Massachusetts, also known as The Bay State, is home to nearly 7 million people and is the 15th most populated state in the U.S. Massachusetts is a great location for any business to start bidding in the public sector. There are many industries that are thriving within the state including these top five industries:
- Marine Trade
- Information Technology
If you’re interested in getting your business ready to start bidding on opportunities in Massachusetts, this article will breakdown the basic guidelines for you.
Doing Business in Massachusetts
The first step to take when doing business with the State of Massachusetts is to visit their procurement website. You will find a breakdown of their procurement requirements and everything else you need to know about bidding in Massachusetts. Before you can dive into the bidding process you first need to register as a vendor through the Massachusetts COMMBUYS site. Here, you will also find a helpful breakdown of information you will need to complete the registration.
In terms of procurement methods, competitive procurements typically result in two categories of contracts: 1. Statewide contracts and 2. Limited user contracts (single or multi-user). In addition, there are six unique methods for acquiring goods and services within the state, including:
- Acquisitions through statewide contracts
- OSD-authorized exceptions, in writing, to use statewide contracts
- Use of another departments contract – non-statewide/limited user
- Issuance of an RFR – results in a limited user contract
- Due Diligence postings that require OSD approval
- Acquisitions that fall under procurement exceptions
(Source: State of Massachusetts. Competitive Procurement Requirements. 22 Jun. 20. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/iii-competitive-procurement-requirements)
On the Massachusetts state procurement platform, COMMBUYS, businesses have the opportunity to register as a small business if they meet certain requirements that allow them to join the Small Business Purchasing Program (SBPP). You can also apply for a diversity certification as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE), Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE), and Portuguese Business Enterprises (PBE). Business owners of companies with their principal place of business in Massachusetts must attend a mandatory pre-certification workshop before they can apply to be certified.
Lastly, once your business is ready to start bidding you can find open bids for the State of Massachusetts on the COMMBUYS procurement site.
Bidding in the City of Worcester
Worcester is the second largest city in Massachusetts and provides many opportunities for businesses to contract with the local government. The first step in the bidding process is to certify your business with the city. The certificate is typically valid for four years and can be renewed. It’s also important to be aware of the procurement process when getting ready to bid on opportunities. For the City of Worcester this is the process that must be followed:
- Contracts over $50,000 – sealed bids or proposals are required and must be advertised, at minimum, for two weeks
- Contracts $10,000 - $49,999 – written or verbal quotes must be obtained and approved by the purchasing division
- Contracts $1 - $9,999 – are processed under state statutes and city ordinance requirements. Sources for the purchase of goods and services may be recommended by the requesting departments
(Source: PURCHASING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES CITY OF WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS [PDF]. 22 Jun. 20.)
If you’re looking to register your business as a minority, woman, veteran, or Portuguese business enterprise (M/W/V/PBE), you can do so through the State of Massachusetts as mentioned earlier.
When it’s time for your business to bid on opportunities you can do so through the state procurement website on their open bids page. You also have the option to view closed bids or search for a specific bid that may be of interest to you.
Bidding in the City of Cambridge
Bidding in the City of Cambridge can be made easy by visiting their procurement website where you can find all the information needed to connect your business with city procurement authorities. Before you can officially start bidding on opportunities you first need to fill out the cities vendor registry form. Once accepted, you’re eligible to bid on opportunities and receive notifications of new bid opportunities. Before jumping ahead to bidding it’s important to first understand the purchasing procedures the City of Cambridge follows, including:
- Purchases under $5,000 – sound business practices are allowed. This means that several sources can be called for pricing before placing an order to ensure the price is competitive
- Purchase $5,000 - $24,999 – 3 written and signed quotes must be obtained by the purchasing department
- Purchases $25,000 or more – formal advertised competition using bids or proposals must be obtained with a signed written contract by the purchasing department
(Source: City of Cambridge. Procurement Methods. 22 Jun. 20. https://www2.cambridgema.gov/purchasing/Procurement.html)
The City of Cambridge also has a Small Business Program for Small, Minority and Women-Owned Businesses to become certified and listed in the Cambridge Business Diversity Directory. The City also provides assistance for these businesses, details about which can be found on the Small Business Assistance page on their site.
When your business is ready to bid on opportunities, you can find them on the Purchasing Department’s Open Bids page. There you can select between different categories, which include: Invitation for Bid (IFB), Construction, Design RFP, and Regular RFP’s to narrow your bid search.
Bidding in the City of Fall River
If you’re looking to do business with the City of Fall River you first need to fill out a vendor application. Once your application is accepted you can begin viewing and bidding on new opportunities. The city also has a few procurement policies and procedures that are important to take note of before bidding on opportunities. These include:
- Purchases under $500 – can be made by the head of any department using MUNIS generated requisition
- Purchases less than $10,000 – must use sound business practices
- Purchases between $10,000 - $50,000 – must use a written purchase description to solicit
- Purchases $50,000 or more – requires sealed bid/proposal process
- Purchases over $100,000 also must be advertised in the Goods and Services Bulletin two weeks before bid/proposals are due
(Source: City of Fall River. Purchasing Policies and Procedures. 22 Jun. 20. https://www.fallriverma.org/purchasing-policies-procedures/)
If your business qualifies as a Small/Minority/Women-Owned Business, you can become certified through the State of Massachusetts. The City of Fall River also provides small business loans and grant assistance programs that may be helpful for your business.
Once you’re ready to bid on opportunities you can do so through their procurement website on their Current Bids page.
Win More Contracts with BidNet
The City of Worcester, Cambridge, Fall River and the State of Massachusetts as a whole all provide a plethora of opportunities for small business owners to start bidding on opportunities, but it can sometimes be difficult to find bids in multiple cities or states on your own. With BidNet we can provide you with bid opportunities that are targeted toward your industry. Our team of experts searches through thousands of sources to provide your business with open government bids at the local, state, and federal level. With our daily email notification feature you won’t have to worry about missing out on an opportunity. You will receive an email every time we find bids and awards that match your business’s profile. With BidNet your time is spent bidding on opportunities, not spending hours searching for them.
Andrea Cortina | BidNet.com