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City of Philadelphia

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us

Procurement Department
Customer Service Unit
Municipal Services Building
Room 170
1401 John F. Kennedy Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19102-1685

Phone: 215-686-4720
Fax: 215-686-4716

bid.info@phila.gov

Bid Opportunities

Where can I find information about contract opportunities with the City?

Information about contract opportunities with the City of Philadelphia can be found at www.phila.gov/contracts.

  1. For Procurement Opportunities and information about competitive, sealed bids for supplies, equipment, maintenance, repair services, please visit this page.
  2. For Public Work Opportunities and information about construction opportunities, please visit this page.
  3. For Concession Opportunities, please visit this page and look for opportunities that start with a C.
For eContract Philly Opportunities and information about professional services contracts in areas such as general consulting, legal services, financial services, engineering, design, public health, and social services, please visit this page.

What is the difference between a bid and a proposal?

Bids, known as competitively sealed bids or Invitation and Bid (IAB), refer to a contracting method in which sealed bids are publicly solicited, opened and a contract is awarded based on price to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Proposals refer to a contracting method in which a solicitation is made through a Request for Proposal (RFP), and between receipt of proposals and award, discussions with vendors may take place, which may result in price changes.

Do I have to register with the Procurement Department in order to bid?

It depends on what you intend to bid on.

For Services, Supplies and Equipment you are required to join the City’s Annual Bid Security program. See information under the question about Bid Bond/Bid Security.

For Public Works and Concession Bids/RFPs, you are not required to register in advance of completing your bid or pre-qualification.

You may also register with the Procurement Department on our Electronic Bid Announcement registration. You will receive a courtesy notification of Procurement SS&E bid opportunities if you complete this form and submit it to Procurement. In addition, please carefully review all bid documents as some bids including all Public Works bids require that potential bidders be prequalified prior to submitting a bid.

Is there a cost to register with the Procurement Department?

Please see BID BOND/BID SECURITY section for relevant costs to submitting a bid.

There is no cost to register with the Procurement Department. You only have to complete and submit the Electronic Bid Announcement Registration Form.

Where can I locate bid documents for Procurement opportunities?

Depending on the opportunity type, the bid or RFP may be available for download on the Procurement website.

Services, Supplies & Equipment (SS&E) Bids & Concession RFPs
All Services, Supplies & Equipment (SS&E) bids and Concession RFPS are available for download. You can locate them under the Bid Opportunities section of the website. SS&E bid opportunities are available under the SS&E bidding tab. The Concession RFPs are available under the Public Works Tab (and start with a “C”).

Public Works
For all Public Works bid opportunities you may obtain copies of the bid documents, including plans and specifications, at the Procurement Customer Service located at 1401 JFK Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102.

There is a non-refundable fee for copies of plans and specifications. If you are unable to pick-up the documents, you may request that Procurement Customer Service forward the plans and specifications by sending payment in advance along with a UPS or FedEx account number. The request should include, along with the applicable fee, the bid number, title and opening date. For some bids, you may be directed to a commercial establishment designated in the bid document for copies of plans and specifications.

Bid Requirements

Are there any required bid security fees or bid bonds?

Services, Supplies & Equipment (SS&E) Bids
For SS&E Bids, while there are no individual bid security fees, all bidders must be enrolled in the City’s Annual Bid Security Program. All bidders must complete the registration form and pay a non-refundable Annual Bid Security Program fee of $100.00, payable annually to the order of “The City of Philadelphia”. Enrollment and payment of the Annual Bid Security Program fee must be completed in accordance with the Invitation and Bid, Section 1, "Bid Security". If applicable, an individual bid bond may also be required in the Invitation and Bid.

Public Works Bids
For Public Works bids, the standard bid bond requirement is 10% of the bid amount. However, please review the applicable Bid Bond form on each individual Public Works bid to ensure compliance.

BID PROCESSING FEE
In addition to bid security and any other fee or monies required to be submitted with the bid, the bid shall be accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee in the form of a separate standard check, bank money order or United States postal money order made payable to the order of “City of Philadelphia”.

Services, Supplies & Equipment Bids
For Services, Supplies & Equipment, the bid processing fee is $25.00.

Public Works Bids
For Public Works, the bid processing fee is in an amount based on the gross amount of the bid in accordance with the formula below. Cash is not acceptable.

