest rapid transit (subway system, as measured by active operating stations and route length) and commuter rail system in the country. New York is also considered the most energy-efficient major city in the U.S. due to its robust public transit, and the fact that most residents of the city don’t own a vehicle. As well, the city is the leader in “Green” office building construction. Judging by these accolades, it can be assumed that New York is used to being on top - and when you’re on top you tend to have more needs and require extra resources to fulfill those needs. It’s no wonder that New York City is one of the top three locations for the highest number of government contracts in the United States.

City Spending

According to the IBO (Independent Budget Office), in 2013, New York City’s operating budget was $69 billion, larger than that of all but a handful of states. In 2014 the city’s budget was $70 billion; in 2015 it was $75 billion and for 2016 a budget of $78.5 billion was approved.

What was the money used for?

  • 6% went to health, sanitation and environmental protection
  • 2% to transportation and housing
  • 10% to police, fire and corrections
  • 19% to social services
  • 29% to education

(Source: IBO NYC. Understanding New York City’s Budget: A Guide. Ibo.nyc.ny.us. June 2013)

Becoming a Government Contractor for New York City

NYC buys goods and services to the tune of $13 to $18 billion annually. $16 billion is usually spent on contracts with nonprofits; in fact, nonprofit organizations receive 93% of the city’s human service contracts. NYC has 120 agencies, more than 1,800 public schools and more than 120 colleges and universities, all of which require some type of government contract to keep things running smoothly. New York City uses the NIGP (National Institute of Government Purchasing) commodity codes to help city officials solicit for specific goods and services and to determine who is eligible to bid on these services. There are over 98,000 codes and sub-codes in the NIGP system. Bids that are estimated to be under $5,000 do not require any formal competition or formal advertising; bids under $10,000 are required to have a formal competition but do not require formal advertising; bids over $100,000 are publically advertised and require formal competitive sealed bids and/or proposals.[i] All contracts that are projected to cost over $100,000 must be listed in The City Record online; vendors can search the City Record to find bids they’re interested in. If vendors are looking to find bids for Human Client services they can find them through the Health and Human Services Accelerator.

Those looking to bid on NYC government contracts must first register with the Payee Information Portal; this is the enrollment platform for the city’s bidders list. Vendors must also complete a VENDEX (Vendor Information Exchange System – a computerized database) questionnaire for contracts valued over $100,000, and must update the forms for every contract awarded to them. These forms are valid for 3 years at a time.

NYC Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Program

The MWBE program was put in place to help promote government contracting opportunities to certified MWBEs. “The City of New York is committed to encouraging a competitive and diverse business environment.”[ii] Administered by the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services and the Dept. of Small Business services, the program applies to contracting opportunities in the areas of construction, professional and standard services, and goods contracts under the amount of $100,000.  In 2014, MWBEs were awarded $4.1 billion in contracts.[iii] For fiscal year 2015, MWBEs were awarded prime contracts valued at $397 million and $75 million in eligible subcontracts. There were 620 new MWBEs certified in 2015, up from the 438 new MWBEs added in 2014 and the 383 recertified in 2015; this represents a decrease from the 485 that were recertified in 2014 As of June 2015, the number of city-certified MWBEs was 4,115.[iv]  To apply for MWBE certification vendors can visit the city’s Dept. of Small Business Services website at: https://www1.nyc.gov/nycbusiness/description/minority-and-womenowned-business-enterprise-certification-program-mwbe

 New York City’s Contract Report for 2014

  • Total number of Contracts – 12,824
    • Value: $23,488,827, 627 (Procurement Contracts)
    • Competitive Awards – 43% of contracts
    • Limited/Non-Competitive – 37% of contracts

(*Source: Annual Summary Contracts Report for the City of New York, 2014. Comptroller.nyc.gov)

Top 10 Agencies by Contract Amount (estimated)

  1. DSNY - $4.5 billion
  2. DOE - $4 billion
  3. DSS – $2.4 billion
  4. SBS - $2 billion
  5. DMSS - $1.8 billion
  6. DEP - $1.4 billion
  7. DDC - $1.15 billion
  8. ACS - $1.1 billion
  9. DOHMH - $9 million
  10. DOITT - $9 million

(*Source: Annual Summary Contracts Report for the City of New York, 2014. Comptroller.nyc.gov)

Top 10 Largest Contracts

  1. Management, Transportation and Disposal Services Competitive Sealed Proposal for DSNY valued at $2,857,786,988
  2. Change of ownership office lease space Assignment for DSS valued at $1,707,589,835
  3. Citywide Economic Development Services - Master Sole Source for SBS valued at $1,665,534,000
  4. Municipal Solid Waste Management, Transportation for Queens 1-6 Competitive Sealed Proposal for DSNY valued at $1,120,000,000
  5. HIV/AIDS Master Contract Renewal for DOHMH valued at $471,000,000
  6. Transportation Services for Students with Disabilities Competitive Sealed Bid for DOE valued at $459,960,780
  7. Child Care Voucher Payment Negotiated Acquisition Extension for ACS valued at $418,808,487
  8. Energy Service Program Agreement Government to Government Procurement for DEP valued at $240,000,000
  9. Provide Uniformed Armed Security Guards and/or Supervisors Competitive Sealed Proposal for DMSS valued at $205,000,000
  10. Procure Uniformed Armed Security Guard Service for NYC Competitive Sealed Proposal for DMSS valued at $205,000,000

(*Source: Annual Summary Contracts Report for the City of New York, 2014. Comptroller.nyc.gov)

Contract Opportunities for 2014

  • Competitive sealed bids 1,091 bids valued at $5,256,236,296
  • Competitive sealed proposals (used if bid is not practical or advantageous) – 580 valued at $6,272,098,724
  • Accelerated Procurement Contracts (used to quickly procure specific commodities) – 119 valued at $44,740,361
  • Small Purchase Contracts (no formal competition or public advertising required) – 3,799 valued at $130,962,166

(*Source: Annual Summary Contracts Report for the City of New York, 2014. Comptroller.nyc.gov)

Small Businesses & the Business Improvement Districts

NYC is home to the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). Combined, these BIDs are the largest business development network in the country and have invested over $120 million into the local economy. With the help of the Department of Small Business Services and city agencies, BIDs have helped improve and revitalize neighborhoods in the City’s five boroughs; there are currently 72 BIDs in NYC – 9 in the Bronx, 23 in Brooklyn, 25 in Manhattan, 12 in Queens and 3 in Staten Island. BIDs exist to provide services to supplement the services already provided by the city.

BIDs Spending 2014

There are many areas of service where the money goes to, including:

  • Sanitation $28.8 million
  • Public Safety $20.6 million
  • Marketing $15.2 million
  • Capital Improvements $7.9 million
  • Streetscape $7 million

(*Source: Fiscal Year 2014 Business Improvement Districts Trend Reports. New York City Small Business Services. nyc.gov)

As the largest city in the United States and with over a hundred agencies, New York City has plenty of opportunities for businesses of all sizes to become government contractors.

Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com



[i] n.p. Doing Business with New York City – Becoming a Government Contractor. nyc.gov n.d. 3 Dec. 2015

[ii] n.p. NYC Mayor’s Office of Contract Services. About the City’s M/WBE Program. 2015. 8 Dec. 2015

[iii] L. Camilo, M. Torres-Springer. City of New York. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program. Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2014. 8 Dec. 2015

[iv] L. Camilo, A. Schwartz. City of New York. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program. Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015. 8 Dec. 2015

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