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Q. What is an RFP?

A. Specifications are not off the shelf items, but a specific service or product solution that is configured to provide function, features, and performance to meet County needs. Each vendor will submit a unique proposal. The quality of competing products and services will be compared and an award will be made to the vendor whose proposal is most advantages to the County.

Q. What is an ITB?

A.Purchases for goods and services over $100,000 require an invitation to bid (ITB) pursuant to State of California Code 2550.2.5. Invitation to Bid may be used for purchases of goods and services under $100,000 based on product knowledge, product availability, number of sources, market conditions and specifications.

Q. How are bids for public sector different from the private sector?

A. Public sector bids are strictly governed by laws of the state they are in and by local ordinances set up for purchasing. Private sector entities do not have to follow the same rules and are governed strictly by company policy.

Q. How does a vendor become part of the County's bidder's list?

A. You can click on the bidder's registration link on this website to download the application forms or you can contact the Purchasing Department by phone.

Q. Can you change your ITB or RFB after it is opened?

A. No. If your bid is deemed the low bid, the County may negotiate with you to LOWER your prices, but never to raise them.

Q. Are site visits mandatory?

A. If the nature of the bid is such that you cannot be fully informed without a site visite, we will deem it mandatory. If it is incidental to the bid, it is not.

Q. If only one bid is received, is it an automatic award?

A. No. The Purchasing Agent has the right to reject any and all bids; to rebid; to change the bid specifications, or in some cases, award the bid, whichever is in the best interest of the municipality.

Q. How late can a proposal be to be accepted?

A. No late bids are accepted

Q. Can a Request for Proposal and Invitation to Bid responses be faxed or sent by email?

A. At this time, RFP and ITB responses must be received in a sealed, marked envelope. No faxed or emailed bids can be accepted.

Q. Must informal Request for Quotations be advertised?

A. Quoted do not have to be advertised by law, but they may if the Buyer feels it will bring in more vendors.

Q. Does a quote always go to the lowest bidder?

A. No. There are criteria such as delivery date, quantity discounts, insurance provisions, which could affect the award of the quote.

Q. Is the County required to use State Contracts?

A. No, the County can solicit vendors when there are vendors that have competitive prices or services that can serve the agency's needs. The Purchasing Department may also use contracts that have been competitively bid by other cities, counties, and states.

Q. Can you see past Request for Proposal and Invitation to Bid results?

A. Yes. RFP and ITB results are available for inspection after negotiations have been completed. A written request must be filed through the Purchasing Office.

Q. Where are legal notices published for San Mateo County?

A. The Purchasing Department publishes Request for Proposals and Invitation to Bid in the San Mateo Times.

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