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City of Houston Strategic Purchasing

The complete online resource dedicated to doing business with the City of Houston.

To understand how online bidding works with the City of Houston, please review our Supplier's Guide.  It is available in both PDF and HTML formats:

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  I've already registered with the City in the past but I can't log into the web site to view bids.  What's going on?

If you registered before August 23rd, 2005, you have probably only registered for a Supplier Number with the City.  You need to get a Web Site Account.  Click here to go to the Web Site Registration Form.

If you have a Web Site Account (you login with your email address) but have forgotton your password, go to the Forgotton Password page to have it sent to you.

2.  What's the difference between this Supplier Registration Form and the Web Site Registration form?

The Supplier Registration form allows you to apply for a City of Houston Supplier Number.  This is required to do business with the City.  A Supplier Number can take up five business days to be assigned.

The Web Site Registration form is a short form that allows you to get started viewing and downloading bid documents right away.  You register using your email address as your login ID and a password of your choice.  Approval is immediate!

3.  Sometimes I get an error message after I log into the web site, when I'm trying to view a particular bid.

This can occur if "cookies" are being blocked.  A web browser cookie is like a small tag attached to each request you make to the web site.  It is used to determine if you have logged into the site or not yet.  It is not harmful in any way and it is safe to enable cookies on our web site.

Cookies can be blocked by a number of different things.  Some examples include:

  • Your web browser
  • A software firewall running on your machine (ZoneAlarm, etc.)
  • An antivirus or security suite software running on your machine (Norton Internet Security, McAffe Security Suite, etc)
  • A hardware firewall running between your machine and our web server (possibly your company's firewall)

Please consult your software or hardware's documentation to find out how to disable cookie-blocking or consult your company's IT staff.

4.  How do I know the site is secure and my bid can't be seen by other suppliers?

Your bids are protected by the security mechanisms we've implemented in the site.  First, your login and password allow only you to see your bids.  So don't share your password with anyone!  Other suppliers can only see their bids and no one else's.

Second, the bidding data itself is protected by multiple layers of network firewalls.  (A firewall is a device that prevents unauthorized entry to our network).

Finally, even City personnel must be authorized to have access to the system.  Each Buyer has their own login and password.  They are not allowed to see any bid information submitted by suppliers until after the bidding period has closed.

We periodically conduct a security audit of our systems to ensure the highest levels of security are maintained.