Colorado is a great state for any business looking to do business with the government. Vendors can find a number of bid opportunities for just about any product or service -- it’s just a matter of knowing what to do and how to get started.
In Colorado, the State Purchasing and Contracts Office (SPCO) is responsible for the purchasing process for agencies and higher education institutions. The SPCO is made up of six divisions: The Central Contracts Unit, the State Price Agreement program, the Statewide Commercial Card program, vendor outreach and development, vendor protests and appeals and procurement training. Colorado is a decentralized purchasing state, meaning agencies are required to conduct their own solicitations. Although there is no state bidders list for vendors to join, businesses who are interested in working with the state can register on Colorado’s Vendor Self Service Portal, where they can find bids and RFPs.[i]
For vendors who are looking to work in the public sector, working with state agencies is not your only option. Participating in local bidding is another great avenue to get your name out there and grow your business. In this article we’ll take a look at how vendors can participate in bidding with three of Colorado’s cities: Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Boulder.
Bidding in the City of Colorado Springs
In the city of Colorado Springs, any purchases of supplies, services, equipment, materials or bids dealing with construction that are equal to or greater than $150,000, are required to go through a formal sealed bid process. The city has several types of bids they publish but typically use an Invitation for Bidding (IFB). An IFB is a formal bid based mostly on pricing that is required to be submitted in a sealed envelope with the bid number and title stated clearly on the front of the envelope and must be delivered before the specified bid date and time. IFBs are then opened and read aloud during a public bid opening.
Colorado Springs also use RFPs for purchases worth less than $150,000. RFPs are used when the city department requires more information on the pricing or technical aspect of the bid when they don’t have clear standards or specifications about the purchase or project that they are seeking to publish a formal bid for. They city also has permission to use non-formal bids for small purchases worth less than $149,999.
Colorado Springs also has what they call a two-step sealed bid. These bids are broken into two phases: a technical phase and a pricing phase. This type of bid is used when the city feels they can’t award a contract based on price alone. The IFB will state whether or not a bid requires a technical phase before the pricing proposal can be submitted.
(Source: 2019. City of Colorado Springs Procurement Rules & Regulations. 18 Feb. 20)
Bidding in the City of Fort Collins
In the City of Fort Collins, the purchasing division is in charge of procurement for all city departments and divisions. Purchases worth more than $60,000 will use a competitive bid or RFP and will be posted on the city website. RFPs will not be opened publicly; rather, they will be evaluated by a committee. Any goods the city purchases will be done through purchase orders, while service or construction bids will be awarded through contracts. Any purchase worth less than $5,000 can be bought using what the city deems as a “mini order” or a can be purchased with a procurement card; this also goes for any purchase worth less than $3,000 that uses federal funding, or construction services that use federal funds that are worth less than $2,000.
(Source: City of Fort Collins. Purchasing. Frequently Asked Questions. 18 Feb. 20)
Bidding in the City of Boulder
Each city department in Boulder is in charge of their own purchases, but the city’s finance department is in charge of formal bids worth over $50,000. Contracts are awarded based on price, availability, quality and a number of other factors. Like most formal bids, Boulder’s bids are publicly advertised in the local newspaper. The city does have pre-purchasing requirements for the departments to adhere to before awarding any type of contract. Those requirements are as follows:
- Up to $10,000 – comparison shopping is required
- Purchases worth $10,000 to $50,000 – a minimum of 3 formal bids are quotes are required
- Purchases worth more than $50,000 – a formal, fair and competitive sealed bid process is required
The city of Boulder, like the state of Colorado, does not have a vendors list that businesses can request to be on to get notifications and they do not have special programs for businesses designated as local or minority-owned businesses.
(Source: 2020. City of Boulder. Purchasing Vendors Guide. 18 Feb. 20)
Find More Bids for your Business
Besides Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Boulder, there are plenty of other cities throughout Colorado where vendors can do business with the government. Finding the right bid opportunities can be very time consuming; however, a large number of local agencies throughout the state use BidNet’s exclusive purchasing group systems to posts their bids. This means that when you subscribe to BidNet, you’ll also have access to all of these purchasing groups. You will also receive daily notifications for bids that match your business for Colorado as well as any city, town, school or special district in Colorado that utilizes the eProcurement system. Using a bid intelligence system is a great tool for any business looking to get an advantage over their competitors and to find more bids that match specifically what you do, no matter where in the country you’re looking to bid.
Danielle Calamaras | BidNet.com
[i] Colorado Office of the State Controller. Department of Personnel and Administration. State Purchasing and Contracts Office. 18 Feb. 20