Business Opportunities with the City


The City of Rochester purchases goods and services and public works projects through contracts or purchase orders that are authorized by the Purchasing Agent.  Purchases of goods and services that exceed $20,000 per year, or public works projects that exceed $35,000, must be publicly bid.  The City can meet the public bidding requirements by utilizing its own public bids, or public bids issued by other municipalities, New York State or national co-op bids.  The Purchasing Agent usually issues approximately 100 requests for new public bids per year.  Public bids are requested through the formal Invitation to Bid (ITB) process.  Smaller orders are placed based upon quotations requested through a Request for Quotes (RFQ) process.

Vendors are urged to check the City's website on a regular basis to identify current bids being requested through the ITB process.  All City public bids may be viewed through the City's electronic bid service - BidNet-Empire State Purchasing Group at  Goods and services bid documents can be downloaded at no cost from BidNet after registering with BidNet.  Public works bid documents cannot be downloaded, they must be purchased from the Bureau of Purchasing, City Hall, Room 105-A.

How to be Notified of Upcoming Bids

To find out what new Invitations to Bid the City has requested, vendors can check the City’s website at  To view and/or download the bid specification, click on the link for BidNet to register for this free service.

BidNet also offers an optional service whereby BidNet will send an e-mail notification to a vendor when the City has posted a new bid on BidNet.  This service can be obtained from BidNet for an annual fee of $108.  BidNet will also notify a registered vendor of any public bids issued by over 200 public agencies who are members of the BidNet Empire State Purchasing Group.   BidNet will send bid notifications to vendors based upon the commodity code(s) selected by the vendor.  Each type of service or product has been assigned a commodity code by the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP).  The commodity codes are provided as part of the BidNet registration process.  It is important for vendors to provide BidNet with the correct commodity code(s) for the products and/or services that the vendor offers.  If vendors add or eliminate products or services that they offer, or if their e-mail changes, they need to update their registration information with BidNet to make sure that it is current. 

Helpful BidNet vendor registration instructions can be found HERE.

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 electronic bidding service - BidNet, or by coming in person to the Bureau of Purchasing office, City Hall, Room 105-A. 

Public works bid documents are summarized on the BidNet site, but the full set of documents is not posted on the web site. In order to obtain a set of public works bid documents, vendors must pay a spec deposit and mailing fee (if applicable).  The amount of the deposit and the mailing fee is stated in the bid advertisement and in the specifications.  Bid documents may be obtained in person at the Bureau of Purchasing office, or they will be mailed by U.S. mail once the spec deposit and mailing fee has been received.  The City will ship by FedEx, but only  if the vendor’s FedEx number is provided to the City along with the spec deposit.  The City will not send out bid documents by UPS.  For payment the City will accept an official 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 (RFQ's) from vendors who have done business with the City for the items or services needed, or who have registered with BidNet for the commodity codes related to the RFQ.  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 Closing Date - Formal Invitation to Bid Process

The City will accept public bids for goods and services and public works up to the date and time specified in the bid documents.  After that time, no bids will be accepted. 

Bid proposals for goods and services contracts may be submitted either in a sealed envelope received in Purchasing, Room 105-A, City Hall, or, where indicated in the bid documents, may be submitted electronically through BidNet’s electronic submittal process, by the date and time specified.  Bid proposals for all public works contracts and goods and services contracts that require bid bonds and/or other bid submittals may ONLY be submitted in a sealed envelope received in Purchasing, Room 105-A by the date and time 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, does not owe the City any taxes, licenses or other fees, 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 and Services 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

Electronic Payment  

Vendors can enjoy the benefit of electronic payment from the City of Rochester though Paymode-X, a free direct deposit service provided through the Bank of America (BOA). You do not need to open an account with BOA to use this service. Paymode-X processing provides complete invoice reference information with payments. The BOA will notify the City when you have registered.

To find out more information and to enroll please go to:  Disbursements to City Vendors