AMOUNT OF BID OR AMOUNT OF ESTIMATED CONTRACT PROCESSING FEE
$0 $ 10,000.00 or less
$ 10.00 $ 10,000.01 - $ 100,000.00
$ 30.00 $ 100,000.01 -$ 300,000.00
$ 50.00 $ 300,000.01 -$ 500,000.00
$100.00 $ 500,000.01 -$1,000,000.00
$200.00 $1,000,000.01 -$2,000,000.00
$300.00 $2,000,000.01 -$3,000,000.00
$400.00 $3,000,000.01 -$4,000,000.00
$500.00 $4,000,000.01 -$5,000,000.00
$600.00 $5,000,000.01 or more

Are there bonds or processing fees required to submit a bid?

For Services, Supplies and Equipment Bids, refer to paragraph 2&3 of the Terms and Conditions.

For Public Works bids refer to the Bid Bond section of the bid and paragraph 11 of the Standard Contract Requirements. Generally, for Concession RFPs this is not a requirement but please check each individual RFP to ensure that you meet all bond and fee requirements if outlined in the RFP.

Bid Submission

How do I submit a bid?

Advertised sealed bids must be received and are opened publicly on the date and time of the bid opening as stated in each bid. You must submit your bid to Room #170A, 1st Floor of the Municipal Services Building, located at 1401 JFK Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102.

Vendors must submit their bid to the City of Philadelphia no later than the date that the bid opens. BIDS MUST BE PLACED IN THE BID BOX (slot located outside of Room 170A) prior to the bid opening. Bids that are not in the bid box prior to the bid opening may be disqualified.

It is the bidder’s responsibility to ensure that the bid is submitted in a timely manner and placed in the bid box prior to the bid opening. If the bid is being sent by courier or mailed, it is recommended that the bid be sent early. The bid should arrive at least one business day before the bid opens to ensure timely receipt.

Bid Award

What is the basis for award on bid opportunities?

Bids are awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. The Procurement Commissioner, in his or her sole discretion, may reject all Bids, if deemed in the best interests of the City. The Procurement Department determines the responsiveness of potential bidders by reviewing the submitted bid documents to ensure compliance with bid requirements. Additionally, a bidder’s responsibility may be determined prior to the bid opening through a prequalification process. For opportunities that are issued as a Request for Proposal (“RFP”), the award may be based upon other criteria and not solely based upon prices. The selection criteria are detailed in the RFP, and may include such things as a respondent’s past experience or financial capacity.

What if there is a tie?

In the event of an absolute tie, there are Mayoral Executive Orders and orders by the Procurement Commissioner where we will make the contract award in accordance with the best interests of the City.

Can I withdraw my bid?

For SS&E bids, once the bid has been submitted and opened, the bidder cannot withdraw their bid.

For Public Works bids, a bidder must provide the Procurement Department written notice of its intent to withdraw its bid within two business days after the opening of bids. A bid may only be withdrawn due to a clerical mistake (i.e. bid amount was calculated incorrectly). P.L. 9, No. 4, Act of January 23, 1974, 73 P.S. § 1601, et seq. of the Pennsylvania Procurement Code governs the withdrawal of bids.

Contract Execution

When is my bid accepted and how do I know when the contract becomes effective?

The award shall not become a contract binding upon the City until after written Notice of Contract Award is made by the Procurement Department to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder and until after all of the following conditions have been satisfied:

    • If applicable, the successful Bidder posts a proper performance bond and/or a proper payment bond;
    • Successful bidder provides proof of the requisite insurance;
    • The Contract is approved by the City's Law Department;
    • For applicable bids, the Director of Finance and the City Controller's Office certify the availability of funds for the Contract; and
    • The Procurement Commissioner executes the Contract.

How can I obtain information about the status of my payment?

  1. Please check the following site to ensure that the City has not made payment. You will need the appropriate PO number invoiced against and your company’s Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN)
  2. https://secure.phila.gov/ivrtoweb/

  3. Please contact the using department to be sure the invoice was received, approved and processed for payment. If the payment has been submitted, you should inquire when the ordering department submitted it. If payment is still outstanding, ask the ordering department if the payment is on hold by the Controller’s Office or Revenue for tax compliance. If there is a tax compliance issue, contact Revenue at 215-686-6600. You can also validate if your company is tax compliant athe following website. If the query results in a tax compliance issue, you must contact the Revenue Department to resolve. The City will hold all payments to your company until the issue is resolved.

    https://secure.phila.gov/revenue/taxcompliance/

Local Business Preference

What is the preference given to Local Businesses?

