Guide - HTML Format
NEW! Our site has changed!
We are now accepting Online Bids on select Bids and
RFPs. To support this, we are requiring vendors to create a web site
account with username and password. Click
here for details!
Table of Contents
Getting Started – Get Registered!
Searching for Bids.
The Bid Documents Page - Viewing and Downloading Bid Documents.
Placing a Bid – The Vendor Home Page.
Placing a Bid – The Place Bid Page.
Submitting Your Bid
Strategic Purchasing Division (SPD) Online Bidding Web Site was created to
streamline the bidding process and provide vendors with the convenience of
doing business with the City in an online format.
designing the eBidding system, the City of Houston wanted to:
We appreciate your
feedback and encourage questions. We
are continually adding features to the site and your feedback is an important
part of our development process.
Adi Dajani, SPD Webmaster
The City has two registration
forms for vendors on the web site. The first form is very short and gives immediate access to bids and bid documents.
The second form is somewhat longer and allows vendors to apply for a
City Vendor Number (required to do business with the City).
This number will be issued to the applicant within five business days.
The Web Site Registration
Form allows vendors to create an account used to get access to bids and bid
documents. It is also the account
used to place online bids. This
form is located at:
The Supplier Registration
Form allows vendors to apply for a City of Houston Vendor Number.
This number is used within our accounting system to uniquely identify
each vendor we do business with. If
you have applied for a vendor number within the past three years, you do not
need to re-apply. Just call the
Supplier Assistance Desk at 713-247-1740 to get your number if you have
forgotten it. The Supplier
Registration form is located at:
You can search for Bids that interest you by using the Bids,
RFP & Tabulations Search Engine.
Simply hover your mouse over the yellow Bids and RFPs Area menu and select the
Bids & Tabulation Search Engine item.
Getting to the Search Engine.
When the Search Engine
page is displayed you will have several options available to help you find the
bids that interest you the most.
Figure 2. Search Criteria
All of the search
criteria fields are optional. However,
if you leave everything blank you will get back a list of thousands of bids,
most of which are closed. For this
reason, it’s a good idea to set at least one criteria field.
Here are the search
criteria fields to choose from:
Status – The Bid Status
says whether the bid is in progress or not. An Open status means that the bid has not been awarded and that you may place a bid.
A Closed status means that the City is no longer accepting bids for this
bid. Leaving the Status blank will
return both open and closed bids.
Bid Type – The Bid Type
allows you to search on either Formal or Informal bids.
Formal bids are bids of over $25,000 in value and must be approved by
the City Council. Informal bids are bids of less than $25,000 and require only departmental approval.
Formal bids tend to remain open for two to four weeks or longer. Informal bids may only remain open for a few days. This is up to
the City Buyer. If you leave this
field blank, all bid types will be returned.
Keywords – The Keywords
field allows you to search on particular keywords that interest you, for
example “Office Supplies”. The
keywords search looks in the bid’s description, and department, and Bid Number
text fields for matching words. If
you know the Bid Number of the bid you are interested in, you can go right to
it by simply entering the Bid Number in the keywords field.
Search Type – The Search
Type field will help you narrow or widen your results.
Selecting “Match ANY word” will usually return more results because any
of the words can be in the keyword fields searched.
“Match ALL Words” will usually return fewer results because all words
must be matched before the bid will be returned.
The most common search it to simply select the “Open” status and then
click Search. This will return all
the currently option bids, both Formal and Informal.
After clicking the Search
button, the results of your search will be displayed.
Figure 3. Search Results
The results will list the Bid Number, Description, Department,
and Due Date. You can click on the
header row of the results table to sort the list by that column.
The Bid Description gives a brief summary of the nature of the
bid. For an abstract of the bid,
hover your mouse pointer over the Bid Description. A small window will pop up with additional information.
At this point you are not required to login.
However, clicking on the bid’s description will allow you to go to the
Bid Documents page. If you haven’t logged in yet, you will be asked to do so at this time.
