How to do Business with the City

The City of Rochester maintains an active list of vendors who sell products and services to the City.  The City will send requests for quotes for products and/or services to active vendors who are registered with the City.  Vendors who are not registered will typically only have the opportunity to submit bids to the City as part of the public bid process for formal advertised bids.  We encourage ALL vendors to visit the City's website, on a regular basis, to identify current bid requests which will match the vendor's products and services.  We encourage vendors to become registered with the City.  The forms are available by clicking the following link:

Register as a vendor 

Types of Bids

1. Formal Advertised Bids. The City is required by New York State Municipal Law to publicly advertise for bids for goods and services and public works projects above certain dollar thresholds.  Any vendor may submit a bid on a formally advertised bid.  Formal bids are advertised in an official City newspaper and posted on the City’s website.  Vendors are responsible for knowing when bids have been advertised and for obtaining the bid documents.  Vendors may obtain the official bid documents (except public works bids) by requesting them through the City’s web site (see Purchasing – Current Bid Offerings), or by calling (585) 428-7041, or by coming in person to the Bureau of Purchasing office, City Hall, Room 105-A.  Bid documents will be mailed, however, the fastest way to obtain them is by making the request through the City’s web site.  An unofficial copy of specifications is available for review on the web site.  An official copy will be sent by e-mail once Purchasing receives the e-mail request submitted through the web site.
Public works bid documents are summarized on the City’s web site, but the full set of documents are not posted on the web site. In order to obtain a set of public works bid documents, vendors must pay for the bid documents, and a mailing fee (if applicable).  The cost of the bid documents and the mailing fee is stated in the bid advertisement and on the current bid offerings web page.  Bid documents may be obtained in person at the Bureau of Purchasing office, or they will be mailed by U.S. mail once the bid document and mailing fees has been received.  The City will ship by FedEx but only if the vendor’s FedEx number is provided to the City.  FedEx picks up at City Hall, UPS does not, therefore the City will not send out bid documents by UPS.  For payment the City will accept an original company check, certified check, money order or cash (if paying in person). The City will not accept personal checks. Mailing costs and receipt delays may be avoided by picking up and paying for the bid package in Room 105A of City Hall. 

2. Informal written requests for quotations. For purchases that are not required to be publicly bid, the City solicits quotations from vendors who are registered with the City and have confirmed their interest in the City’s business by remaining active in the vendor database.  Purchase requests for over $300 will typically be solicited by Purchasing staff.  Requests for quotations will be solicited in writing or by e-mail.  Purchase requests under $300 can be made by telephone or e-mail by department staff, however, these must be approved by Purchasing staff.  The City seeks at least three (3) quotations where possible. Interested vendors are invited to submit their quotations by the due date and time stated on the request for quotation.  Acceptance of the winning offer is made by a City Purchase Order.

Bid Opening Date - Formal Advertised Bids

The Bid Opening Date for a formal advertised bid is specified in the bid documents.  Bid proposals must be submitted in a sealed envelope to Purchasing in Room 105A, City Hall by the time and date specified (usually but not always before 11 a.m. for goods and services bids and 2 p.m. for construction/public works bids). The sealed bid envelope must include the original bid proposal with any other requirement(s) specified.

Pre-bid Conferences and bid openings are open to the public. Bid openings are conducted by Purchasing staff.  The location of these meetings may be obtained from the Purchasing Bureau.

Award of Contract or Purchase Order

All bid and quote results are evaluated and the award is made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.  A “responsive” bid is one that fully meets the City specifications, or proposes minor variations that are equivalent to what the City requests.  A “responsible” bidder is a company or individual that can demonstrate the experience, certifications, equipment, facilities, stock and financial resources to be able to perform the contract and has not been in breach of or default of contracts with the City or other municipalities.  A formal contract is awarded, where required, by a letter signed by the Purchasing Agent.   In all other cases, the City issues a Purchase Order to confirm the City’s intent to purchase goods or services.  Vendors are not authorized to deliver any products or services without a contract or purchase order.  The City’s delivery terms are FOB destination. The City does not pay taxes or duties. 

Commodities Not Purchased by the City

The City of Rochester provides the full range of municipal services typical of a large city in New York state, and therefore has to purchase a wide range of products and services.  However, the City does not purchase certain classes of products and services, such as: aircraft and airport equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, hospital supplies and equipment and school/educational supplies and equipment.  Vendors interested in providing these products and services and others not purchased directly by the City  may wish to contact New York State Procurement, Monroe County Purchasing or Rochester City School District Purchasing.

Professional Services Agreements

The City also obtains many services through a professional service agreement (PSA) with vendors. Professional service agreements are used for services provided by individuals or organizations that have special licenses, technical skills, training or expertise, where more factors than price will be considered in making an award.  When a professional service agreement is needed, the City department requiring that service will follow the Request for Proposals (RFP) policies and procedures set forth in City Council Ordinance 2012-318.  Professional service agreements are not administered by the City’s Purchasing Bureau.  Individual departments are responsible for advertising RFP’s on the City’s web site and evaluating proposals received.  The current listing of RFP’s being solicited by City departments can be found on the web site here:  Request for Proposals