For applicable bids of One Million Dollars or less, the preference is ten percent (10%); for all other applicable bids the preference is five percent (5%). If the Bidder relies upon LBE subcontractor(s) to perform the majority of the work and maintain the majority of the inventory or equipment within the City, the subcontractor(s)’ LBE Certification Number and most recent annual affidavit of continuing eligibility must be submitted to the Procurement Department.

Bids submitted by LBE certified prime vendors in which a majority of the work is not being performed by that vendor, or by LBE certified sub-vendors will not be considered for the LBE preference.

What are the criteria to be certified as a Local Business Entity (LBE)?

A vendor who would like to be certified as an LBE must meet the following criteria and submit the necessary documentation. Upon approval, a certified vendor will be given an LBE Certification number which must be included on your bid response in order to be eligible for the preference.
Criteria for LBE
a. The Business Entity filed a business privilege tax return with the City during the preceding twelve (12) months. This business privilege tax return must establish that the Business Entity conducted business within the City within the calendar year preceding the filing of the return;

b. during the preceding eighteen (18) months, the Business Entity continuously maintained a valid commercial activity license, and all other licenses and permits necessary to conduct business in the City

c. during the preceding eighteen (18) months, the Business Entity continuously occupied an office within the City, where business is conducted evidenced by a lease and/or ownership of commercial space whereby the customary business operations of the Business Entity is conducted

d. during the preceding eighteen (18) months the Business Entity continuously satisfies at least one of the following requirements:

i.    more than half of the Business Entity’s full-time employees works in the City at least sixty percent of the time;
ii.   more than fifty of the Business Entity’s full-time employees works in the City at least sixty percent of the time;
iii. the Business Entity’s principal place of business is located in the City

Documentation required to be submitted with LBE Application

    • Most current business income and receipts tax return to the City
    • Commercial activity license
    • Fully executed copy of lease for their Philadelphia location

Who do I contact to become certified as Local Business Entity?

Complete the Local Business Entity Certification Application found here. Submit the application along with the above required documentation. Contact Procurement Customer Service at bid.info@phila.gov or call 215-686-4720 if you require assistance. 

Who do I contact if I think my company is eligible for MBE/WBE/DBE certification?

Contact the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) at 215-683-2000, or go to their website to find more information.

BID BOND/BIDSECURITY

Are there any required bid security fees or bid bonds?

Services, Supplies & Equipment (SS&E) Bids
For SS&E Bids, while there are no individual bid security fees, all bidders must be enrolled in the City’s Annual Bid Security Program. All bidders must complete the registration form and pay a non-refundable Annual Bid Security Program fee of $100.00, payable annually to the order of “The City of Philadelphia”. Enrollment and payment of the Annual Bid Security Program fee must be completed in accordance with the Invitation and Bid, Section 1, "Bid Security". If applicable, an individual bid bond may also be required in the Invitation and Bid.

Public Works Bids
For Public Works bids, the standard bid bond requirement is 10% of the bid amount. However, please review the applicable Bid Bond form on each individual Public Works bid to ensure compliance.

BID PROCESSING FEE

In addition to bid security and any other fee or monies required to be submitted with the bid, the bid shall be accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee in the form of a separate standard check, bank money order or United States postal money order made payable to the order of “City of Philadelphia”.

Services, Supplies & Equipment Bids
For Services, Supplies & Equipment, the bid processing fee is $25.00.

Public Works Bids
For Public Works, the bid processing fee is in an amount based on the gross amount of the bid in accordance with the formula below. Cash is not acceptable.

AMOUNT OF BID OR AMOUNT OF ESTIMATED CONTRACT PROCESSING FEE

$0 $ 10,000.00 or less
$ 10.00 $ 10,000.01 - $ 100,000.00
$ 30.00 $ 100,000.01 -$ 300,000.00
$ 50.00 $ 300,000.01 -$ 500,000.00
$100.00 $ 500,000.01 -$1,000,000.00
$200.00 $1,000,000.01 -$2,000,000.00
$300.00 $2,000,000.01 -$3,000,000.00
$400.00 $3,000,000.01 -$4,000,000.00
$500.00 $4,000,000.01 -$5,000,000.00
$600.00 $5,000,000.01 or more