Maine, the northeastern most state in the U.S., is home to over 1.3 million people. Known for their rocky coastlines and pristine nature areas, Maine is renowned as a preferred destination for nature lovers. Maine produces 90% of the U.S. lobster supply and is the country’s largest producer of blueberries. Currently, there are seven primary industries contributing to their thriving economy. They are:
As the state economy continues to flourish, Maine is a great place for vendors to do business with public agencies.
Doing Business in the State of Maine
When looking to do business in Maine, the best place to visit is the State of Maine’s procurement website. There you will find everything you need to know about procurement, vendor information, policies, and contract information. The first step to becoming a vendor with the state is by registering as a vendor. Once registered, you will have access to new bids, cancelled solicitations, amendments, and notifications of awards. It’s important for you to understand the many different methods of bidding the state offers to ensure you submit the proper information.
Methods of Bidding:
- For bids exceeding $50,000 – electronic quotes are required with open competition amongst all registered bidders
- For bids from $5,000 - $50,000 – electronic quotes are required and a minimum of three target bidders may be selected
- For bids below $5,000 – may be purchased directly by agencies
- A Request for Proposal (RFP) is required when costs are expected to exceed $10,000
- A Request for Quotation (RFQ) requires obtaining a minimum of three quotes when costs are below $10,000 – the lowest bidder is awarded the contract
(Source: “Doing Business with the State of Maine.” Doing Business with the State of Maine | Division of Procurement Services. 22 Apr. 20. https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/)
For most contracts, awards will be given to the bidder offering the best value to the State of Maine.
Maine also provides opportunities for disadvantaged, minority, and women-owned businesses to participate in the procurement process. To become a certified D/M/WBE you must first apply and be accepted into the program. Below are some examples of business criteria that must be met:
- At least 51% owned by socially or economically disadvantaged individuals
- Meet the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) small business standards
- Organized as a for-profit business
Lastly, once your business is ready to start bidding on opportunities you can visit Maine’s Vendors page on their website which provides all the current notices and bid opportunities that are available in the State of Maine.
Doing Business with the City of Portland
The City of Portland is the largest city in the State of Maine. In addition to registering as a vendor with the State of Maine, businesses must also apply for a business license with the City of Portland. The city also has its own procurement procedures that differ from state procedures:
- Expenditures of $25,000 or more – must include a formal competitive process
- Used vehicles and equipment do not require a formal bid/RFP
- Expenditures of $5,000 - $24,999 – can, but do not need to be formally bid on. The department is required to obtain a minimum of three written quotes
- Expenditures between $1,000 - $5,000 – can be made on Field Purchase Orders (FPO’s) or with use of a purchasing card. A minimum of three written quotes are encouraged
- Expenditures less than $1,000 – can be made on Field Purchase Orders (FPO’s) or with use of purchasing cards
(Source: “Purchasing: Portland, ME.” Purchasing | Portland, ME. 22 Apr. 20. https://www.portlandmaine.gov/235/Purchasing)
A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be issued for all contracts for professional or consulting services. If the anticipated cost exceeds $25,000 there must be formal competitive bidding.
If you are looking for bid opportunities in the City of Portland you can visit their Bids/RFP Search page to find upcoming bids that are available.
Doing Business with the City of Lewiston
The City of Lewiston also has its own set of procurement procedures. If you’re looking to start doing business with the City of Lewiston it’s best to visit their procurement website for more information. The city’s procurement regulations are as follows:
- Purchases exceeding $10,000 – formal competitive bids are required – usually awarded to lowest responsible bidder
- Purchases $2,000 - $10,000 – record of price quotation from at least three competitive bidders
- Purchases not exceeding $2,000 – procedures and documentation will be simplified
- Purchases not exceeding $1,000 – a City of Lewiston purchasing card may be used
(Source: “Purchasing Division - Purchasing Policy.” Purchasing Division | Lewiston, ME - Official Website. 23 Apr. 20. https://www.lewistonmaine.gov/383/Purchasing-Division)
Depending on the value of a project, the city may require vendors to provide a bid deposit, as well as a performance and payment bond:
Bid Deposits – When the estimated value of work exceeds $50,000 a bid bond is required. Bid deposits shall be a minimum of 10% for bids under $500,000.
Performance and Payment Bonds – When the estimated value of work exceeds $100,000, or if considered necessary, a 100% performance and payment bond will be required.
Once your business is ready to bid on opportunities, you can visit the City of Lewiston’s Bids/Awards page to view open bids available in the area.
Doing Business with the City of Bangor
The City of Bangor’s procurement information can be found through their purchasing website. To become a vendor in this city you first need to register your business through their vendor registration page. Once registered, it’s important to know the City of Bangor’s procurement procedures:
- Purchases $2,000 - $10,000 – at least three written quotes must be obtained – award given to the lowest acceptable quote
- Purchases $500 - $2,000 – purchasing agent adopts operations procedures – obtain reasonable competition
- Purchases under $500 – uses single selection
(Source: “Purchasing - Procurement Policy.” Welcome to the City of Bangor, Maine - Purchasing. 23 Apr. 20. https://www.bangormaine.gov/purchasing)
Depending on the value of the contract, a bid security and a performance and payment bond may be required.
Bid Security – required for construction contracts that exceeds $50,000. The bid security should amount to at least 5% of the bid amount.
Performance and Payment Bonds – required when a construction contract award exceeds $50,000. Both bonds shall amount to 100% of the price specified in the contract.
If your business is considered a Disadvantaged/Minority/Women-Owned Business, the City of Bangor has information on their website detailing the requirements of the program and how to apply.
Lastly, if you’re looking for opportunities in the City of Bangor you can visit their Bids & Proposals page on their website to view up-to-date bid opportunities in the area.
A Reputable Bid Service
If you want to start bidding in the public sector, BidNet can be a valuable partner for your business. Our team of experts searches and filters bids to provide you with targeted opportunities that align with your business’s area of expertise. With our BidAlert® Bulletin, you receive daily email notifications of bid opportunities and awards from federal, local, and state agencies from across the U.S. Instead of spending your time searching for bid opportunities in various locations, BidNet provides your business with everything it needs to start bidding and winning contracts.
Andrea Cortina | BidNet.com