Figure 4. The Supplier Logon page
Remember, you must
register for a Web Site Account (see section 3, above) before you are able to
view and download bid documents. This
is a simple 5-minute or less process.
If you have forgotten
your password, you can click the link provided on the Logon page.
The system will automatically send your password to the email address on
file for you.
After logging in, you
will be able to view all the documents associated with a particular bid.
Figure 5. Bid Files
By clicking on the file
name displayed on the right, you will be able to view and download the file.
In general, bid documents are in Adobe PDF format.
To get the free reader for PDF files, go to www.adobe.com.
Files available for
download usually include a primary bid document, one or more clarification
letters, and other files included in the bid package by the Buyer.
(This might include additional specifications, photographs, diagrams,
particular bid may not have any bid documents associated with it. (This can
happen for Informal bids). In this
case, all the information is displayed on the Place Bid page.
If you decide that the
opportunity is something your organization would like to bid on, you may click
on the Place Online Bid link, below the Bid files listing.
Some bids may not have an online bid option.
This is at the discretion of the Buyer. Our goal, however, is to have
most bids available for online bidding.
After clicking on the
Place Online Bid link below the Bid Documents list, you will be taken to the
Vendor Bid Home Page.
Figure 6. The Vendor Home Page
This page allows you to manage your bids.
Vendors can place bids on several Bid Numbers at the same
time. In fact, you may even place
multiple bids on the same Bid Number!
(This option is described below).
To place a NEW bid on the Bid Number you just came from, click
the first link given on the page. In
Figure 6, above, this is the area that states, “To place a new bid for bid
number L20647, click here”. This
will create a new bid on this bid number, regardless of whether you have
already placed a bid for this number already. If you wish to edit an existing bid, see below.
Why would you wish to create more than one bid for the same
Bid Number? Sometimes you may wish
to offer drastically different options to the City Buyer for their
consideration. For example you may
be able to get the exact parts required by a bid from one of your distributors,
for a particular price. But you
are also able to get equivalent (although not exactly the same part numbers)
from another distributor, at another price.
Wishing to give the City Buyer a chance to consider both options, you submit
two separate bids.
If you wish to place a new bid, but NOT on the currently
selected Bid Number (in this example L20647), click the link to go back to the
Bid/RFP Search Engine.
Existing Bids are
displayed at the bottom of the page.
As a convenience factor, you are not required to do a final submission of your
bid in one session. You
may save your bid in a partial state, and come back to it over the course of
days, if desired. In this case,
your bid will be displayed with a “Pending” status.
To edit the bid, click on
the Bid Number. If the Bid Number
is not a link, this means that the bid has closed.
You may edit your bid as much as you wish until you perform the final
submission (this will be described below).
You may also withdraw a
bid (even a Finalized bid) up until the time of the Due Date of the bid.
Clicking on either the
Place New Bid link or the Bid Number link for an existing bid, will take you to
the Place Bid Page.
This page will walk you
through the process of creating a bid to submit to the City of Houston.
Figure 7. Bid General Information
The first section of the
Place Bid page displays the basic information about the bid, including the
description, brief abstract, the Buyer contact email address, post date, due
date, and pre-bid conference information, if applicable.
The next section allows
you to actually fill out your bid.
Figure 8. The Bid Items section
Bid Items are displayed on the page, in order, grouped by categories, as set up by the Buyer.
The quantity requested is displayed for each item, along with the unit
of measure of the item required. Enter
your bid for the unit price of the required item on each line.
At any time, you may click the Save Bid To Edit Later button, located at the bottom of the page.
This will save your changes but keep the bid in a pending state. For your security, City Buyers DO NOT have any access to your bid while in a pending state.
They are only allowed to view Final bids.
The security of the system protects your pending bid information.
Make sure to click the Save button before closing your browser window. Also, it
is recommended that you save before leaving your computer for any length of
time. Your login session may time
out for security purposes. This
can cause you to lose any unsaved information.
This section lists the additional forms
that the Buyer requires to be included with your bid submission.
These forms are specialized Microsoft Word documents that allow you to
fill out the form information and save it to your hard drive. Download the form
by right clicking on the form name and selecting the Save Target option.
You can then select a location on your hard drive to save the form.
Figure 9. Required forms
After you have retrieved a local copy of the form, you may open it and fill it out.
After you have filled out the form, you may upload the file using the Document Upload section of the Place Bid page.
Figure 10. Document Upload
Click on the Browse button to display
the Open File dialog box. Browse
to the location of your completed form and select it.
Then select Open. The path
and filename of the form will appear in the text box shown in Figure 10, above.
Now click on the Add Document button.
This will upload the document to the site and attach it to your bid
At any time you may select a document
and click the Remove Selected Attachments button to delete the document you
previously uploaded from the site. This is useful when you want to re-upload a
Save, Submit, or Withdraw (Delete) Bid
The last section of the Place Bid page gives you save and delete options.
Figure 11. Save, Submit, or Withdraw bid
As previously described, the Save Bid to Edit Later button allows you to save your work without formally submitting the bid
to the City. You may return and
edit the bid as much as you wish.
When you are finished editing your bid, you may click the Submit Bid to the City button.
This will START the formal submission process.
You will be given a chance to review your bid in its entirety before
completing the submission.
The last button allows you to withdraw (or delete) your bid. You may withdraw
both Pending and Final bids, as long as it is before the bid’s Due Date.
Note: Bids that are Pending at the time of the bid’s Due Date are ignored by
the system. You must click the
Submit Bid to the City to formally submit your bid for consideration. Only Final bids may be awarded contracts.
When you are finished editing your bid and uploading document attachments, you may click the Submit Bid to the City button
as shown in Figure 11.
You will be taken to the Bid Confirmation Page, which will display your entire bid one last time for your review.
Figure 12. Bid Confirmation Page
Here you will see your bid in a
non-editable format. This is
exactly how buyers will see your bid after the bidding period closes.
After reviewing your bid, you will
electronically sign the Bid Form by typing in your full name.
Figure 13. Signing the Bid
Legal Information Regarding Online
When you submit a bid to the City of
Houston, you are signing a contact.
Therefore you must have the ability to bind your organization or company to a
contact. Usually this includes
company owners, partners, or officers.
By City ordinance, for Informal Bids
(under $25,000 value) your electronic signature is equivalent to an ink
signature. No additional signature
is required beyond the online bid.
Formal bids (over $25,000), however,
still require a signed Bid Form to be delivered to the Office of the City
Secretary by the due date of the bid.
The web site makes this process very simple. After the submission you will be able to print your Bid Form. (See below).
Final Submission and Receipt
After you have entered your full name
in the space provided, you may click the Submit Final Bid to the City button.
Figure 14. Confirmation of submission
Your final bid is now saved in the
system. When the due date of the
bid is past, the bidding period will be over and Buyers will be granted access
to view your bid.
The Confirmation page, shown above in
Figure 14, allows you to print or save your Bid Form.
At any time before the bidding period
closes, you may edit or withdraw your bid.
However, after the bidding period closes, you will no longer have access to
Returning to Edit or View Your Bid
At any time, you may return to edit or
view your bid. To do this, simply
Find the Bid using the Bid/RFP Search Engine.
Click on the Bid Number to go to its Document Display page.
Click on PLACE ONLINE BID
This will return you to the Vendor Home
Figure 15. Vendor Home page
You will see your bid in the list of
current bids. By clicking on the
Bid Number, you will be able to view and edit your bid.
As shown in Figure 15, the status for
the vendor’s bid for Bid Number S20791 is Final. This means that when the bidding period closes, the bid will go to the City Buyers.
Note: Make sure that the status of your bid is Final. Otherwise,
when the bidding period closes, Buyers will not see your bid.
You make your bid final by clicking the Submit Bid to the City button on
the Place/Edit Bid page.